|Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)|
|Part 4 Mini-case studies - How development can build on IK|
FARM Africa, a British NGO, has been implementing a dairy goat project in the highlands of Ethiopia since 1988. The project works with nearly 1,400 families in the densely populated highlands of the east and south. Working with women from the poorest families the project aims to improve their incomes and welfare by improving the milk production and growth rates of their goats.
Local goats are provided on credit together with a training package of forage development health care, and general management. Credit may be repaid in cash or in kind by returning a goat to the project for loan to another woman. Selected women are trained as paraveterinarians and earn money treating their neighbors' goats. The goat groups are managed by an elected committee of women trained in group organization and management.
During the course of the project, staff and collaborators learned of a traditional method used by women in Welayta district to save money and help one another.
Known locally as eddir small amounts of money are saved regularly by a small, informal group of women. The money is allocated to women in the group in turn, or given or lent to those in need. Members of goat groups in Areka village, Welayta, acting on their own, organized the Women's Self-Help Goat Society.
Each member contributes a small sum at their weekly meeting. Most members are mature war widows who show a very serious attitude toward development opportunities. Some groups decided to set aside a portion of their savings to purchase goats for other needy women. Project staff were 50 impressed with the efforts of these women that they were eager to suggest it to groups in other areas.
The idea was shared with other extension staff during the regular project training courses and. quickly spread to all project sites where it was enthusiastically adopted.
Compiled by Christie Peacock, FARM Africa