Map of Ethiopia

Transforming Lives

(back), U.S. Ambassador Booth, USAID Mission Director Staal, and U.S. Science Envoy Ejeta join representatives and faculty.

Most Americans have plenty of water to drink, bathe and flush the toilet, wash clothes and cars, water the lawn and fill the community pool. Even when tap water is safe to drink we often buy bottled water. Competition for oil, alternatives to fossil fuel, and the price of gasoline may be foremost on our mind. But competition for water may in fact be a greater challenge in the 21st century. As developing nations turn to hydro and solar power to fuel their energy and electric power needs, water will be the “new oil” for many nations around the world.

Community members in rural Ethiopia participated in mapping areas they wanted to protect.

With the click of a mouse, the final versions of maps outlining conservation areas have set the precedent for a new kind of land management in Ethiopia. The maps show authorized land use for six Community Conservation Areas (CCAs) in Ethiopia’s Central and Southern Rift Valley— the first such areas to be officially recognized by the state. The final keystroke capped more than five years of work by the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance, a U.S. Agency for International Development-supported program implemented by Counterpart International. The alliance aims to enhance biodiversity conservation and economic development through sustainable tourism, community mobilization and improved livelihoods throughout the region.

Pastoralists with cows at a market. Credit: Nena Terrell/USAID

With an estimated 52 million cattle, 36 million sheep, 35 million goats and 5 million camels in 2009, Ethiopia has Africa’s largest livestock population. Pastoralist communities are highly dependent on income from livestock to pay for food, health services and school fees. Since 2005, USAID has supported the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program to create a National Livestock Market Information System (NLMIS) in Ethiopia. The NLMIS helps Ethiopian pastoralists make better decisions on when to sell their livestock and earn increased income during times of economic hardship.

Some of the 280 workers at Tariku Midergo Coffee Company

Tariku Midergo started a coffee processing project with family support in 1998 near Yeragalem town in Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities People’s (SNNP) Region. While establishing his business, Midergo heard about a new USAID-sponsored loan program and approached one of USAID’s partner banks, the Bank of Abyssinia, participating in the Development Credit Authority program, to get capital to establish and expand his business. Midergo praises USAID Ethiopia’s loan guarantee program because simple and straightforward procedures make loans accessible to small entrepreneurs like him.

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Last updated: January 05, 2015

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