MELCA-Ethiopia with the purpose of strengthening and empowering women through engaging them in agroecology and food system programs have been working on supporting women by engaging them in different eco-friendly livelihood activities. One of the projects working on such activities is its Wereilu project located in South Wello of Amhara National Regional State.
MELCA-Ethiopia selected 24 women from organized self-help group members who lost their properties by the civil war that happen in their area last year. The objective was to treat morally and economically self-help group (SHG) members who damaged their properties and were harmed by the civil war.
The Wereilu woreda agriculture office plant science experts have provided vegetable gardening training collaborating with MELCA-Ethiopia to the women on the benefits of backyard gardening, suitable land selection, how to take care of vegetables, and creation of market linkage. Then MELCA-Ethiopia distributed carrot, cabbage, beetroot, and tomato seeds to the beneficiary women during the last rainy season.
Medina Mohamed is a housewife and a farmer in a rural village in Wereilu Woreda 04 Kebele. She was poor and had nothing to feed her family and she always depended on a meager income coming from her husband. In July 2022, Medina was selected by her self-help group to benefit from her backyard gardening, activities of MELCA.
After enrolling in backyard gardening, Medina learned basic gardening skills and how to grow different vegetables—including cabbage, tomatoes, beetroot, and carrots—creating diversity at her backyard.
Ms. Medina Mohammed explains: “The backyard gardening helps me to provide nutritious food for my family and we are eating well. In addition to what we eat, I am earning additional income by selling the vegetables I have produced in my backyard. From my previous harvesting, I have sold some of my beetroots and got 450 birr and four quintals of carrots. ”
Misaye Alelgn is another subsistence farmer who enrolled in backyard gardening. Like Medina, Misaye also explains: “Thanks to the backyard gardening support, I now have what I need to grow vegetables in my garden for my family. Thank you to MELCA-Ethiopia for this support, which will help me my whole life.”
After seeing the success in her garden, Medina began teaching and encouraging backyard gardening techniques to other women in her village—planting the seeds that will help to generate income and enhance household food security.