Supporting Education in Ethiopia
As one of the poorest, most densely-populated countries in Africa, Ethiopia has more than its share of obstacles to overcome. With a staggeringly high illiteracy rate, a 25% youth unemployment rate, and close to 85% of the population situated rurally, the country is disproportionately reliant on agriculture – and improvements in agriculture require education. Unfortunately, this kind of education can be difficult to access in Ethiopia; students must travel great distances if they wish to go to school, and with family obligations and work demands, a comprehensive education just isn’t realistic for many young people. As a result, many of the latest innovations in agriculture, which would help fight hunger in Ethiopia, are simply not available to the country’s youth.
One solution to this problem is to work towards making schools more accessible… and Taste of Nature is helping to make this happen, by building a school in Humera, Ethiopia.
Taste of Nature has become involved with sesame seed-farming communities in Humera, a town best known for producing a unique, sweet-tasting and highly popular variety of the seed. Sesame seed export is one of the most vital economic resources for Ethiopia, and the seeds are also a key source of income for rural families and farmers. Learning at school how to improve their agricultural practices is the key to a sustainable future for the next generation of Humera’s farmers.
“So many people in the region depend on harvesting,” says Salma Fotovat of Taste of Nature. “We knew that sesame seeds could lead directly to economic autonomy for communities there. The goal is both stability and sustainability, and Taste of Nature wanted to help them achieve that.”
Taste of Nature is helping rural families embrace sustainability through a long-term sesame-based social investment plan they’ve created in collaboration with Selet Hulling and the Shewit Cooperative, a network of farmers in the Humera region. By contributing a 5-cent premium on every pound of sesame seed produced in the region, Taste of Nature has been able to assist in funding the school’s construction and maintenance. Designed and founded in 2011 for teenage students who, due to geography, would not have access to regular classes, the school will do its part to improve the country’s low literacy rates, agricultural education, and village life in general.
“Getting students reading proficiently is key,” continues Fotovat. “Education is going to play such a vital role in improving the quality of life in the community. We hope that, through helping to finance the school, we can help these students build a sustainable future for themselves and their families.”By using these sesame seeds – small golden grains of hope – to help fund education in Humera, Taste of Nature is making that future look a little brighter.