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Ten Thousand Villages – Ethiopia, Nova Scotia Connections

Posted by Stephanie Rogers on October 29, 2015 in International News, News

This year’s Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale has added a new feature.  They will be hosting an information night to learn more about agriculture and food security in Ethiopia on the Friday evening of the sale at 7pm on November 27th.

For many Canadians, images of Ethiopia are limited to famine and drought. But there are many people in Nova Scotia and more specifically in Truro who are experiencing for themselves that Ethiopia is so much more.

Julie Ramey, a teacher from Lunenburg writes after returning from an educator’s tour led by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; ‘We were blessed to see initiatives that are empowering people to work toward more sustainable and secure ways of supporting themselves, building relationships, forging networks, being trained and building hope.”

Closer to home Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture is embarking on an $18-million agriculture based project in Ethiopia funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

Bizuayehu Mengiste, Ethiopian doctoral candidate with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, leads a traditional coffee ceremony.  

The Agricultural Transformation Through Stronger Vocational Education (ATTSVE) project will be making world-class contributions to agricultural education and development by sharing expertise to support economic growth and alleviate poverty. The project aims to graduate students who are equipped with the practical and theoretical competencies that support the national priority of market-oriented agriculture.  Under the ATTSVE project, Agricultural colleges (ATVETs) will also become reputable providers of training that meets the unique needs of farmers, rural youth, the agri-industry and the broader rural communities.

The International Office of the Faculty of Agriculture, and formally NSAC, has been actively working in Ethiopia for over 12 years. This year the Post-Harvest Management to Improve Livelihoods Project (PHMIL), also funded by DFATD, will come to a close after eight years of ground breaking work with an Ethiopian University, Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (JUCAVM). PHMIL has addressed post-harvest challenges and adds values to agricultural products in Ethiopia improving food security and economic growth.

In Ethiopia, agriculture isn’t just a way of life: in many respects, it’s the cornerstone of life itself.

Approximately 80-85 per cent of the country’s population is employed in agriculture. The country has the largest livestock population in all of Africa, and agriculture contributes more than 40 per cent of the country’s total GDP. Despite challenges such as food insecurity and limited social support, Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world and could potentially become a middle income country by 2025.

“Since Ten Thousand Villages is about ending global poverty by providing access to income for food, water, health, shelter, education we thought it a good fit to host this evening session to learn more about our local Ethiopia connections and be inspired by the Ethiopia of today,” says Brenda Leenders, sale organizer.

Ten Thousand Villages works with artisans who would otherwise be unemployed, or underemployed. We create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn an income by bringing their products and stories to our markets in North America. Ten Thousand Villages works with over 120 different artisans groups from more than 30 countries across the globe.

The Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale is at Immanuel Baptist Church, 295 Young St., Truro on  Friday, November 27 from 10:00 AM  to 9:00 PM  and Saturday, November 28 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The Ethiopia NS Connections information session will be held at the sale, Friday Nov 27, 7-8pm. It is a free event. Fair traded Ethiopian coffee will be served!

For more information on the Truro sale contact Brenda Leenders at 893-4197.