Integrated Sustainable Development in Ethiopia

Menschen für Menschen runs a project in Ethiopia's Nono Benja region with the support of the knodel foundation. Its objective is to combine various measures from all areas of life to contribute to a comprehensive improvement in living conditions and the environmental situation in cooperation with the native population and local authorities.
Stiftung Menschen für Menschen


In the rural areas of Ethiopia, approximately 85 % of people live from agriculture and animal husbandry. However, as many lack knowledge of modern farming methods or alternative arable crops, harvests are poor. At the same time, they are harming the environment: the timber needed for cooking and construction is felled, but the spaces created are not reforested. The consequence: the unprotected soil can be blown or washed away by the wind and rain. This means that rain water is barely absorbed into the ground, aquifers are no longer replenished and springs run dry.

The Project

In the district of Nono Benja, about 275 kilometres from Addis Ababa, “Menschen für Menschen” has been running an integrated rural development project since 2020. Together with the local population, they have implemented integrated measures from five areas: sustainable agriculture, water and hygiene, education, healthcare and income.

The foundation’s specialists are introducing farmers, for example, to growing fruit and vegetables that – aside from generating new income – also improve their families’ diets. Deforested areas are replanted in agreement with the authorities and the people. The distribution of wood-saving stoves helps to protect natural resources and women’s health, as they produce less smoke and emit fewer sparks. The construction of perfectly hygienic waterholes close to the villages has reduced the rates of diarrhoea and shortend the time that women and girls need to spend fetching water. The time gained can be put to good use, for example, going to school or learning a craft. This also means that the women can generate their own income.