Ethiopia - Building resilience, improving food security
Each year we raise money for a need which arises from mission overseas and this, as the name suggests, usually takes place in Lent. The funds are for a specific need, not for the support of individuals.
Many, but not all, have been linked with one of our mission partners, and have included buildings, equipment and vehicles. In recent years we have had several projects in support of refugees in the Middle East and one for the building of new homes for a community in Bangladesh of Christians made homeless as a result of persecution. In 2022 we supported Christians in Afganistan or who are living perilously in nearby countries.
This year’s project focuses on helping subsistence farmers in Ethiopia to develop new ways of farming which support both crop production and livestock management.
Methods are introduced leading to higher crop yields and healthier animals and which are also much more resilient and sustainable in drought prone areas.
Ethiopia, one of Africa’s poorer nations in spite of some development, is one of several E African countries in which severe hunger was high profile news last year when the lack of grain from Ukraine added to the impact of severe drought. Millions were starving. In large areas subsistence farming is the main activity and therefore at the mercy of the changing climate. For more information on this ongoing situation see this link.
Four years of severe drought, the worst in 40 years in this drought prone country, have led to failed harvests, dying livestock, malnutrition and resulting health problems. With no money for fees children are withdrawn from school and women and children are made more vulnerable by the need to go further afield in search of food.
The project we are supporting with Tearfund is about increasing longer term food security, not the immediate need which is, of course, still immense. The input by Tearfund, delivered through local churches and over several years, aims always to leave a community better equipped to look after its own needs. This is holistic input leading to both material and spiritual development.
In the video below, made specially for St Giles, TEAR Fund church office Pete explains how your contribution will make a difference.
The following account from an earlier project illustrates the transformation that a project can enable to take place.
Hayu and his family live in south-western Ethiopia. For a long time, life had been an uphill struggle. He and his family lived in a poorly constructed house made of mud, which was frequently damp. His children often did not have enough clothes to wear, especially to see them through cold nights. He owned a small amount of land, but no machinery to be able to farm effectively and no animals. As a result, he could only produce sufficient food for six months of the year. For the rest, Hayu had to resort to daily labour, making rope to sell, for example, to be able to feed his family. A credit group refused a loan, hope was lost until Tearfund came on the scene. Hayu was able to join a self-help group and through this to obtain a small loan, which he used to buy some hens. The purchase of even 6 hens can be pivotal, improving nutrition, and hopefully providing surplus eggs to sell. An upwards spiral starts. Now, after help and much hard work, Hayu has constructed a better house, owns cows, oxen and goats, his children are at school and he is optimistic for the future.
If you are not familiar with the work of Tearfund you can follow this link to their website.
You can help
By giving: TEAR Fund has been pro-active in East Africa since the crisis erupted. As well as giving food and basic supplies they are developing and implementing new farming methods and empowering women to take a full part in food production.
How can I give to the 2023 Lent Project ?
If you are a UK taxpayer St Giles Church is able to reclaim a further 25% of the value of your gift and any tax reclaim will be added to your donation. If you are able to Gift Aid your donation please ensure that you complete the necessary declarations.
If you have not previously completed a Gift Aid form you can download it here and send it to the parish office.
There are two ways you can contribute financially to this year's project.
1 ) Cheques and cash
Gifts can be posted to the church office. Please mark your envelope or enclose a note to clearly show the gift is intended for the 2023 Lent Project.
Cheques should be made payable to ‘St Giles PCC - Lent 2023’.
2) Giving online via MyChurchSuite
You can make a donation through ChurchSuite choosing the option Lent Project via the first drop-down menu:
Need more information?
If you’re not sure about how to give or want more information about what happens to your gifts then please email: or ask to speak to our financial administrator Serena.
OUR LENT PROJECT FROM LAST YEAR (2022)
Our project in 2022 was to support Christians in Afganistan and we raised £3,010
With Islam as the state religion, to convert to another religion was already considered apostasy, with severe penalties as a likely outcome. The Christians in this country are mostly converts from Islam or the children of converts, and were already having to be extremely careful about letting their faith be known. The return of the Taliban with its ultra- strict interpretation of sharia law increased the danger: the death penalty for a man and imprisonment for a woman, and has led to Afghanistan in 2022 being number 1 on the Open Doors World Watch list. The Taliban is without mercy and some are killed by relatives for what is seen, in their culture, as bringing shame on the family.
This video describes last years project.
For a list of previous Lent Projects from 1979 to 2022 and the amounts raised please click here: