News / Economy

Cooperative Economy Works for Ethiopian Village

Marthe van der Wolf
The Ethiopian village of Awra Amba differs from other rural villages when it comes to beliefs, education levels and general development. Some think the cooperative economic approach of the village could be applied to other rural areas in Ethiopia.
 
Only about 500 people reside in the tiny village in northern. The community was established in the early 1970s by Zumra Nuru, who was seeking another way of life.

Four decades later, the community is being examined by government institutions and development organizations. The way of life there is based on equality and working for the good of the community.
 
Zumra Nuru, founder of Awra Amba, said the village is doing so well because everyone works for each other. He said they harmonize their work efforts, and that all the members of the cooperative believe they are working toward the same point, and that is why they are succeeding.

Growing economic base

The village cooperative was established in the early 1990s. Every member of the community earns the same annual salary. Last year the amount was 6,200 birr [about $300] per member.

While that seems low, 10 years ago there was only 50 birr [about $3] for every member. Incomes are generated mostly from farming, textiles, tourism and selling goods in neighboring villages and cities.
 
Members of the community work six days a week. Five days of work are for the cooperative, one day of labor is to support elders, orphans and those who are weaker. The last day of the week can be spent as individuals like.
 
Semenesh Alemu weaves textiles for the cooperative. She said the money that members of the community share, though, is still not enough. She said the money is good if you compare it with how she used to live before. But she works extra on her personal day to subsidize her family.

Cultivating younger generation

Another way Awra Amba is trying to develop the village is by actively trying to create jobs for the younger generation of university graduates.
 
Gebreyehu Desalo studied agricultural-economics and returned home to work in the financial office of Awra Amba.

“I don’t want to have a life that’s different from my community. I grew up here and they teach me throughout my life, and I'm working with them," Desalo said. "And I'm sharing equally as a member.”

Staying in the village means it is unlikely Gebreyehu will ever be able to purchase a car or a personal laptop. There is one laptop for the community, but one day the village hopes to be able to afford more.
 
Ethiopia ranks 173 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. But since the standard of living in Awra Amba is better than in other rural areas, efforts have been made to investigate how and if the approach of Awra Amba can be applied on a bigger scale in Ethiopia.

Efforts are underway to establish similar cooperative communities in different parts of Ethiopia. But this is happening without consultation with Awra Amba members and its founder Zumra, and it is unclear what the results will be four decades from now.  
 
Interventions by outside development organizations in villages have mostly failed, as the needs of the community do not always coincide with what external players provide.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.