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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7893
JPY
USD
107.68
GBP
USD
0.6238
CAD
USD
1.1214
INR
USD
61.185

Rates may not be current.