Calum Doutch from Tapestry brewery, reflects on his trip to Ethiopia, to see how their small business support helps farmers on the SARO project.
I was lucky enough to spend a whirlwind few days in Ethiopia to learn more about Send a Cow’s projects on behalf of Tapestry brewery and wanted to take this opportunity to write a few words about my experience. As we have now launched our African series of beers what better time to do so.
We have a charity partnership that we are extremely proud of, donating £1 of every cask/keg and 50p of every case of bottles sold to help Send a Cow to support communities in rural Africa to grow their way out of poverty. We have done this since Tapestry began, and it is something we will continue to do.
Arrival in Ethiopia
The first communities we visited were part of the sustainable agriculture and rural opportunities (SARO) project in Boditi town. This three-year-long project is made up of six integrated projects.
Initially aiming to include 2,400 farmers, they have now reached over 2,600.
In the SARO project, people are trained in farming techniques but the focus is on changing participants’ attitudes towards managing their land and improving equality within the community.
Participants are selected through a screening process identified by community and village leaders and based on a scoring system to identify those who are most in need.
There is no animal placement on this project; the focus is all based around seeds and how best to grow vegetables.
One family we met really stayed with me. Settled on their beautiful land just outside of Boditi town, this family were living proof of a successful project. They appeared healthy, had a brick house with a corrugated roof and extremely well-kept fields.
The husband and wife told us that before the project had started, they were not pro-active in their approach to farming, and had been using the same tired techniques for years. They had previously lived in extreme poverty but, thanks to a change of approach and real tenacity, they now have a thriving farm from which they make enough money from the local markets to feed their large family well.
They now help others in their community to farm their land better by teaching them the new techniques they have learned from Send a Cow.
Whilst in another town called Gunono, we met a few different project participants and we were treated to an example of some of the practical work they are taught. They showed us how successful teamwork is done when making their own fertiliser to use on the land. Yes, that is manure and yes, no gloves!
One thing which stood out for me was not just seeing the immediate impact that Send a Cow’s work has on its beneficiaries but how these projects also benefit the wider community.
The farmers are not simply learning new techniques for themselves, but they are sharing this new knowledge with their neighbours and wider communities.
This is just the start for us as a small business and I cannot wait to do more, not just by telling people’s stories, but by engaging our customers, educating our consumers and encouraging our employees to get involved.
By guest writer, Calum Doutch from Tapestry brewery.
Are you a small business that is enthused by our work and shares our values? Find out how a partnership with Send a Cow could work for you, here.