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Mother nature: meet the mums feeding their families during drought

Mother nature: meet the mums feeding their families during drought

This Sunday is Mother’s Day and World Water Day, and as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, both have a special significance this year.

Now more than ever we’re appreciating how critical it is for everyone to have safe, clean water and good hygiene to prevent the spread of diseases. And whether we’re able to spend time with our loved ones or will be in touch from a distance, the crisis is a reminder of the amazing role mums and caregivers are playing in looking after their families and communities.

At Plan International UK, our work in disasters and emergencies means we often hear stories of remarkable women caring for children in the toughest conditions – which is why today, we’re sharing these stories of incredible mums in Ethiopia.

Fatjama and her daughter, Ethiopia
Fatjama and her daughter, Ethiopia

As a result of the severe drought in Ethiopia, many families have lost crops and livestock – and children are bearing the brunt of the crisis.

At Plan International’s health station, our mother’s group is supporting mums to feed their families through the drought. As well as learning about nutrition, sustainable farming and the importance of clean water, they can practice preparing nutritious food and at the end of the day’s training, all the women, children and trainers gather together to enjoy a shared meal.

20-year-old Fatjama has been going to the group for six months. She has a three-year-old daughter and is expecting her second child. The drought is putting a strain on her family as the price of corn and other vegetables has risen and her family can no longer afford to buy enough food.

I have learnt how to eat healthily during pregnancy and how to prepare nutritious food for my children. My wish is that my children have a bright future.

Chali and her eight-month-old granddaughter

Chali, 35, is a farmer, mother of six and grandmother to one. Climate change has made it harder for her and her family to get food, but attending the mother’s group has helped her continue to support them. 

“After I joined the group, I have noticed that my children are doing better,” she says. “I have learnt a lot, for example about personal hygiene."

We sowed our crops and waited for the rains to begin. Previously, we have had rains, but not anymore. They should have started three months ago. There’s nothing to do but wait.

Addis eats with mums and children at the health station

Addis, 25, works as an advisor at the health station. Every day, she visits nearby villages where she monitors the health of young children and their mothers. She also encourages pregnant mothers to have regular health examinations.

“Before, mothers would go from one health station to the next looking for food, as we did not have enough to offer. We could transport only a small amount of supplies by donkey,” Addis says. 

“With Plan International’s support, we have received food, medicine, soap and other hygiene products as well as training materials for the health station."

I have seen change happen. Before, the community did not know how to prepare nutritious food from local supplies for their children. Now, there is more information available and people are interested in hearing it.


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