Meet the people

Self Help Africa's work with rural farming families across Africa.

Meet some of the mothers, fathers, farmers and rural entrepreneurs that we've worked with recently, below:


meet tekele - Ethiopia


Neither the soil nor the climate where he lived in Gabisaa village in Ethiopia were conducive to growing traditional crops, Tekleye Gebre lamented. “Our land just wasn’t suited,” he said.

That changed when Tekleye went on field visits to learn from other farmers, and see for himself what they were doing with Self Help Africa on demonstration farms, where alternate crops and new farming approaches had been introduced and were being promoted.

Tekleye trained in horticulture production, received vegetable seed, and joined a group of villagers to access a modern community irrigation scheme that was introduced to provide a reliable source of water for their vegetables.

“Having access to water immediately made us less vulnerable to the climate. Our lives have changed. I’m proud that all five of our children are able to attend school,” he said.


meet consolata - Kenya


Planting cotton using traditional methods and local seed was always hard work for Consolata Anyango, and the money that she earned was poor.

“I wasn’t able to afford to send my children to school” she says.

Consolata got the chance to turn things around when she linked with Kenyan cotton processor, Rift Valley Products (RVP), and joined an outgrower programme that provided her with training in cotton production, as well as better quality seed.

Not only is Consolata, the mother of a young family, now producing more bales of cotton and earning more than previously, she is also spending less time transporting her crop, thanks to the establishment by RVP of a buying centre nearby.

The facility is amongst a network of new collection points established by the company, as it expands its operations, increases its network of outgrower farmers, and stands at the forefront of Kenya’s efforts to review a once booming industry in indigenous cotton production and processing.

meet joyce - Uganda


Joyce Akelo is a member of a young farmers group that’s growing ginger commercially to earn a living in north eastern Uganda.

One of 25 young people in the Atiira Farmers Group in her village, Joyce says that the venture has helped her to generate an income for herself, since she joined the group.

Atiira is one of nine youth groups in the locality who are growing ginger. They have secured a contract to sell their crop to one of Uganda’s leading ginger processors.

Joyce’s group earned €4,800 from selling ginger crop, and each member was paid between €150-220.

“We sold approximately 70% of what was harvested, and kept the remainder to plant for the new season,” she said. Uganda produces 170 metric tonnes of ginger each year, and is a major exporter to markets across East Africa and into Europe.


meet 'mama' chabu - Zambia


The happiest day of her life for ‘Mama’ Chabu Kalanga (54) was when she finally heard that the two young children she had been forced to abandon, as a refugee, more than 20 years earlier, were safe and well.

A long-time resident of Meheba Refugee Camp in north-western Zambia, Mama says that just two years ago she received a letter to say that her children – now adults – had themselves fled their home in Democratic Republic of Congo, and were living as refugees in neighbouring Angola.

“We ran for our lives. My husband was killed and I left with my younger sister. I had to leave my children behind. For many years I didn’t know if they were alive or dead. And then their letter came.”

‘Mama’ Chabu says that one day they will all be reunited, but in the meantime she is making the most of her life at Meheba. Enrolled on a Self Help Africa graduation programme that provided agricultural training and business skills, and helped refugees to access small loans to set up their own small enterprises, she now grows beans, soya beans and groundnuts (peanuts), and supplements her income by selling fritters that she makes at a stall in the camp.

“I’m hopeful for the future. One day I’d like to be reunited with my children again. Maybe I will go to them or perhaps they will come to visit me,” she says.