Improving community food security and nutrition

29 July 2014

Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) submitted in May a report on the first six months of its project aimed at achieving year-round food and nutrition security for 378 households of the Dibate District, Benishangul Gumuz Region, in Ethiopia. The project includes introducing the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach, supporting income-generating activities and education in nutrition, hygiene and sanitation.

Starting in October 2013 the project inception phase began with:

  • A workshop introducing the FFS approach to local-level officials and other key stakeholders; orientation sessions for the community at kebele level (a kebele is the smallest administrative unit of Ethiopia, similar to a neighborhood or a localized and delimited group of people); a Participatory Baseline Exercise for 40 participants (including 20 women) representing a cross-section of targeted communities.
  •  A two-day train-the-trainer session for 11 selected community members on the basic concepts and implementation of the FFS approach, followed by a wider introduction of the approach to a total of 80 community members (including 40 women) in each targeted kebele. 146 farmers (104 female) subsequently formed six FFS groups, each group electing committee members.
  • Training for the six FFS groups in improved agronomic practices. Four FFS groups chose to focus on crop production (soy bean, sesame, sorghum and finger millet) and the two remaining groups chose to focus on fruit and vegetable production.


Over the next six months, CPAR will continue to improve agronomic activities and approaches to natural resource management through the training and technical support of FFS members. Income generating activities will focus on beekeeping for honey production, and goat rearing. Nutrition education, including demonstrations on appropriate food preparation, feeding practices and hygiene and sanitation, will also be carried out.