PARIMA - Pastoral Risk Management in Southern Ethiopia

USAID teamed with the Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program (GL-CRSP) for a decade beginning in 1997 to increase incomes and diversify livelihoods among pastoralists in southern Ethiopia.

Pastoralists living on the Borana Plateau in southern Ethiopia have been raising livestock in the same manner for centuries. But in the past two decades, droughts have become more frequent and severe. Coupled with human and livestock population growth, this has put more pressure on scarce pasture and water. When droughts now hit, between 40 to 60 percent of the livestock is regularly lost.

The Pastoral Risk Management project (PARIMA) has helped hundreds of these pastoralists to diversify their livelihoods away from a sole dependence on livestock.

The project organized village cooperatives - “Collective Action Groups” - and members received training on how to set up small shops and market their livestock, including literacy and math classes. A savings-based micro financing scheme helped provide seed capital once they had learned how to better manage funds. PARIMA ultimately formed 59 cooperative groups in southern Ethiopia with more than 2,000 members, three-quarters of whom are women. The cooperatives saw a 96 percent repayment rate on loans totaling about $648,000. Cooperatives continue to be formed in other villages, making exponentially more livelihoods secure. 

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