Jemanesh Debela's Story

Originally published on August 12, 2014.

Jemanesh Debela, a 28-year-old mother of two from Lemu Dima kebele in South Eastern Ethiopia, and her family received seeds, tools, and three sheep as part of USAID's Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities (ENGINE) project.

Jemanesh  grows various vegetables in her garden and uses most of the harvest for home consumption. “After the last harvest, we earned 400 birr ($22) from selling the surplus vegetables. We used the money to buy oil, iodized salt and also bought two chickens which are producing eggs to feed the children. The children like the food from the home garden because they can get it whenever they want. Their health has also improved.” Prior to being selected by the ENGINE project, Jemanesh’s household only planted kale in their garden and mainly depended on her income as a day labourer.

The children like the food from the home garden because they can get it whenever they want. Their health has also improved.

Jemanesh Debela (ENGINE Client)


A combination of many factors such as low diet diversity, poor infant and young child feeding practices, inadequate hygiene and sanitation, and limited access to health services contribute to high levels of child malnutrition in Ethiopia. According to the 2011 DHS survey, 29% of children are underweight and 44% are stunted. One child in 12 dies before their fifth birthday and it is estimated that more than half of all these deaths are a result of malnutrition.

Save the Children’s ENGINE project aims to improve the nutritional status of Ethiopian women and children under five, enabling them to lead healthier and more productive lives. The project employs integrated nutrition and agricultural activities such as direct nutrition interventions (promotion of vitamin A, iron and zinc; and maternal and infant and young child nutrition) and livelihood activities (nutrition-sensitive agriculture demonstrations at farmer training centers and schools; homestead production of fruits and vegetables; provision of livestock; and promotion of dietary diversity).

Lemu Dima kebele is located in Limuna Bilbilo woreda (district) of Arsi zone in the Oromia regional state of Ethiopia.

Interview conducted by Abdu Yemam/Save the Children and photos taken by Haji Mohamoud/Save
the Children in February 2013.

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