Women provide the majority of agricultural labor in rural Ethiopia, where 80 percent of the country’s population lives. These women’s contributions sometimes go unseen in these areas, because the agriculture field historically has been seen as a men’s career. To address this gap, the Christopher Dowswell Scholarship Fund has awarded nearly 100 scholarships to African women to improve their ability to better deliver agricultural advisory services to smallholder farmers.
Among these recipients is a young Ethiopian woman named Terefech, who has studied under a Dowswell scholarship since 2017. Terefech is currently enrolled in the bachelor of science mid-career program in agricultural extension at Haramaya University in Ethiopia, where she studies rural development and agricultural extension. Terefech knew she wanted to study agriculture because she wanted to benefit the rural people where she comes from.
Before attending Haramaya University, Terefech earned a diploma in animal production extension techniques from Assosa Agriculture TVET College in 2007. She then went on to work ten years in the field of rural agricultural extension, serving as an extension worker in the rural kebele, or administrative unit, of Limmu Kossasa District, Jimma Zone, Ethiopia.
The Dowswell scholarship has allowed Terefech to purchase a computer and allowed her to focus on academics by relieving some of the burden of tuition costs. Today, she has several goals for her life and career after she graduates. She wants to use what she has learned in school to teach farmers throughout the country about new agricultural information. She also plans to teach farmers how they can improve their living standards by using new agricultural technologies and market-oriented products. Finally, she intends to help farmers increase their production and productivity, working within the market chain system to increase their income.
Through education, Terefech has changed the trajectory of her life, and plans to use that knowledge to contribute to her country.