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Hope for Ethiopia's youth: the story of Amiat Ahmed

Amiat initially migrated in the hopes of providing her family with enough income. Now, she has joined a poultry cooperative that allows her to support her family and remain in her home village.

“I see my future in our poultry farming business,” says Amiat with a smile. © Emily Enberg Packer

Twenty-seven-year-old Amiat Ahmed and her two-year-old son live with Amiat’s parents in the South Wollo Zone of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Like many other young people in her region, Amiat used to feel that there were limited opportunities to earn income in her village, which led to her decision to migrate to Saudi Arabia.

“I witnessed young people from my village sending money back to their families,” Amiat says of those who inspired her to make a similar move. “I thought I could do the same thing for my parents.”

Unfortunately, Amiat’s plans for her future in the Middle East did not turn out as she had hoped. She spent five years in Saudi Arabia working as a domestic helper for a local family. Although her reality was different from what she had imagined at home in Ethiopia, Amiat continued her work in order to send money back to her family. In this way, she partly fulfilled her dream: she managed to earn enough money to buy oxen for her father, and also to send her younger brother to university. But before Amiat could earn the money needed to help her family construct a better house, she had to leave Saudi Arabia because of her status as an irregular immigrant.

“My plan was to work for three more years to save money for my family, but I was forced to return,” she explains.

Upon returning home to the South Wollo Zone, Amiat had no income or means to provide for her family. But with some help from local administrators, she joined a poultry farming cooperative started with the support of the FAO Rural Youth Mobility (RYM) Project. With the help of national stakeholders, the Project provided unemployed youth with training and equipment, helping them launch their own small agricultural businesses and thus generating profitable alternatives to migration. 

One of the positive outcomes of the RYM Project is the poultry farming cooperative that Amiat joined after returning to her village. The members of the cooperative buy day-old chickens, raise them for 45 days and then sell them to local communities. As the profits grow, the members share the dividends among themselves. 

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