Our Stories

Women’s Savings & Investment Co-op, Ethiopia

Nothing invigorates a community like a successful enterprise, and the women of the small village of Doko Yoyeri, high in the African Ridge Mountains of Southern Ethiopia, are beginning to realise this for themselves. They have worked closely with Vita, the Sisters of Mercy and the Irish Embassy in Ethiopia to set up a Women’s Saving and Credit Co-operative that teaches them how best to engage in business and improve their standards of living.

The idea that projects like these are community – led is a huge part of Vita’s DNA, and six local villages competed for this innovative new co-op, designed with the most marginalised local families in mind. This community – led approach gives the village council a sense of ownership of the co-operative, and a vested interest in its success. The council themselves have selected the first 20 members of the co-operative from amongst the poorest families in the surrounding area.

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The Power of the Potato – Tozene’s Story

Tozene Nada was born in the mountains of the Great Rift Valley in southern Ethiopia.

Despite the steep and hilly countryside and its characteristic high altitudes, Tozene’s homeland was abundant and fertile. However, the strains of having to support, feed, and nourish an ever-growing population began to take its toll on this once bountiful land, resulting in overworked soil and smaller yields for farmers like Tozene.

With the passing of her father-in-law and her husband forced to migrate to Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to support their family, Tozene took over the running of the two–hectare family farm, alone.

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Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves – transforming communities and benefiting women in Eritrea

The traditional stove in Eritrea is called the ‘mogogo’ and, like most homes around the world, forms the central focus point of family life. Here is where women – like Tekea and Desey – spend a significant part of their day, preparing meals, heating water, and feeding the voracious open flame an endless supply of wood gathered from the ever-sparser countryside.

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Vita’s Life Saving Programs


Water is a crucial element of attaining and improving food security.
Like other basic services, safe water is essential for the survival and well-being of humankind and its access is a pre-requisite for the realization of many human rights, including those relating to people’s survival, education and standard of living.


Vita’s work with livestock involves the transfer of modern practical techniques of agricultural knowledge on dairy farming.

Together with its partners, Vita is engaged in livestock breed improvement, provision of livestock fodder and access to water, rangeland rehabilitation, providing access to veterinary services and capacity building for co-operatives, dairy farmers and local government.


Improved Stoves 

Vita is committed to working with challenges within environmental sustainability.

One of the major environmental challenges in our partner countries is the use of biomass-burning stoves since most rural households are heavily reliant on firewood for their energy needs. As a result, Vita provides fuel-efficient stoves, which require less fuel and produce fewer emissions.


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A large focus of Vita’s seed work is enabling farmers to produce high quality seeds: potatoes, vegetables and cereals such as millet and wheat. 

Based on its work on potatoes with CIP and local partners, Vita recognised the potential that potatoes can provide as a staple food. Potatoes are a highly nutritious crop and are ideal for boosting household food security.


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Vita recognises a new approach is required that enables development partners to create equitable and sustainable potato value chains if the potential of potatoes as a food crop in Africa is to be realised.

The Coalition is a means of developing, sharing and scaling best practices and models to maximise the potential benefit that potatoes provide to rural communities.