Animals are power for transport and ploughing, they are food and nutrition, their skins and wool can be turned into useful products, their dung fertilizes fields and fuels cooking fires, and their sale pays for education and other necessities.
Yet millions of rural people remain locked in poverty. They work long hours to feed themselves, they battle harsh natural environments, often far from roads, clinics and markets and they and their animals lead far less productive lives than their urban cousins.
The picture is not all bleak. Public services and infrastructure are fast expanding, markets are growing, fueled by urban and export demands for food, and agricultural growth and transformation is a driving goal of government.
Communities are also taking power into their own hands, transforming local resources into assets that benefit them all. Animals are often at the heart of this transformation.
In one corner of Menz, the community has taken to improved sheep breeding to help tarnsform their lives.
Filed under: Animal Breeding, CRP37, East Africa, Ethiopia, Genetics, ICARDA, Indigenous breeds, Sheep, Small Ruminants