Communal farming and the power of music

I’m currently in Ethiopia visiting both cultural and entrepreneurial projects. While here, I ran into Yaye, a local musician, community leader and entrepreneur. He was born and raised in an Addis Abeba Towhship in the area of Kazanchis. Over the past 15 years his small village grew from 80 to 200 inhabitants. He himself went on to get two degrees: civil engineering and jazz. He supported his studies by playing the famous Ethio-Jazz around Addis’ nightclubs.

After graduation he took to improving his community. Seeing his local river chemically poisoned and drying up (while his father was still able to swim in the river, his students between 3 and 10 of age, can’t even use it to wash themselves any more) made him want to change things. He began planting trees.

What started with 5 trees along a Kazanchis road a couple of years back, grew into a full organic farm: Vegetables and spices, cows, pigs and the recent acquisition of 400 chicken. He feeds his animals with the unsold produce from local food stores and sells vegetables and grown animals on the town center square to outside visitors. His projects created over 50 jobs for his community. It helped to decrease violence and substance dependancy and increased the children’s education about sustainability and nature.

A gifted musician, he assembled a children’s choir (80 children on good days) and teaches them songs on subjects that range from ecosystems to population growth.

Yaye next project is a soundsystem. He and his students at the music school would like to perform on the village square to attract more outsiders (Addis Abeba locals, not tourists) in order to show and tell about the benefits of farming projects like his for local communities.

No doubt Yaye’s story is one of the most impressive I’ve ever come across. Please help to make the soundsystem dream come true and support the grassroots improvement of a local community through farming and music. I myself am leaving my 300$ recorder with Yaye, so we can enjoy recordings of Yaye’s jazz band in europe once they have a mixer and speakers to play through.

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How will I spend your money?

I’m buying 2 amplified speakers and 1 live-mixer locally in Addis Ababa, so Yaye and his music students can perform concerts.


S O U N D S Y S T E M S T Y L E R E W A R D S. Read on the rewardpage. Rewards that can be both enjoyed at home and here in Addis Ababa.