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Amarech Benki smAmarech Benki is a 37 year-old BenaTsemay woman and the mother of nine children. Her two oldest children are married and her youngest is 18 months old.

Prior participating in GTLI’s Reproductive Health project, Amarech had no understanding of basic sanitation and hygiene. She now feels strongly that she could have prevented the death of one of her children with the understanding that she now has of healthy hygiene and sanitation behavior. She has become a strong advocate of pit latrine usage, hand washing, and clean compounds. Amarech wants to help her community.

“A friend and I regularly visit households on Sundays to check and see who is using their pit latrine and if it needs maintenance. We identified two households that were not using their latrines and told them they had to use them. The families said, “No!” We told them that when they defecate on the ground during the rainy season their feces gets into our water well, and we all get sick. We gave them a choice – start using their latrines or we were going to report them to the whole community!”

Amarech is happy that she and her family now have more to eat. Before participating in the program, her family’s diet consisted of maize and occasional meat when her husband’s wild animal hunt was successful. As part of this GTLI program she received four chickens when she graduated from Integrated Functional Vocational Literacy school (IFVL). She learned well, and she now has 30 chickens. She sold one chicken recently for funds to purchase an exercise book for her son. She has also given 20 eggs to five households to help them start raising chickens. Her husband received vegetable seeds and agricultural tools when he graduated from IFVL. Their family’s diet now consists of eggs, sweet potatoes, vegetables, chickens, and meat, which they buy with their egg money.

Women in Amarech’s community usually have at least 10 children. She and her husband decided that in order to make their family happy and healthy she needed to use Family Planning. They agreed that Depo was the best option for them and so Amarech, a fearless pioneer, became a new acceptor of modern contraceptives.

Marti MartindaleField stories
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