Which development strategies have been most effective in Ethiopia, bottom up or top down? Development project Ashegoda wind farm – Tigray Farm Africa – goat aid in Tigray Type of development strategy Top-down Bottom-up How does it work?

  • Invested in increasing renewable energy production in Ethiopia.
  • The £179m windfarm consists of 84 hi-tech turbines towering above an arid region and is now the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The project, outside Mekelle in Tigray state, about 475 miles north of the capital, Addis Ababa, supplies over 3 million Ethiopians with electricity.
  • The project also only exploits some of Ethiopia’s energy potential and the Government is aiming over the next five years to increase energy generation further to provide more Ethiopians with access to electricity.
  • In this region 80% of the population live in rural areas and levels of poverty and malnutrition are very high; a third of women are underweight. Many women and increasing numbers of young people have no or little access to land meaning that they struggle to produce enough food to feed their families.
  • This UK-based NGO provides three goats on credit to poor households headed by women.
  • By providing these goats families have greater access to milk, meat and manure to kitchen gardens as well as the opportunity to breed goats.
  • Women are provided with a training package to teach them how to care for and breed the goats as well as grow fodder crops to feed them with.
  • To repay the loan women need to provide three weaned kids which can then be used to help another poor woman.

Why does it improve development? This can dramatically improve their quality of life allowing them to use more machinery, light in the evenings, better cooking equipment. Ethiopia also aims to boost its economy by exporting electricity to surrounding countries.

One positive outcome of the project has been that goat owning families are becoming healthier and there is a significant decrease in the number of malnourished children.It also enables families to create an income through the breeding and subsequent sale of goats. They can then use this money to send their children to school, access healthcare, invest in increasing the earning potential through the purchase of other animals.


  • The project has provided work for Ethiopian companies, who have been involved in the construction of roads, turbine foundations, sub-station and electricity infrastructure.
  • It will produce about 400 million KWh of electricity each year in a country where currently half the population have no access to electricity and power cuts are still a regular occurrence where there is an electricity supply.
  • Electricity is urgently needed to feed the economic growth of the country which has average 10% over the last decade.
  • This wind farm works in conjunction with an existing hydro-electric dam. The wind farm is more sustainable as it works with the climate of Ethiopia where rainfall is very low.
  • It will also future proof the country’s electricity supply as climate change is likely to reduce rainfall further.
  • The dry season tends to be very windy so there is a lot of potential to produce electricity from wind turbines.
  • The Food Security project work directly with 11,337 women and 400 landless youths while more than 48,300 people benefit indirectly.
  • According to the recent Poverty Reduction Assessment by the World Bank, life expectancy has increased and progress has been made towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly in gender parity in primary education, child mortality, HIV/ AIDS, and malaria in Ethiopia.
  • Innovate initiatives like this Food Security Project, are taking a step in the right direction to address many issues, particularly food issues in Africa.
  • Research shows that calorie intakes for people involved in the project are 41.8% higher than those who haven’t taken part.
  • This cycle also means that the programme can keep expanding to help more women.


  • Media reports in 2011, however, noted that about 700 farmers had lost some or all their land to make way for the turbines. They were given financial compensation but some complained the money was too little.
  • Ethiopia is currently selling most of the electricity produced to neighbouring countries so Ethiopian people are not getting the benefits from an improved electricity supply. The government reports that this is due to the fact that many homes are not connected to the national grid and they say income from selling the energy can be used to widen access.
  • Project does not change a family’s fortunes overnight. It takes 2-5 years for the project to significantly improve a family’s quality of life.
  • They can also only help so many people and although it is raising the quality of life of many families it is not as far reaching as to help all the people in Ethiopia who are living in poverty.
  • There have also been reports that some goats are reproducing less than expected.