Villagers of Aleta Wondo, Ethiopia picking coffee as a business

Over half of the total population of Sidama, directly or indirectly, depend on coffee for livelihoods.
Over 60% coffee produced in Sidama region is washed coffee and ready for export while half of the country’s coffee output of about 200,000 tones is consumed domestically. There are over 89 coffee washing stations in Sidama alone. Thus, over 40% of washed coffee destined to the export market comes directly from the Sidama region.

Coffee is the single most important export commodity for ‘Ethiopia’ providing about 65% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. ‘Ethiopian’ coffee exports currently account for about $400 million in export income. More than 20 million people in the country (about 25% of the population) derive their livelihoods from the coffee sector. Coffee contributes over 10% of the ‘Ethiopian’ GDP.

Half a century of progressive coffee export did not at all translate to poverty reduction and increased access to livelihoods in Sidama. Instead, as specialty coffee production, processing and exports increased from Sidama, poverty, hunger and famine also increased. This is a symptom of fundamental economic and political problems in the country.



  • Create a Women’s Dairy
  • Women’s micro-finance and business development
  • Renovate the Bekele Hotel and lease small shops for micro-finance
  • Increase production of Bee Hives and sell Honey for export market
  • Develop Spice and Herbs economy for export
  • Develop Eco-tourism: “Coffee Tours” and Sidama cultural tours
  • Development Training Center for NGOs: Positive Deviance
  • Handicrafts and Computer Training Center for youth

Find out how your visit, international internship, student volunteering, volunteer teaching, medical volunteering and / or donations can help us reach our goal of sustainable development in Aleta Wondo, Ethiopia. For more information about Common River and how you can help, contact us today.