Send a Cow's Head of Partnership Fundraising, Rob Grimes, writes of his recent trip to Ethiopia where he witnessed how communication, fairness, love, sharing and honesty can help communities flourish.

I visited Ethiopia for the first time in December. My memory is fading fast but I still think about the country and the people every day. It will stay with me forever.

In the afternoon of my first day, we walked down to the most beautiful tree at the edge of a lake with a backdrop of mountains. An eagle and a monkey shared the tree. The sun was going down and the temperature was perfect. We were served coffee, popcorn and hot bread and listened to the stories of the men and women whose lives have changed for the better. The experience was so friendly and welcoming. I don’t think I have experienced anything as nice as this in the UK.

These beautiful people found Send a Cow two years ago. From being ‘the poorest of the poor’, already they see a secure future ahead. Having anything ‘spare’ was unthinkable before so saving money was a completely alien concept. Now they have saved 12000 birr (nearly £300) for hard times. They love being in a group and have BIG plans for the future.

Why are their farms flourishing? What has changed? Surely all the resources were there for them before?

It turns out that exactly the same things that make families work in the UK applies in Ethiopia. Good communication, fairness, love, sharing and honesty in both the good times and bad. It seems obvious, but nothing will work properly unless this is in place. Send a Cow promotes family cohesion that gives people hope that they can do it. With a bit of knowledge and assistance, people do it for themselves. The husband and wife dynamic seems pretty key to making things work. One woman told us how they didn't know what their husbands were up to before they started with Send a Cow. She told us her husband had sold their cow and kept half the money for himself. She is thankful that now everything is discussed as a couple. Her children are now also treated equally. Both boys and girls get fed, they eat at the same time and all the children go to school.

I’m sure they have stressful moments, arguments and fall out with each other but it seems like their shared vision to leave poverty behind is working.