The Afar pastoralists live in the dry lowlands regions of Ethiopia, located in the north east of the country bordering with Eritrea and Djibouti in the north and north east respectively. Of the 1,1million people, more than 90% live in rural areas. The Afar Region is poorly served in terms of primary education, health and veterinary services, clean drinking water and other basic services, overall 75% below the national average. Most Afars are nomadic herders. The level of poverty is high in pastoralist communities who depend on livestock production.
Rotary supported Australian nurse Valerie Browning of the Afar Pastoral Development Association (APDA) to establish a Micro-Credit program to assist Afar communities diversify their source of income by establishing household businesses that do not depend solely on pastoral production. As far as it is possible, APDA encouraged women to make use of this fund.