Women’s economic empowerment, market access, business management support services, financial access, and literacy are key components for creating sustainable employment and income for rural women.
The 4R- Nutrient Stewardship project aims to improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of 80,000 (50% women) smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal through enhanced agricultural productivity and sustainability. In Ethiopia Amhara Region Minjar Shenkora District, through the 4R solution project, members received a loan from Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCOs) and engaged in different income-generating activities and working on their business.
This International Women’s Day read a few impact stories from Ethiopia, where women gain financial stability and build sustainable livelihoods.
I started my own business of sheep husbandry.
Tsige Asfaw is a mother of five children; she is a member of the Saving Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) and lives in BoloSelase kebele of Minjar Shenkora district.
“I used to work on my husband’s farm to support him without any access to the profit that is gained from crop production, but thanks God, after I joined the SACCO, I was able to get training on entrepreneurship and loan which enabled me to buy three sheep they have four lambs now. I am currently doing sheep husbandry.”
It is very important for one’s spouse to be their number one cheerleader, always encouraging them to reach their potential and also to help once in a while at home when the responsibilities get overwhelming. Tsige mentioned that “Initially, my husband was not happy about it. He even refused to be part when I took the loan. But now he understands and helps me with things like giving food to my sheep when I am not home and is happy when I attend different meetings in regard to SACCO. This makes me very happy, and I want to be more successful in what I do.”
As Tsige emphasized, “I am so grateful for the support from the SACCO, but I wish if the amount of loan increased my dream is to proceed into cattle fattening which will bring me much profit. Since one of my daughters took the national examination that is given to enter university; In case she did not get the point to join a government university I really want to put her in a private university. The fee will be costing a lot so I want to be the one who pays for it without bothering my husband about it. Since my husband and most of the other men in the area still have an attitude of women do not need to learn that much he won’t agree if I raised the issue unless I am paying for it.”
I took a loan of 8400 ETB and I profited 30,000 ETB….
is a member of SACCO, is married and is a mother of one child. Asnaku use to engage herself in selling fermented local traditional beverages called Areke and Tella for her customers in Bolo selase kebele Minjar Shenkora District. “I used to sell only Areke and Tella before taking a loan of 8400 birr from the SACCO to enhance my business. Currently, I added food provisions in addition to the beverages. Especially this time since it is a time of onion harvesting there are a lot of people who come to work, so I have a lot of customers. I used to prepare food before, but since I didn’t have enough capital it is for one or two people a day it was not profitable at all. But now I can serve customers and have earned 30,000 as a profit.’’
She is very satisfied with her visible profit within this short time as she mentioned she wants to broaden her business. more by buying a refrigerator to start selling beer since the traditional fermentation process and method of the beverage she is currently selling is very tiring. “I would be very happy if I got another loan and start selling beer since it goes well and there is a need for it in the area. The Areke and Tella fermentation is very tiring and if there is a modern way to do it I would be happy to continue but the current way is very exhausting and demands a lot of manpower.”
Her face lightens when she is asked how supportive her husband is in her business; she said, “my husband is very understanding and supportive. He is a teacher in his free time he helps me out in serving my customers as well as managing my finances. I am glad to have a husband like him.”
Finally, she said she has no words to express how grateful she is for CDF Canada and Ethio wetland support that bring a change in her life for good. What she gained from the entrepreneurship business skill training and loan is priceless.
SACCO not only helps me to get a loan but also my social life……
Senait Tadesse is a widow and a mother of three who lives in Kombolcha Kebele of Minjar Shenkora District. After the passing of her husband, initially, she used to sell Areke, which is the traditional fermented beverage that is widely consumed in the area. “It has been 6 years since my husband passed away. He was very strict and never allowed me to go out and socialize with people in critical times, such as funerals, weddings and different holidays. I was only allowed to go to the farm with him to give him a hand. I was not able to at least express myself, but after he passed away, I started to sell ‘Areke’ to support my family financially, then heard about the SACCO. After taking a loan in the first round from the SACCO, I bought 3 sheep, then in the second round loan, I sold the sheep and added the money I got from it to buy a cow and calf.”
The loan I got is life-changing I really wish people would understand more about the benefits, and I always tell how being a member of SACCO is useful to people around me. “My children are very proud of me. It has been 6 years since my husband passed away. I was very shy it was very hard for me to express my feelings since he passed away I started my Areke business since I didn’t have a formal education opportunity they are the ones helping me in managing my finances,”She added.
In the future, I wish to get more loans from SACCO to widen my business and buy more cattle that I can use for fattening. “Since we understand how SACCO is useful, we are enhancing the amount of money we save to get a better amount of loan; I am sure this will help us to achieve a lot in the future. I am so thankful for all the support CDF Canada and Ethio wetland is providing. Thank you very much.”