A path to change in Ethiopia: A success story
Momina is 33. She and her husband, Babayo Badhaso, and seven children live in Wilicho Boramo, Kombolcha District in north central Ethiopia. The family’s crops and small livestock were depleted by cyclical floods and droughts. Their income was so low that they suffered malnutrition. They could not afford to send the children to school.
Momina felt limited to traditional roles, spending most days collecting firewood, fetching water from great distances, taking grain to a mill house, child care, food preparation, laundry and housekeeping.
Thanks to awareness workshops and training in small business and risk management provided by Oxfam partner Service Ethiopia Development Association (SEDA) through the Engendering Change program, Momina asserted herself as family breadwinner.
“The first measure I took was discussing with my husband the fact that I can do productive work by myself and that I could contribute to the family income and the building of assets for our family’s well-being,” she says.
Her husband agreed to her plan in 2010 to borrow $60 from an Oxfam loan fund for members of a “women’s economic empowerment” support group in her village.
“It was my first great victory and the beginning of my participation in productive work outside my home!” says Momina. “It was the beginning of my confidence at having a decision-making role at home.”
Momina started a store to sell grain and bought two female goats for breeding. In a year and a half, she had seven goats and sold two to repay her loan. She took out a larger loan and joined 28 other women to form a savings system called Wijo.
Each member contributes 50 ETB ($ 3.00) every two weeks and takes turns receiving the total amount, about $164, to make larger investments. Momina contributes and receives money for both herself and her young daughter, Ansha. When her turn comes, she will invest in business improvements.
Now, all seven of her children are in school. The family has five goats for breeding and milking and another five for resale. She bought a second ox for ploughing the land and has built a bigger, stronger house with a corrugated iron roof. In preparation for natural disasters, Momina saves some farm products between harvests and stockpiles byproducts for livestock feed.
Her family now is aware of ways to protect their environment such as using an efficient cooking stove, planting trees, water management, and they have been mobilizing other community members to get involved in this year’s “Environmental Conservation Activities Campaign.”
Momina’s husband now thinks differently about the role of women and is thankful for the growth and changes his family has experienced since the start of the partnership project of Oxfam/SEDA.
Momina wants to help others experience similar changes in their lives.
“I know my community gives me more respect and dignity because some people started to ask me for advice especially when they want to start business. I am now frequently invited for many social events unlike before and people have started to give me money in credit and lend me materials without any hesitation when I am in need. This means they have developed trust and confidence in me. I feel that now, society recognizes me as a human being and for what I can do and achieve as a woman. It is a big change, and dignifying for me, but also my daughters and for the other women within the community. I want to help them get to the same place I have now.”
Thanks to Momina Anota for telling the story of how her life was improved as a result of the support of Oxfam Canada and Ethiopian partner organization SEDA, through the Engendering Change program. The goal of Engendering Change, co-funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, is to deliver tangible improvements in the lives of women and to increase their capacity to promote and defend their rights.
To support more programs like this, please donate to Oxfam Canada.