So many changes: a success story

by oxfamcanada | March 8, 2013
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The coffee ceremony in Ethiopia is a long ritual in which beans are gently washed, slowly roasted, ground by hand, and brewed three times before filtering and pouring into little cups.

“We used to hold coffee ceremonies three times a day,” says Khoree Dhosa. “We reduced this to once a day to save money.”

Khoree is among women gathered to talk about improvements in their lives since joining women’s self-help groups in their neighbourhoods or kebeles. The name of her kebele is Menagesha Kolobo.   

The groups were established by Oxfam Canada’s Ethiopian partner organization HUNDEE through the Engendering Change program to reduce gender inequality.

“There have been so many changes,” says Aster Rogecha, a woman wearing a colourful striped scarf, from Gelgul kebele.  “With the distribution of heifers, women who never owned anything now have this source of wealth.”  

Aster contributes nearly $10 monthly to her women’s savings and credit group. It is easier to get loans from the group than from financial institutions. Interest is used to provide bigger loans and to help women in emergencies.

Grandmother Tsige Desefe, for example, received help for her sick grandchildren.  “My daughter had HIV and died. Two of her three children were seriously sick. This was the second time I got medical coverage from my group members.”

Thanks to literacy training, Aster can keep track of her savings. “Apart from writing our names, learning numbers has helped us record what we’ve saved,” she says. “The program is action oriented. We have 68 women who have literacy certificates. This is one of the signs of progress.”

Workinesh Hordoza says women plan to open a cereal shop in Gelgul.  “We want to help children from other families to attend school,” she says. “We want also to help aged people who have no social support.”

HUNDEE Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative is a partner organization in Oxfam Canada’s Engendering Change Program. The main objective of Engendering Change is to reduce gender inequality by increasing the ability of southern partners in Ethiopia and other countries to deliver tangible improvements in the lives of women in food security, rural livelihoods, HIV/AIDS reduction and freedom from violence; and to empower women to actively advance women’s democratic rights.


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