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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Mothers working together towards self-reliance

Today, 6,300 people in Yella, southern Ethiopia have clean water to drink, right in their community:

Children are no longer becoming sick or dying because of the water they drink. Gone are the 4-hour treks mothers and children made every day in search of water, most of which was disease-laden and potentially deadly. The risk of injury mothers faced from carrying 22 kilograms of water on their backs across rocky paths, is also gone.

Yet right now, many mothers in Yella are facing a challenge that threatens to stop their journey out of poverty.

Yes, the mothers of Yella have clean water. But while clean water is crucial, it’s just the first step towards self-reliance.

Having clean water solves the problem of waterborne diseases damaging the health of the community and taking lives. But clean water alone can’t solve the challenge of mothers not having enough income to care for their families.

Mothers in communities where friends of HOPE International Development Agency have given to establish women’s self-help groups are well on their way to becoming self-reliant and free from poverty.

Meseleah, a 33-year old mother in Yella, is a wonderful example of what happens when the kind of help you can provide arrives at the right time.

Support from friends of HOPE made it possible for Meseleah and 19 of her friends and neighbours to start a women’s self-help group, facilitated by a local leader in their community.

“Being part of a women’s self-help group has really benefited me and my children,” says Meseleah.

Meseleah and her group achieved success because they learned to save money, create and manage small businesses, and most importantly, work together to solve the problems of poverty in their community. Meseleah’s group created sustainable incomes by weaving traditional clothing to sell at the local market. Recently Meseleah took a small loan from her group’s shared loan fund and bought a milk cow. The milk Meseleah sells at the local market, along with profits from the sale of weaved clothing, supports a sustainable livelihood Meseleah has created to feed, clothe, and educate her children.

There are mothers who have not yet received the help that transformed Meseleah and her family. A woman’s self-help group of 15 - 20 women costs $125 per woman. A gift of $125 covers the cost of training, support, and the establishment of a group loan fund that a mother can access to establish a small business that will generate a sustainable livelihood for her family.

Women’s self-help groups, and the mothers who participate in the groups, become self-reliant.

Each time a mother takes a modest loan to establish a small business to support her family, she pays an affordable amount of interest, along with the loan amount, back to her group, growing the loan fund. The more a mother puts into savings, the more she can borrow to expand her business and create even more income. The value women place on supporting each other and working together is evident in the loan repayment rate, which is 100% for groups previously established.

Help a mother in Ethiopia become self-reliant.