Hajat Ahmed is amongst thousands of enterprising Ethiopian women who have worked their way out of poverty by creating her own small-scale business.
She is a member of Yibisha Rural Savings and Credit Cooperative (RuSACCO), one of 362 local groups with more than 90,000 members, being supported by Self Help Africa in Ethiopia.
Before taking part in the project, Hajat and her family depended entirely on crop production.
She confides that she knew very little about commercially rearing poultry, but was interested, and used a small loan to buy her own chicks. After investing in her own birds, she began small-scale poultry management. At the same time, she enhanced her technical training on poultry production. Now, she is able to boost her household income by trading in poultry and eggs, and is using the funds from her business to investing in other aspect of her farm.
Along with her success came hope for the future: “I have a chance to improve our farm and to offer my children a good education. Their success is my success,” Hajat says.
The ‘RuSACCO’ project, which has been operating for the past 20 years, works to improve local access to savings and credit services for the unbanked, in rural parts of the country. In recent years the project, which has been supported over many years by the Irish League of Credit Unions Foundation (ILCUF), has focussed its efforts on strengthening the operational and management standards of existing RuSACCOs, and continue to support members, many of whom are women, to achieve self-sufficiency. The project aims to contribute to increased income, improved food security and reduced vulnerability in rural areas, as well as increased access to and use of sustainable financial services by the rural community.