Each grain in a bag of rice is a symbol of nutrition, abundance, fertility and prosperity. Like each grain of rice, each MEDA donor shares your support, encouragement and giving spirit – contributing to the common goal of the project.
We’re striving to provide 10,000 farmers and weavers with more sustainable livelihoods – and we’re thankful that you were inspired to give of yourself. Thanks to you, MEDA’s EDGET project (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade) is facilitating access to growing markets, providing new technologies, enhancing production techniques and making affordable financial support services.
We want to thank you once again for your compassion and kindness towards people you’ve never met. And we’d like to offer you a glimpse of the impact you have made, with Solomon’s story. Please feel free to share it with others.
Here’s how your gift has foster Solomon’s entrepreneurial spirit:
Solomon is a processor in Ethiopia working in the small village of Menhar. He’s been collecting and selling grain to processors for 15 years.
In 2007, Solomon established his own processing business. With four employees, he processes rice, and wholesales oat and rough peas. He lives next to his business, where he uses two machines to transport and polish the rice.
Solomon supports a household of six, including his wife, who helps him with the business, two daughters, his sister and a housekeeper.
Through MEDA’s new work with Bunna International Bank, a private bank in Ethiopia, he was able to get a loan of working capital for 180,000 birr (about $10,000). Previously, Solomon had borrowed from a local microfinance institution, Amhara Credit and Savings, but their maximum loan is only 5,000 birr.
His loan from Bunna Bank enables him to buy and process in bulk, which has increased his revenue to a large extent. Solomon can collect more paddy rice by giving cash advances to 15 farmer-traders for 5,000 birr each. He is also buying processed rice and wholesaling to retailers in Addis Ababa.
Thanks to supporters like you, Solomon can compete with the other big processors in town because he has the working capital to offer immediate cash payments that attract more customers. Although he only recently got the loan, he can already see the difference it has made in terms of increased number of customers and higher revenue. As a result, he believes that making his monthly loan payments will not pose a problem. Solomon anticipates more benefit from the additional working capital and realizing the impact of the loan in his life in the near future.
EDGET Client UpdateHere’s a follow-up to the story about the Addis Alem VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) that we profiled in our last update. Watch this video of the members discussing how they learned about VSLAs, why they joined, and the benefits it provides.
New Project on GlobalGiving!Family is first. This includes being able to support them. Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes) allows 20 agriculture input suppliers in Peru and Nicaragua to better reach 5,000 small farmers, enabling them to increase yields and gain new income opportunities. As a result, their household members – over 20,000 people – will benefit. New technology means farming businesses can grow. Techno-Links creates more sustainable livelihoods for suppliers and farmer families. To learn about our new project, Forging Links for 5k Farmers in Peru & Nicaragua, please visit www.forginglinks.org.
From all of us at MEDA, THANK YOU for your continued support of our work – we couldn’t have the impact we have without people like you. Through your generosity, 10,000 farmers and weavers like Solomon can continue to improve their crops and goods, connect with urban markets, increase their profits, and participate in the broader benefits of national economic growth. With an average of five people per household, EDGET is bringing new hope and opportunities to 50,000 lives.
If you’d like more information, visit our website www.meda.org or email email@example.com. To renew your support, you can donate by giving us a call at 1-800-665-7026, or go to www.weavingrowth.com.
Stay informed about MEDA’s work. Follow us on: Twitter - @medadotorg Facebook – MEDA Pinterest – MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) Google+ - MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) Website - www.meda.org
Isn’t it exciting to see the difference you have made in the lives of budding Ethiopian entrepreneurs? We are so thankful to you for choosing to make their dreams a reality – helping them to create a stronger future for their families!
In the rural areas of Amhara, rice farmers live a hand-to-mouth existence. Having enough money to afford needed supplies for farming and school and household expenditures, particularly before harvest time, is a big challenge. Farmers are often forced to sell rice during harvest season when prices are low, which endangers their livelihood and hinders their income potential. As many farmers had not learned good savings habits, any surplus income earned from their harvest was often squandered at the local Saturday market. This was the previous experience of one group of 13 rice farmers who, with the assistance of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and the support of generous donors like you, formed a group known as Addis Alem Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA).
How MEDA helped Gizaw (first member on the right), a rice farmer, received MEDA's training on the benefits of saving and how to form a VSLA within his community. The training covered topics on saving, credit, managing risk, and resolving conflict. MEDA also provided Gizaw with the necessary materials to start saving, which included a savings box with two locks, 13 passbooks, four plastic plates, and a bookkeeping ledger.
Addis Alem VSLA Gizaw recognized that his lack of savings made he and his family vulnerable – and that others in his community could benefit from saving, too, so he established the Addis Alem VSLA. In Amharic, Addis Alem means "new world," or "appreciating what new thing you have," which reflects Gizaw's change in mindset towards saving. He shared with members what he had learned about saving and VSLA practices. They agreed to each save three birr weekly (about 16 cents), plus one birr a week for their social fund. Their savings provides small loans to members and investment, while the social fund is used for emergency purposes. After one year of weekly saving, Addis Alem accumulated 2000 birr in regular savings and 547 birr in the social fund. Unlocking Entrepreneurship The savings group decided to invest 2000 birr from their savings into two plots of land. They planted rice and expect the harvest to earn 15,000 birr, including next year's collected savings. Addis Alem plans to store the rice for up to six months and sell the crop when rice prices have risen. These farmers are confident theycan store their rice because the risk is shared by the group and this venture offers an additional stream of income. Previously, members never stored rice because they required cash for monthly expenses. Addis Alem's investment overcomes the frequent need for cash by using regular group savings to support costs. In addition, members have realized other benefits from group saving. They have seen a reduction in community disputes, better social life, and a renewed interest in microfinance institutions.
"We care for each other. If a member gives birth or is sick, we will use money from the social fund." – Addisie, VSLA Secretary "We benefited remarkably from Addis Alem. We understand that our livelihood is dependent on agriculture and there are risks associated with nature such as hail and flood. In such cases, we can take out our savings and use it for household consumption. Without VSLA, there would be no way for us to pay for our living expenses." – Alamrew, VSLA Member (third member from the right)
Building Resilient Livelihoods The most enduring impact of Addis Alem is how it has changed the group’s perception of saving. Before VSLA, members never saved, but now each member understands the importance and necessity of saving. The farmers have seen how saving positively affects their farm, family and future, so the group plans to continue saving and investing in the coming years, for the benefit of future generations:
"In the future, we hope to increase our rice production and own milling equipment so that when our children grow up, they will have something to develop our business with. Our children will see how we saved and they will learn from our experiences and be able to expand our business further."
Sustainable and Replicable Impact Addis Alem demonstrates how Ethiopian farmers can build group trust and combine resources to save and invest productively. Since Addis Alem is self-managed, members will continue to save and invest in the years to come, long after MEDA’s work there is done. MEDA has replicated the VSLA model by forming 50 VSLAs in one year. The rapid establishment of VSLAs can be attributed to MEDA's simple, non-bureaucratic and low cost approach to forming savings groups. MEDA's involvement ends after one year, and 98% of VSLAs have agreed to continue saving autonomously, ensuring sustainable impact. Through MEDA's intervention, VSLAs can form quickly, establish trust, build savings habits, and ultimately strengthen income potential and develop resilient livelihoods.
From all of us at MEDA, THANK YOU for your continued support of the EDGET project (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade). Through your generosity, 10,000 farmers and weavers like Gisaw and the members of the Addis Alem VSLA can access growing urban markets, use new technologies and advanced production techniques to improve their product, and receive affordable financial support services to participate in Ethiopia’s economy.
If you’d like more information, visit our website www.meda.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To renew your support, you can donate by giving us a call at 1-800-665-7026
Stay informed about MEDA’s work. Follow us on:Twitter - @medadotorgFacebook - MEDAPinterest – MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)Google+ - MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)Website - www.meda.org
You’ve made a huge impact in the lives of Ethiopian entrepreneurs wanting to create a stronger future for their families. We are so thankful to you for choosing to help fulfill their dreams!
Entering the holiday season, we all have many things to be thankful for – whether it be friends, family, good health, employment, or basic necessities. However, not everyone in our world is as blessed.
As you already know, in Ethiopia, men and women struggle to find employment and a steady income. One in three Ethiopians live below the poverty line and almost half the population is malnourished. Unable to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, water, and shelter, parents struggle to create a better life for their children.
That’s why we want to say THANK YOU for making the EDGET project (Ethiopians Driving Growth through Entrepreneurship and Trade) possible. You have helped to provide 10,000 farmers and weavers create more sustainable livelihoods by facilitating access to growing markets, new technologies, affordable financial support services, and enhanced production techniques.
Here’s how your donation has helped Fenta and Solomon make a fresh start:
Meet Fenta, a female farmerFenta Zeleke, a 45-year-old mother of three, tends an acre of land in northern Ethiopia. Extreme weather conditions have decreased crop productivity in the area, so Fenta’s yields aren’t sufficient to feed her family. Through EDGET, she received training and agricultural coaching for an improved seed variety. For the first time, Fenta had a surplus to sell in the market, earning her $167. She used the money to fulfill her dream of buying a bull. With support from EDGET, she wants to increase her land and buy another bull so she can cultivate her land with her own oxen and end her long-time dependence on neighbors and relatives.
Meet Solomon, a male weaverSolomon Chamo began weaving as a child after growing up watching his father’s skilled practice. Until he joined EDGET, Solomon’s weaving was only earning him a small income for his family. After training in financial management, he feels more confident about managing his money and has started saving for future purchases. “Now I’m able to provide for my family’s daily food needs,” Solomon says. “Before the project, I could only feed my family two times a day, now we can eat three times a day. I’ve started to provide for my daughter in a way that gives me pride…clothing, improved food, and items to keep her clean.”
This fall, an intern with EDGET produced a video of another success story with a rice farmer. We know you will be touched by the happiness he has realized by learning new farming techniques that yield stronger crops.
Have you wondered how we truly help farmers and weavers discover new livelihoods for their families? Check out this infographic to learn how we strengthen the value chains between producers and their markets.
With MEDA’s assistance, Ethiopian rice and textile producers will continue to improve their crops and goods, connect with urban markets, increase their profits, and participate in the broader benefits of national economic growth. With an average of five people per household, EDGET will bring positive change and new hope to 50,000 lives.
Thank you once again for your generous donation to the EDGET project. If you’d like more information, visit our website www.meda.org or email email@example.com.
You’ve made a difference in the lives of families struggling to support themselves. We are grateful to you for opening your heart to those in need.
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