Empowering women is one of the focus areas of New Bright. The social and economic empowerment program funded by Plan International Ethiopia targeted disadvantaged women who can change themselves after they got the support. We are grateful for the generous support from plan International. The following story shows how the support positively impacted women's lives in the program.
The afternoon heat was intense during the day when the group meets one of the women at her place. Megertu was busy with the preparation of some food items, with due assistance of a young woman from her neighborhood. The tiny house she lives in is filled with household items and is packed with various spice ingredients, giving combined unexplainable a tomato the surrounding.
Megertu is 45 years old and lives with her four children in the project area. Two of them have now joined higher education. She raised her children all alone as a single mother and has gone through tough times in the past.WVL partnership project located to the north of the capital Addis Ababa implemented at an area particularly known as ‘Shiro-meda’, brought an opportunity to her, which she considers a turning point for changed attitude and action.
Prior to the project, for nearly ten years, Megertu has been striving to support her family by selling "injera" in the village, however, due to a lack of business skills and know-how, she was not able to succeed, due to her unplanned cash spending from sells, on the day to day needs of the family, that left her without having saving capital, which eventually led her to bankruptcy. For this reason, she was forced to engage in daily labor activities to earn an income and sustain her family.
Megertu tells that she would have a larger business establishment by now, had it been possible for her to gain such empowering training and motivation from projects like WVL. She always regrets when she thinks of those days she sweated day and night, without clear vision and plan when her only concern was covering the daily expenses of the family. She was not skillful enough in managing the resources at her hand.
Megertu has now completely changed after she took the empowerment training of the WVL project for five consecutive days. She tells that the training session was an area boosting her life, which helped her to look into herself and evaluate the long-struggling journey she has gone through. On the other hand, she tells the project enabled her also, to be filled with loads of internal motivation and hoped for sustained self-improvement.
The positive energy she gained from the empowerment session pushed her also to immediately become creative and started scanning her environment for opportunities for income generation. Accordingly, she decided to make use of the trainees’ allowance she received upon the completion oftheproject’sBBStrainingsession, to buy fifteen litters of liquid soap, and retail it in different quantities to potential customers in her village and neighborhood. She got acceptance and succeeded in gaining good returns from the activity, and kept on reselling liquid soaps in her area. This was her self-initiative, before her placement into start-up support by the project.
Megertu now expanded her business by engaging in food items and food ingredient retail businesses, commonly known as“baltina”.She now has registered progress in her savings and increased income. She now has better skills in cash management and a reduced borrowing trend.
Megertu has now the peace of mind and gained internal satisfaction, on top of being a confident and forward-looking woman. She opts for expandingher business using her own separate workplace. For this, she is now empowered to consistently obey local authorities, regarding her rights and demands, in getting business shelter sat the area.