In rural Ethiopia, the most vulnerable members of the community are women and children. While their well-being is specifically targeted by our clean water projects, there is more than can be done to increase the ability of women to play a full role in decision-making and in the economic life. Increasing women's capacity to earn income and giving them knowledge and tools that can increase their self-confidence are powerful ways of improving the status of women and influencing the whole community
Historically girls have not been sent to school and instead have had the arduous responsibility of daily collecting water as well as other domestic jobs. After HOPE completes the water project in Kalebo Laka, girls now have the possibility to attend school but for women who never had the opportunity, their earning and decision-making potential within their families and community remains uncertain. Self Help Groups (SHGs) are a proved method of helping women to help one another.
Forming Self Help Groups (SHGs) is a powerful way to encourage women. Working together with their neighbours and friends, women can learn new skills, help one another improve their lives, and start or expand small farm businesses (such as home gardens or raising animals). Vitally they also learn to save money weekly. In Ethiopia and around the world, HOPE has seen women enter self-help groups fearful, without skills or support, and with time become confident businesswomen.
The income generated from the SHG businesses will help women and their children to access basic needs for normal physical, social and intellectual development. This will boost the local economy in this rural area of Ethiopia and will have lasting and on-going effects for their community. Importantly the increased financial and business capacity (and experience) these 200 women will have will provide a positive model for their children and will therefore positively influence future generations.