Income Generation for 5,000 Poor Ethiopian Women

by Pathfinder International
Feb 6, 2011

New IGA beneficiaries - thanks to you!





In Ethiopia, as a result of traditionally constructed gender roles, a stereotyped gender division of labor between men and women places women and girls in a subordinate position in society. The lack of access to and control over resources as prescribed by culture and tradition has forced females to disproportionately bear the burden of poverty, thus making them economically dependent on men and powerless to make decisions related to their human and reproductive rights. Women’s low social standing subjects them to various types of gender based violence, thus increasing their vulnerability and risk of poor health.

The low social and economic status of women and girls is a fundamental factor in maternal mortality. Low social status limits women’s access to education and good nutrition as well as the economic resources required to cover the cost of health and family planning services. For most women, employment choices are extremely limited due to various gender-based factors. Many women have come to rely on commercial sex as a means of sustaining their families. Abandoned women too often turn to urban prostitution as a means of economic relief, which rarely achieves this goal. Moreover, the low status of girls and women in Addis Ababa has forced many to dropout from schools. As a result, most women and families in this city, particularly mothers and female-headed households (FHH), are living below the poverty line.

Violence against women may be both cause and consequence of women’s low social and economic status. Women and girls are made more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, disease, and unwanted pregnancy as a result of sexual and gender-based violence, physical and psychological abuse, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, early marriage, abduction, and rape, all of which are major acts that violate their human rights.

Through Global Giving funds, the Addis Ababa Women’s Association is helping economically poor and vulnerable women in Addis Ababa to implement income-generating activities (IGA) Under the Association’s programs, the IGA beneficiaries are offered reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) services and training as well as trainings on gender based violence and harmful traditional practices. Women chosen to participate in this program are visited frequently by program and management staff for encouragement and advice.


Through the generous Global Giving donations, ten economically vulnerable women, selected from Yeka sub city, were offered business management training and a seed grant of 1500.00 Birr each (USD $90). The stories of three beneficiaries are highlighted in this report.

As a result of Global Giving funds, women are organized into cooperative groups, allowing them to benefit from district government microfinance enterprise support provided for women organized in cooperative groups. The following are some of the benefits they reap:

  • The beneficiaries have legal status;
  • The beneficiaries benefit from the capacity building trainings offered by the district Microfinance office;
  • The beneficiaries have the right to access loan service if they wish to expand their business;
  • They are accountable to and monitored by the district microfinance office on their progress.

In addition to the business management training and seed grant provision, the beneficiaries are provided with a working house suitable to their business – producing food commodities in the cooperative.

 Yeshwamebrat Kassa, Gulele sub city, Kebele

Yeshawamebrat‘s husband died leaving her behind with three children and no means of income. Although she had a work place and experience in pottery, she was unable to work without seed funds. Instead she worked as a house maid washing clothes to earn living. This was also difficult for her as she is HIV positive. Yeshawamebrat was selected as an IGA beneficiary as a result of her hardships and entrepreneurial promise.

Yeshawamebrat is currently working hard collecting clay, cow dung, mud and other raw materials for her work place. She produces various types of popular new handicrafts. She produced a new design iron (cloth ironing equipment) made of clay that attracted the attention of many. For this design, she received an award from the sub city administration for being a model business woman.

Abaynesh Tolla, Arad sub city, Kebele

Her husband died leaving her with 5 children and without a means of income. Life was very dark and difficult for her. Abaynesh is now a beneficiary of the Global Giving fund and her life has changed dramatically.

Her children are attending school and as she says “they do not have food problem thanks to the business and I know how to operate it.” She also pays her house rent, utilities, and electricity costs in a timely manner.

Abaynesh is known for her delightful and charming face by her customers which attract many customers.

Simegene Tadesse, Nifasilk lafto sub city, Kebele

Her husband died leaving her with their three children and without a means of income.

Following the Global Giving IGA assistance, Simegene is engaged in a small tea and food shop in a house offered to her by the association.

In addition to sending her children to school, paying house rent, utilities and electric costs, she also has funds for savings. She says, “I do not want to beg from others if any of my children get sick or…. Thanks to the IGA, I have money now” she says with a charming face. She has many customers working at construction sites.


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Organization Information

Pathfinder International

Location: Watertown, MA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Caitlin Corneliess
Institutional Giving Officer
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Funded Project!

Thanks to 237 donors like you, a total of $21,225 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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