Economic opportunity for women

Economic opportunity for women

Women In Self Employment – Ethiopia, East Africa

In Ethiopia, drought, famine and chronic food shortages are commonplace and the effects of poverty leave few untouched.

Women and children are often the first victims due to their precarious economic status in the household and limited access to financial opportunity. The LÉGER FOUNDATION supports Women In Self Employment (WISE) in their microcredit and small business initiatives for women and girls in some of the poorest districts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

WISE provides women and girls engaged in home based production, small scale trading activities, as well as unemployed women with the financial tools and skills to start a business and gain greater financial autonomy. Genet Kedebe is one of 2000 women who recently benefited from the help and services WISE has to offer. After marrying, she and her husband left their village for the city of Addis Ababa in hopes of a brighter future. However, Genet was unprepared for the harsh realities of earning a living on the streets. Thanks to an initial loan of birr 500 ($70) from WISE, Genet was able to buy enough grain to start a small grain-selling business, which has been growing steadily ever since. Genet now has two employees and business assets of birr 45,000 ($2,800) with daily revenues of birr 400 ($25). What a difference!

Innovation and microcredit

That WISE has been successful in its initiatives to promote dignity and opportunity for Ethiopia’s vulnerable women and girls is thanks largely to the innovative financial measures which they have introduced there. Unlike other organizations, WISE’s microcredit strategy encourages women to form collectives and share resources, which in turn strengthens their access to more opportunities and services.

Thanks to your support, the LÉGER FOUNDATION together with WISE has assisted more than 10,000 women in the poorest areas of Addis Ababa improve their financial conditions since 1998.

This article is from the fall 2016 edition of theLÉGER FOUNDATION IN THE WORLD newsletter. To read the full version of the newsletter and discover all the documents published by the LÉGER FOUNDATION this year, visit the Publications section of our website.

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