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Investing in women for change

Kazina, a 27-year-old mother of four, lives with her family on a small farmstead in rural Jimma. Like most of the women in her village, she was married as a teenager before she had the chance to finish school. Without an education and the skills to earn a living, breaking free of poverty has been an insurmountable challenge – until now.

Thanks to community sponsors like you, Kazina became a founding member of a new Savings and Loans group. But this group did more than provide financial services to members – it also provided training in agricultural practices. Kazina is one of many members who used that opportunity to increase her farm’s productivity and her family’s income and savings.

“Before, it was very hard for any of our families to grow enough to feed ourselves for the whole year,” she said. “But then, last year we all saved up and bought better quality seeds and fertilizer. Now we are producing enough food for our families and have enough left over to take to market.”

With a small beekeeping operation, and crops that include maize, sorghum, peppers, beetroot and spinach, Kazina is not only providing a more healthy and diverse diet for her family. She is also bringing in a vitally-needed income so that her children can go to school and get medical care when needed.

By connecting through Savings and Loans groups, women like Kazina are coming together to pool their talents and resources to the benefit of everyone.

“There are many advantages,” says Bultu, another member and neighbour of Kazina, about being in the group, “but the most important one is the relationships.”

In addition to training members in money management and improved farming techniques, the groups provide information on early childhood care, education, and child nutrition, as well as gender and reproductive rights, so that local women are better equipped to improve their lives, and the lives of their children.

Thank you. None of this would be possible without your generosity and commitment.

Take a moment to see these changes in our latest photos from Jimma.

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