New Businesswoman Generates Income to Provide for Her Family

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Kibe Guta is a 28-year-old woman participating in Jaldu Epicenter’s Microfinance Program (MFP), a program recently recognized as an official saving and credit cooperative (SACCO or Rural Bank) by the Ethiopian government. Kibe joined the MFP in 2006 with a vision of ending hunger and poverty for her family. She is married and has three children – a girl and two boys. Her daughter, the oldest of her children, is eight years old and currently attends first grade at a local primary school.

The MFP has empowered Kibe to excel in a diverse selection of income-generating activities (IGAs) that improve the quality of life for her and her family.

“The IGA workshops and saving and credit management trainings helped me to be aware of market demand. Today I have birr 230 (about USD$13) in my savings book. All these are the result of joining the MFP of The Hunger Project (THP)-Ethiopia.

With her first round loan of birr 300 (about USD$18) in 2006, Kibe bought five sheep. After a year, her flock had grown to nine. When her repayment deadline approached, she sold four of her sheep for the funds. Because of her successful repayment, she qualified for a second round loan of birr 600 (about USD$35). With the second loan, she had continued income generation success with the cultivation of onions. At harvest time, she sold birr 1,000 (about USD$60) worth of onions and kept a portion for household consumption. From this income she made her second repayment and used the profit to support her family.

At the time of her second loan, Kibe’s husband had been absent for eight months, leaving her to care for the children alone. She is grateful to have had access to business and profit through THP-Ethiopia and the Jaldu Epicenter MFP during this time. Kibe independently supported herself and her children and, after successful repayment of her second loan, qualified for third round loan of birr 800 (about USD$48).

With her subsequent loans, Kibe continued to pursue IGAs based on market demand and profitability leading her to further onion and teff (grain) cultivation with total sales of over birr 2,700 (about USD$160). Kibe was empowered as a businesswoman and began to develop personal savings; savings that eventually allowed her to purchase a heifer and three sheep for birr 1,500 (about USD$90). Additional profits went towards clothing and shoes for her children and school materials for her daughter. Kibe’s personal farm now consists of one heifer, six sheep, two and half quintals (250 kg/550 lbs) of teff crop, enough for a year of her family’s consumption, and a portion of her onion production. She has plans to add crops and diversify her family’s diet.

“Today, I raise my head up with confidence and can exemplify the result of hard work. When I joined this program, I was thinking of the risks. But today, I don’t fear the risks and recognize the risk minimization through IGA diversification.”

In addition to profiting from IGA workshops, Kibe participates in several other trainings conducted at Jaldu Epicenter. “Family planning and environmental sanitation training helped me to improve my family life. I started using contraceptives in the form of injection three years back. With the help of my husband, I also built a pit latrine in my compound for family use four years ago.”   

Kibe, charming, healthy and hardworking, now encourages women in her community to join the MFP so that they too may support their family and avoid dependency on their husbands. “If women earn income, they really invest on their family; they do not spend outside like most of the men; they are good savers; they feel responsible for their children. Therefore, it is good to invest in women to bring about a better life of family and community.”  

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