|One of the most successful recent savings and credit co-operative enterprises to have been supported by Self Help Africa has been the Buee women’s co-operative - an enterprise established by ten local women in the Eastern Shoa district to manufacture improved cooking stoves for rural households.|
Using a Government design which was devised to answer needs for a greater degree of fuel efficiency and to improve the levels of hygiene in Ethiopia’s indigenous circular straw-roofed ‘tukul’ homes, the local women’s group sold more than 500 of their new stoves within a matter of months when they first established their business.
And the demand shows no sign of slowing down – with their business thriving, and a group of women in a neighbouring district following their lead with the establishment of a similar enterprise to meet the demand for cooking stoves in their locality.
Women’s Development Officer with Self Help Africa in the Sodo Project area Misrak Admasu says that the women were initially stunned by the success of their efforts, but now recognise that they have a viable business enterprise on their hands, and are using the profits from the enterprise to improve the lives of their families in other ways.
‘Several of them have bought poultry and livestock with the profits, and others have realised that they are now in a position to send their children to school for the very first time’, she said.
The group initially borrowed a total of just 350 birr (€35) as their business start up loan from the SACCO, but are now generating almost twice that each month from their efforts.
Misrak Admasu says that the stoves have been popular for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they are far more fuel efficient than the alternative.
‘Rural Ethiopian women traditionally spend a lot of their time each day gathering firewood just to be able to cook – these stoves save them a lot of time because they burn far more efficiently, not to mention the fact that the rate at which trees need to be felled is reduced, and there is also a reduction in the amount of smoke generated in the home – and thus in respiratory infections in the household’.
Self Help Africa in Ethiopia
|Self Help Africa began working in Ethiopia in the mid-1980s, and the organisation's model for integrated rural development programmes was first developed in the country.|
The organisation is currently engaged in implementing a series of area based programmes, and measures to build capacity at regional level, so that communities can improve their lives and the living standards and conditions of their people.