Image: The women of the Minogelti Rural Trading Center.
Image: US Embassy sign.
Project Title: Learn and Earn–An Integrated Approach for Hamar Self-Reliance, Wonga Bayno Kebele, Aldo and Dele Villages
Our Minotgelti Rural Trading Center pilot project was launched in 2011 with a grant from the US Ambassador’s Self Help Program as a first step toward economic self-reliance for the people of Wassemu village in the Hamar woreda 1, the first project of its kind in the South Omo Zone.
The beneficiary of this project was the community in the Wassemu village of the Minogelti kebele2 of the Hamar woreda in the SNNPR of Ethiopia.
With no local access to goods, Minogelti women had to walk 2 days to buy food and supplies. Far from their homes and relying on interpreters, rural people are routinely exploited by traders who charged them grossly inflated prices.
Without the ability to speak the national language, read, or count, how could the rural people of Minogelti run a trading center? We created an adult curriculum to teach basic literacy and numeracy skills that would support the community members in creating and running a trading center.
During our community learning process, 26 people expressed an interest in participating in the school. Of these 18 were women, who braved significant resistance of male tribal members to their involvement. The women were the key to the success of the trading center.
The trading center introduced paying jobs to the area, a new concept that for the community. And equally important, the trading center made food and supplies accessible at fair market prices for the 4,000 people who lived within a half-day walk.
This was an ambitious project in a remote area and was good demonstration of what is possible when people are motivated to help themselves. The confidence the participants gained has resulted in tangible income earning opportunity as temporary GTLI employees, assisting in hygiene and sanitation training in other remote communities.
The women, especially, now have a voice and the respect of the elders because they can speak Amharic, perform calculations, and earn money that they reinvest in their families and community.
Many other villages are requesting help to set up similar centers. It will take time and continued support of these communities to help this center and others learn to stand-alone.
|People learning skills for new income opportunities||26|
|People with access to trading center||4,000|