The women of the Wonga Bayno and Minogelti communities in the Hamar region of the South Omo Zone, Ethiopia have inspired us from the day we first met them. They work long hours to provide water and food for their families, and they want to do so much more.
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem. When all of a woman’s time and energy is spent hauling water by foot and grinding grain by hand, that is all she is valued for. Under those conditions how can she help her community climb out the endless reliance on emergency water and food aid?
In July more than 80 women registered for our adult Integrated Functional Vocational Literacy (IFVL) classes in Wonga Bayno and Minogelti. And this tremendous response from the women even though they were still walking long distances for water while waiting for their local wells to be repaired.
With our Economic Empowerment of Women projects we are helping to create and support women cooperatives that operate grinding mills and trading centers, giving all of the women in those communities more productive time.
The women in our IFVL classes are learning that they can solve problems. They are learning tangible skills to earn money and raise food, and they are gaining the confidence to advocate for themselves, their families, and their communities.
By working together these women are beginning to transform their communities.