Zewditu Tona and her husband Bafa Enaro are farmers living in Sodo Zuria, Ethiopia. Zewditu's father-in-law owns the land and helps out with the children while she and her husband farm. Zewditu cultivates potato, banana, cabbage and tomato, and uses organic compost to help fertilize the crops. They have 4 children ages 13, 10, 7, and 3; the three oldest attend school. Zewditu and her husband previously had trouble paying for their children's school uniforms and putting food on the table, but now they are able to plan for the future.
Similar to other parts of the Amhara region in Ethiopia, farmers in Libo Kemkem district struggle to make ends meet partly due to a lack of habit around savings. The seasonal nature of income, added to local perceptions of saving money has hindered farmers' economic wellbeing and resistance to economic or agricultural shocks.
42-year old Bilew is a farmer who lives in the Fogera district of Shaga kebele, Ethiopia, in a village called "Guaya-midere". He is married with 4 children and owns 1.5 ha of land which he inherited from his family. He has been cultivating rice since 1999 and in addition to his own land, Bilew sometimes leases 0.25-0.5 ha of land for cultivation of crops like rice, rough pea, sunflower, chick peas, and teff.
"My name is Shacha Gufa and I am an E-Face MEDA client. I live in the Sodo Town woreda of Hibret Kebele with my wife and five children. With the exception of my eight-month old baby, all my children attend school. My wife works outside of the home as a coffee trader to help supplement our family's income. To help improve my family's financial situation, I joined E-FACE in 2012 as one of the first project clients. Under this project, I became a member of my kebele's Village Savings Lending Association (VSLA). It has been almost one year since the inception of my VSLA group and my life has changed drastically since that time. Being a part of the VSLA allowed me to start saving my money and it gave me access to services that helped me improve my income. Most importantly, my VSLA group brought me together with a network of people who are eager to better our community.
Nidia and her family had problems with disease in their plantains, which meant little income due to poor quality. The plantain had no resistance to the black weevil and black sigatoka disease.
"My name is Fatima and I am 28 years old. I am married and have three children and live in Midelt, a small town in central Morocco.
"I live with my family in a household composed of eight family members. In order to meet the needs of my family, I decided to create a small business with my sister-in-law.
Youness Ouzzine, 28, studied in a vocational training center after high school and got his diploma as a drafting technician for construction. Youness lives with his brother and mother in a village called Ain Cheggag, near Fes.
"The three-day training in financial education and entrepreneurship offered by ARDI in partnership with MEDA Maroc was really important to all the youth who benefited from it in this rural, neglected village. The training helped me to learn about budgeting, saving and how to start my own business," said Youness.
Now in his late twenties, Abderrazak Elghoudani left high school in order to work and help his family. He lives with his parents and his wife in Biougra, a village near Agadir in southern Morocco. When he was interviewed, Abderrazak and his wife were expecting a baby.
Nezha Bensaki, 27, left secondary school in order to help her family. She lives with her mother and five siblings."The idea of opening a hair salon started when my mother fell ill and we find ourselves with no one to take care of us financially. I was obliged to leave high school and went to study hairdressing in Meknes (a big city in eastern-central Morocco) for 2 years. After the training, I worked at home and started to be known in Boumia (remote village in the eastern Morocco)."
In the small village of Goima, 30 km from the nearest town, in Dodoma Region, Mr. Abtwalib R. Dinya serves the many villagers that enter his small shop. As one of the few retailers in his village, Mr. Dinya stocks his shop with everything from toys for kids, to salt and sugar, to lotion and soap. While these goods do provide for the needs of his community, what he enjoys most of all is his involvement in the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS) through his sales of LLIN bed nets.
At the time of meeting Mr. Dinya, he explained that he had owned his shop for many years however his involvement in the Hati Punguzo program began in 2007 when he signed up to be a TNVS retailer. Mr. Dinya expressed that the net business was extremely motivating for him because he felt he was able to support and give back to his community in a meaningful way.
As early as 7am on any given day, Terry Simaanya can be found at his red shipping container located at the bustling mini-bus station and market of Chipata compound in Lusaka. The container is overflowing with crates of Coke, Fanta and Sprite.
With a disarming smile that easily compensates for the bleak weather outside, he hastily organizes his micro-distribution centre (MDC) to ensure easy visibility of the wide assortment of Coca Cola products received the previous evening.
In the Nyumba Yanga community on the other side of the city, 55 year old Godfrey Mulenga could never be more proud of his association with the Coca Cola brand.
Like many other distributers, he starts his day early and often serves his customers until it gets dark. "The local bottling company has given me a good life," he says, heaping praises at the local Coke supplier. "You can say I am where I am today because of Coca Cola. I am happy to have built something from the ground up which has helped me to educate my children. Right now I have a son in university and I hope that he will come out and help me to make this bigger" he says, gesturing a reverse hug. He notes that two of his other children have also completed tertiary education, both benefitting from the proceeds of his micro distribution centre (MDC) business.
Albert Chilale, a 60-year-old cotton farmer, lives with his wife Ronna Timona in and his family of 16 Choma, Zambia.
Last year, the couple grew 4 hectares of cotton on their 12 hectares of total land that the family has under cultivation. Albert embraced the offer of receiving his cotton payment in vouchers from Dunavant, a cotton buying company in Zambia.
This opportunity was made possible for Albert with the help of MEDA's Techno-Links project partner Zoona, a company that offers an electronic mobile phone-based voucher program for credit, savings, money transfers and payment services in four rural communities in Zambia.
Tekalegn Zergaw moved from SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, Ethiopia) to the capital of Addis Ababa to improve his income and to help his family.
He stayed on in Addis and has been weaving to support his family from a distance as the sole source of income for 17 years. He recently returned to Chencha and received technical assistance through MEDA's EDGET project as a member of the Behibret Enamelet Weaving Cooperative.
High-End Designer Enhanced Weavers' Capacity to Engage in High Quality-Bulk Production
Chencha, one of the districts in Gamo Gofa Zone, is traditional hub of weaving where many skilled weavers reside. However, market opportunity is a challenge due to Chencha's remote location, 500km from Addis Ababa. Typical traditional and low quality fabrics are not woven with good quality inputs and are sold at low prices. Traders set prices and weavers have limited capacity to negotiate and trade.
Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), with nearly 60 years of globalexperience in business solution to poverty has been implementing a project named Ethiopians Driving Growth, Entrepreneurship and Trade (EDGET), linking weavers to high value markets.