Sheep: Helping Women Become Role-Models in their Community
Women in Were Jarso district, Ethiopia have improved their household incomes, increased their asset building capacity and have become empowered role models for their children and community.
Through a sheep micro-credit project, fifteen women in the Abo Yayebena kebele, or village, were organized into a collective in which they received training on sheep husbandry and forage management as well, they were given a small loan. With the loan they were each able to purchase three sheep in the local market. Each woman is required to repay 25% of the price of the sheep to the group to save money into a group fund. The women can later borrow from the fund with interest. Thanks to the interest the fund grows as the loans are repaid.
W/ro* Bogalech Ayalew was one of the fifteen women, from her village, selected to receive the loan. W/ro Bogalech is 20 years old and living with her mother until recently when she got married. She is from a poor farming family. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have land of her own and was unable to make a living for herself. She had to work as a labourer earning less than $1 CDN a day.
W/ro Bogalech’s three sheep eventually grew to ten! She sold two of them in the local market and keeps the remaining eight females for rearing. She used the money, from the sale of her sheep, to buy much needed household utilities and put the rest away for unforeseen expenses.
“My status has improved in the community. I have begun to feel confidence and a sense of power as a woman. The sheep are turning the poor, in my village, into rich, healthy people. More livestock equals more respect,” said w/ro Bogalech.
*W/ro is a sign of respect for women in Ethiopia and is always put in front of the first name.