In November one of WEEMA’s Self Help Groups (SHG), was recognized for outstanding accomplishments. The two year old group from Shapamo, Tembaro in the KT Zone is named Masino. The group's 20 women were visited during a recent meeting by local government officials who were so impressed with progress made in farming and savings and the commitment of the members that they nominated the SHG for national recognition. Masino received a trophy from Ethiopia’s Prime Minister as well as 15 hens and 10 roosters and was recognized as one of the best SHG groups in the region.
Masino is a very active group. They meet each week and exchange ideas, talk about financial challenges and solutions and plan their activities over a coffee ceremony. They have a cashier who is responsible for collecting money from members and depositing it at the bank. Group member Radia says, “[w]e learned the importance of friendship and neighborhood through this weekly [group] meeting.” With their savings the SHG bought corn seed and fertilizer and planted in the backyard of one of the members. Last year they made $160 from the corn including the sales of corn stalks. This year they are planting tomatoes in the same yard. They plant, water, and maintain the small farm independently.
The members have a newfound understanding of savings. This benefits of saving resonated with many the women in the SHG. Radia shares, “Before I was a part of this SHG group I didn’t know the importance of savings but now I save everything; not only money but everything I have. I used to ask other people to lend me some money because I never had savings before. Now I haven’t asked to borrow money for a while. My life is better now thanks to help from WEEMA.”