ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

What's all the buzz about?

Our WEEMA beekeeping cooperatives continue to grow and thrive! 

Did you know that Ethiopia is the largest producer of honey in Africa? Beekeeping is a local and centuries-old industry in Ethiopia with large potential for growth. As a part of our work to promote economic empowerment in Ethiopian communities, WEEMA began our beekeeping cooperative program in 2014 by training 70 beekeepers in modern beekeeping methods.

Today, WEEMA beekeeping cooperatives continue to provide a sustainable source of income to families in Ethiopia. One co-op received over six acres of land and is in the process of building new infrastructure to expand their honey production. We celebrate the success of our program and our recent land grant from the local government!

Books in the hands of moms, babies and toddlers!

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Research has shown that early exposure to books shared with a loving caregiver creates the foundation for successful reading!

WEEMA International, in partnership with Reach Out and Read, is piloting an innovative program with our women's groups.  Four Self Help Groups (SHGs) each received a box of 20 different colorful board books selected with care for the local context. Each member takes home a book every week and engages with her children at home by reading together- pointing, interacting over the photos and drawings, etc. She then swaps for a new book the following week. After 20 weeks, the groups will exchange boxes with another SHG group.

The women are thrilled about this program. WEEMA will continuing working to get books in the hands of moms, babies and toddlers.

Enjoy the video below to see these books in action!

WEEMA Celebrates International Women's Day!

WEEMA staff in Ethiopia celebrated International Women’s Day with presentations promoting women’s rights.

The day’s activities were a collaborative effort of community stakeholders to end gender-based violence and to empower females. Participants ranged from students to parents to government officials of both genders.

Festivities began with a drama that focused on women's issues performed by members of the community. There also were poetry readings,  testimonials, storytelling and a presentation and tour of the new women’s menstrual hygiene and sanitation room at Saruma Primary and Middle School.  After the tour a discussion about the importance of menstrual health was held.

Growing by Working Together

Kebebush Barena is one of twenty women in the WEEMA Self Help Group Hunjenten Letneam (Growing by Working Together). Established in 2014, the group practices saving with each individual contributing three birr per week. Savings are pooled to provide microloans to members, and may also be lent to members' families for financially constraining life events.

"Before joining my group, I used to stay at home and rely on my husband’s income to support my family of seven. Since I didn’t contribute to household income, my participation in decision-making was very minimal." Kebebush explains. 

"Now, I am confident and bold enough to speak in front of any one. I have more responsibilities outside home, and understand how to better support myself."

Kebebush is one example of how WEEMA Self Help Groups empower women to create secure, sustainable futures for themselves and their families.