women's empowerment

International Women's Day


This International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate women everywhere by announcing WEEMA’s new project, Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management in Kembata Tembaro Zone for School Girls at Saruma Primary and Middle School.

Due to cultural norms, menstruation is not openly discussed or well understood, so girls tend to endure challenges in silence. Without access to sanitary pads, many girls often have no choice but to use rag clothes or other unsanitary alternatives. Besides the discomfort and risk of infection from using rags, girls are also afraid of embarrassment from an accident if using a rag while at school. 

In Saruma, as in many similar rural schools, menstruation is a common reason for school absenteeism and even school drop out.

This project aims to change mindsets of girls, boys and parents concerning menstrual health. WEEMA will teach about menstruation health and hygiene management (MHHM) in order to break stigmas and keep girls in school. We will also distribute MHHM kits produced by Studio Samuel Foundation.

These kits include:

  • soap
  • underwear
  • a washcloth
  • two reusable pads
  • plastic bag

Studio Samuel is an NGO whose life skills training  includes teaching girls to sew high quality reusable pads using locally sourced materials through peer-to-peer learning. You can learn more about them here.

In the true spirit of women’s empowerment, WEEMA and the school will organize to show the school girls short videos and stories of successful women in leadership.

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.