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"Before we were in darkness, but now we are in light"

The Obsitu Village Loans and Savings Group in the Tullo woreda, Ethiopia. Masho is second from left. The Obsitu Village Loans and Savings Group in the Tullo woreda, Ethiopia. Masho is second from left.

In West Haraghe, Ethiopia, Masho Girma is working alongside Farm Africa to transform the lives of the women in her community.

Masho used to struggle to grow enough food for her family on their small plot of land. Despite working hard, Masho and her husband were only able to grow enough food for two months of each year. And so when she heard that there was a Farm Africa project starting nearby to her home, Masho knew it was the chance she’d been waiting for to transform her family’s lives.

Masho GirmaMasho went to her neighbours and told them how their fortunes could be changed by joining the project. After forming the Obitsu Village Savings and Loans Group, they received training on savings, basic business skills and livestock management. Masho quickly put into practice her new skills, using a loan from the group to establish a small business trading crops. She soon repaid her debts to the group and as her business grew, Masho was able to feed her children three meals each day and send each of them to school.

And not only has the project transformed the family’s daily lives, but Masho has also seen the group members’ confidence grow as a result of their new financial independence. She told us: “Before it was hard to express our opinions to men. We couldn’t even speak to people because we were shy and didn’t know our rights. Now we are equal.”

Not only is Masho now growing a better future for her family, she has also helped the women of her community to realise their potential – and build a better future for their families. She told us: “Now we have access to savings and loans we can improve our lives.”