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Bune's story

For many years, Bune Sida struggled to earn a decent living. With the support of Farm Africa, she is now a member of the Biftu Jirenga Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA), a collective that helps women invest in the local economy and gain financial independence.

Bune is married to Ibrahim Gobena and together the couple have seven children. They make a living from farming, cultivating maize and teff, as well as rearing cattle. However, they have faced major challenges. Erratic rainfall and incidences of crop disease prevent Bune from producing sustainable yields. As a result, the couple has at times been unable to feed their family.

Bune has worked with Farm Africa since 2016, when she became a member of a participatory forest management (PFM) community-based organisation, joining in forest management activities such as tree planting, deforestation reduction and the production and marketing of sustainable forest products. In addition to wanting to work with the forests, Bune wanted to engage in income-generating activities in order to improve her family’s livelihood.

That’s why she joined the Biftu Jirenga VSLA in December 2019. Supported by Farm Africa, Bune was able to join the association in the Oda kebele and improve her livelihood. Working with the VSLA not only allows Bune to enjoy a greater income, it also encourages her to engage with her local community in a positive way.

After joining the VSLA, Bune started saving 20 Birr a week, with 15 Birr for the revolving loan fund and 5 Birr for the social fund. She also borrowed 2,000 Birr from the group, purchasing two goats for 1,500 Birr and using the rest to sell onions and potatoes in the local market. After three months, she had two goats and four kids. By selling one of the goats for 3,000 Birr, she was able to return the 2,000 Birr she had borrowed from the VSLA. With the additional money she made from trading onions and potatoes, Bune was able to buy school materials for her children.

Now, Bune owns seven goats and three kids, and has earned over 16,000 Birr. By working with the VSLA, she has improved her business skills and gained financial freedom. She has big hopes for the future; she aims to own better livestock and chicken breeds to help her and her family become self-sufficient and move into a better home.

This is one of a series of stories from the Bale Eco-region Phase II project featured in our May 2022 update on the project (PDF 4.1 MB).

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