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Why Sodomo village is buzzing with excitement

28 May 2013

Why Sodomo village is buzzing with excitement

Photo: Members of the Sodomo village savings group with their savings box

In rural Ethiopia many families  find themselves trapped in poverty. With only limited assets such a small mud house, some pots and pans and a few chickens, it is impossible for them to borrow any money. Without money to invest, changing things for the better is only a distant dream.

Simply to grow a different crop requires money to buy the seeds, but this money must be spent on food if they are to survive.

Mohammed was stuck in just this situation. He was leading a hand-to-mouth existence with no way out. His only real option was to borrow money from local lenders, but as they charge extortionate rates of interest, he was reluctant to do. He had a little money saved - 150 Birr (about $8) - but this was not enough to really change things for his family.

Setting up savings

Farm Africa has been working with communities in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region to help them overcome this ongoing challenge. When we helped to set up a savings group in Mohammed's village of Sodomo, he was elected chairman of the group. The group's members have been learning about saving together and the benefits that this can bring. They have also received training and guidance, as well as a savings box and record keeping tools.

Mohammed, along with the other group members, saves a small amount every week, Members then take it in turns to take out short-term loans. Mohammed borrowed 500 Birr, which, when put together with his savings allowed him to buy two goats. He gave them plenty of food to make them larger and more valuable, and after a month was able to sell them for a profit. In just one month he made 150 Birr profit and, in effect, doubling his savings.


The group has since invested their money in buying some beehives. They sold enough honey In the first season to cover the cost of the hives, meaning they can now look forward to a healthy profit next season. For Mohammed and the other group members this will provide a source of income, and a real way to change their families’ futures and free them from handouts.

More about our work in Ethiopia