Despite Covid, rural farmers are building back stronger
While Covid-19 continues to spread in Ethiopia, we are seeing the impact of loans and trainings for a new group of borrowers in Oda Bultum, Oromia. Glimmer has provided a first round of microloans and trainings for more than 1,300 people, nearly half of them women. Recently, we talked to the farmers as they shared their successes in growing profits, food production and savings that will provide a safety net for future challenges.
Meet four of the farmers who are paving the way for growth in Oda Bultum.
35 years old, Mother of five
A month after losing nearly her entire harvest to locusts in the midst of the Covid pandemic, Tsehay and her husband struggled to feed their five children. With limited options to find food locally, emergency food relief from Glimmer gave Tsehay and her family the chance to stabilize and rebuild. Just a few months later, Tsehay joined her local financial cooperative and took a loan for goat fattening. With the support of the loan and trainings from Glimmer, she sold the goat for 10 times her purchase price, repaid her loan and took a second loan. With a second infusion of capital, Tsehay purchased a cow that gave birth—turning a profit for Tsehay that she could invest back into her growing business. She recently purchased a steer and an ox to help plow her land, increasing her farm’s efficiency and production.
TSEHAY: “Help came in my time of need. I was on the verge of losing everything. If I had not received the relief and support, I would have not made it this far. I would have had to sell everything and be empty-handed. Now whenever my children need money, they can borrow from my savings. I do not have to sell my cow and ox to cover their school fees anymore. If such opportunities were not available, I believe my children would have had to drop out of school.”
Widow, Mother of six
After her husband passed away, Bedriya struggled to afford the essentials of food and school fees for her children. When a local development agent visited Bedriya, she learned about Glimmer’s new project through the local financial cooperative. As a member of the cooperative, Bedriya received high-quality seeds and a loan for goats, and opened a savings account. Bedriya plans to sell her goats and start an ox-rearing business in the next few months.
BEDRIYA: “After [my husband’s] death, taking care of the children and teaching them became very difficult. This loan has given me reason to hope for the future. I saw Covid affect the entire country, especially the markets. But now things are starting to change.”
40 years old, father of seven
As a father of seven, Ame wanted to expand and diversify his business to better support his family. When Glimmer began working with Ame’s local financial cooperative, new opportunities for business trainings and loans opened up in his village. By joining the local cooperative, Ame received trainings, high-quality seeds and a poultry loan, which enabled him to purchase 50 chickens. With a diversified income and new business planning tools, Ame is building up his savings to purchase a motorized cart that will grow his income.
AME: “If I wasn’t a part of the cooperative, I truly believe I would not get all of these advantages. Whenever I see others that are not a member, I try to get them to join. I truly believe that if I did not have such support, I would not get into the poultry business, because there was no chance for me to get training.”
Goat and maize farmer, mother of four
In 2020, flooding destroyed half of Shekore’s entire harvest. Without the food and income from the lost harvest, she struggled to support her family and sold one of her livestock to help keep her children in school. When she heard about the new Glimmer project at her local financial cooperative, she eagerly signed up as part of the first cohort of borrowers. Shekore received trainings on business development and livestock management and used her first loan to purchase five goats. While building her diversified farming business, she also serves as chair of her local financial cooperative.
SHEKORE: “I first heard about the cooperative opportunity on the radio and from the government. I saw people change their lives by becoming a member, so I joined. In our first meeting I was selected to be chair. Support from Glimmer empowered us to take larger loans.”