A Year of Progress in Gumer
In 2023, Glimmer launched a project in Gumer, a community nestled in the fertile highlands of southern Ethiopia. The project works in partnership with the community, championing sustainable farming practices and financial resilience for thousands of households. Just one year in, the landscape is changing: women lead income-generating activities, farmers embrace regenerative agriculture practices, and a growing number of community members invest in their future through loans.
We spoke with four women from Gumer—mothers, activists, and entrepreneurs—who are driving change in their families and communities.
Single mom, entrepreneur, and education advocate
When Abebech’s husband abandoned her and their three children, it was hard for her to see a future. So she built it – from the ground up. She secured rights to her land, nurtured it, and with a loan from Glimmer, she diversified her farm with sheep and apple trees. “I was longing for this type of support when I heard about the project.”
Abebech’s farm has become a model of sustainable agriculture, and she’s teaching her neighbors the regenerative techniques from her trainings. All three of her children are in school—an accomplishment that is particularly meaningful to her, as she was denied schooling when she was young. Abebech believes in education as a foundation for a brighter future and shares this vision tirelessly with her community.
Financial Cooperative Chairwoman and Community Mobilizer
Radiya started a savings group in 1999. For more than two decades, the local financial cooperative met outside under a tree, rain or shine. With an informal meeting spot and a woman at the helm, it was difficult to mobilize new members. But Radiya was resolute in her commitment to fostering a culture of savings and credit in her community: “Once you take on the responsibility, you must act accordingly; there is no other way around.”
With Glimmer’s support and Radiya’s steady guidance, the cooperative is now flourishing with over 200 members. Member trust is strong, loan sizes have increased, and they meet in a newly constructed office. From under a shaded tree to an official building, Radiya has cultivated a lasting financial foundation for her community. “As long as this support continues, I don’t want to sleep, I don’t want to sit. I am willing to work day and night for change.”
Financial cooperative leader and strategic grain trader
Worknesh, a savvy business owner and local cooperative leader, is a pillar of economic growth in her community. For many years, she balanced a variety of businesses and odd jobs, but it was never enough to make ends meet. Worknesh joined a local financial cooperative and took on a key role as the group's cashier. She secured a loan from Glimmer and made a strategic investment in the grain trade, cultivating a successful business that aligned well with market demand. Today, as cooperative membership increases, she's leveraging her leadership position to inspire a culture of saving and investing among women in her community. "Glimmer has helped motivate a savings culture. I'm excited to see change in my community."
Widow, Mother, and Sustainable farmer
Tragedy struck last year when Ziyad’s husband passed away unexpectedly. Alone, with no source of income, an unfinished house, and young children to care for, she found herself facing an uncertain future. "I felt like I was dying too," she shared. Her neighbors rallied around her, but she knew she needed to find a way to earn money and rebuild her life and her farm. A few months later, she met staff from Glimmer.
She received a loan for sheep and training in regenerative agriculture practices, focused on soil fertility and organic compost. With a thriving farm and steady income, she teaches the techniques she's learned to the neighbors who supported her during the loss of her husband. Her sheep have already given birth to two new lambs. “I see a bright future for me and my children.”