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Hope for the future

Ethiopia-story-10.jpgW/ro Tigist, 32, is one of the members of a farmer field school organized for small ruminant production in Yayebena Kebele of Were-Jarso woreda. Tigist is a divorcee living with her mother whom she supports. She is trying to provide for her mother and herself by doing petty trading and selling her labor.

"I used to sell my labor to the others with a very minimum pay to do weeding and fetching water. Twice a week I was selling grain and handicrafts such Moseb (a locally made basket for injera) in the nearby market. If I was lucky, I would get $0.93 each market day which is not for two meals a day," says Tigist.

Tigist was accessing loans from local lenders with an interest of 120% to overcome her income shortage and to provide for her and her mother. But she was usually unable to repay the loan and was forced to work for the lenders with daily wage of ETB 10.00 per day (about $0.60) - far below minimum wage.

After becoming a member of the FFS group to produce small ruminants, Tigist is now actively involved and has become a model for other farmers. She is very dynamic in adopting and implementing issues during educational forums and is one of the few members who have shown a positive change in a short period. As a result of Tigist's positive strides – she was recently elected chair of the board.

As a member of the group, she received an opportunity to access training on saving and credit, marketing, harmful traditional practices, gender and HIV&AIDS issues. Like the other group members, Tigist was provided with three sheep and technical support as well. The three sheep have now become six sheep after six months of good management.

"Now I have six sheep and it is obvious that my life will get better and better. I have seen a difference in my neighbours' respect for me, now they greet me and my mother with a bright smile and with no pity in their faces. If I sell one sheep, I can have working capital to continue my small trade with improved capacity. I can also borrow money from my group with reasonable interest and make a difference in my life," says Tigist.