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Women's self help groups
How the groups work.
Women who decide to take part are formed into small groups of about 15 members of similar income levels.
They meet weekly. They agree to start saving money, with an agreed amount each week. Soon the capital in the bank builds up and they give loans to members to start businesses and get through a crisis.
Then they discuss their lives and challenges. They find that together they are empowered to change attitudes and behaviour.
Then several groups meet together as cluster level associations, and this makes wider action possible.
Women's self help groups build up civil society. They are social change makers.
Life is hard here and many children could not go to school because of poverty. We set up a sub-committee for child protection, and our volunteer staff make sure that the poorest children get the help they need'
Before our meetings, female genital mutilation was common, but now its stopped. We are also concerned about child labour and go from door to door, and if we find any abuse we report it'
'I've been helped to set up my own business. I make injera (local bread) which I can sell for 10 birr, and I can make make 300 birr a week. I can buy clothes and medicine for my children'
'There was an orphan girl living near me who attempted to kill herself. I looked after her as she recovered, and then I adopted her. She's now at school and doing well'
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