Some 14 members of Edget Behibret Edget Behibret Self-Help Group (SHG) were met inside the compound of 06 Kebelle Administration Office Wereilu District. Edget Behibret in Amahric language means “growth in unity”.
The Group had been established in April 2015 (2007 E.C.) with 18 member. The members had been given basic skill training organized by MELCA-Ethiopia focusing on such topics as group micro business running, bookkeeping, dispute or grievance handling, and social relationship.
The Group has a set of stringent rules adopted by the members and meets every two weeks to review outstanding issues, address problems encountered, examine members’ loan requests, and give decision on necessary matters. It was disclosed that the meeting is absolutely democratic in which each member participates and speaks out her mind freely.
At the time of the visit, it was reported that each member had saved Birr 4,470 with the total deposit of the Association being Birr 80,460. The Group has issued 10 rounds of credit to its members eligible for borrowing with the first round starting from Birr 200 to the 10th round reaching Birr 4,000.
The role of the Group formation in terms of economic empowerment and independence and business creativity of the women have been one of the fundamental gains of the SHG initiative. The members witnessed that the Group has immensely equipped them with business or money making skill and ability, which they had been ignorant of previously.
The Group members also disclosed that fuel wood saving stove had been distributed to each SHG member household on 50–50% cost sharing basis. Besides its livelihood support, the women have also greatly appreciated MELCA’s literacy initiative launched as part of the SHGs. They had started learning Amharic alphabets for some time, although unfortunately, at the time of the visit, it was discontinued due to the prevailing COVID-19.
Anyhow, they witnessed that they have started writing and signing with their names, instead of using thumb finger print. Interestingly, the participants vividly expressed that, over and above its economic value (in terms of the saving and credit services that it is providing to the members), the social value of the SHG is also a great attribute as it is serving them as a platform for reinforcing the social bond among and between the members collectively as well as individually.
Witnessing this benefit, the Chairwoman of the Group, Mrs. Meseret Ayele, said, “We, the members, regard as a family, close friends and relatives to one another; even we yearn for the coming of the next meeting day of the Group. Beyond the formal procedures of the Group, we are helping each other individually wherever the need arises from any member.”
Indeed, this is a remarkably useful outcome of the Group formation for its members. They also foresee that, through their increased effort and hardworking, they would achieve more improvement in the future in terms of the economic and social status of individual members as well as their Group collectively.
Finally, the women thanked MELCA wholeheartedly for everything it had done for them in the realization of their valuable economic and social organizations- SHGs and CLA.