MELCA-Ethiopia is currently undertaking different programs in the Bale zone including Environmental Governance and Eco-friendly Livelihoods Improvement, with the financial support obtained from Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), MELCA-Ethiopia implementing “Building the Resilience of Bale Community for ecosystem rehabilitation and improving livelihoods”. One case story related with the Environmental Governance and Eco-friendly Livelihoods Improvement program project beneficiaries presented as follow.
MELCA initiated and supported the establishment of improved fuel wood saving stove production association, locally named “Wolda Sherikuma” in Dinsho town about six months ago (i.e. about in May 2020) with eight members (five women and three men) identified by their first names as Kadija, Zara, Nigatua, Meko, Hayisha, Abdurahman, Tsegaye, and Harun.
According to youth Harun Hussein (M, 20 years old, chairman of the Association), MELCA provided a total of about Birr 47,550 as a startup fund for the Association for purchasing tools and necessary inputs including cement, coarse sand and fine sand. Dinsho District Micro-Finance Enterprise Office, which was one of the key partners to this endeavor, was learned to have played appreciable role in organizing and guiding the performance of the Association.
The members of the Association met on the worksite not only expressed happiness from the support they had been provided by MELCA but also see great hope in the performance of their Association in the future. All of them explained that they had been languishing from lack of job before getting this chance.
They disclosed that, so far, each member individually received up to Birr 10,000 from the incomes generated. And, collectively the Association had a deposit of Birr 21,000 in the bank at the time of the interview. Also, it was having a contract of producing 300 pieces of stoves for an NGO operating in the area at a total outlay of Birr 90,000.
They estimated one stove to cost about Birr 150 and were selling it at Birr 300. If they are able to attract more demand and improve the products, the scheme looks viable. Just to cite a case story in this regard, youth Tsegaye Dangura (M, 31), secretary of the Association witnessed, “Besides starting to benefit financially from the scheme, I am now relieved from the mental/psychological instability I used to suffer previously, and attaining astonishing behavioral change after engaging in the work with other colleagues of the Association. Presently, as a result of the scheme, I am married and a father of a small child, and building my own house which is about 70% complete.”
Likewise, Mrs. Hayisha Habtamu, a youth and a mother of two children, is serving as an accountant for the Association. She explained, “Previously I was jobless. I’m now employed and getting better off. I have purchased different household items with the income I secured from the scheme. It’s a great opportunity for me.”
Moreover, the members of the Association were also learned to have the intention of establishing a nursery site for producing tree seedlings for sale to interested users and income diversification. They already had made a preliminary assessment on this option and were planning to submit application to the local administration to get land for the purpose.