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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Success stories from Women with Disabilities Economic Empowerment Projects in Hawassa - Embassy of Finland, Addis Ababa : Current Affairs


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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel. +251-11-4704390

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Success stories from Women with Disabilities Economic Empowerment Projects in Hawassa

The Fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) of the Embassy of Finland works in partnership with local Civil Society Organizations and NGOs in Ethiopia. The FLC funds about 10 projects yearly under different thematic areas. The success stories from the 2017 partnership with the Federation of National Association of People with Disabilities (FENAPD) have been posted as a learning experience for future partnerships.

The intervention areas of the 2017 round of funding were:

  1. Empowerment of women, girls and persons with disabilities
  2. Open dissemination of information
  3. Promoting startup schemes engaging in green economy activities.

The Fund for the Local Cooperation (FLC) completed its second year of partnership with the Federation of the National Association of People with Disabilities (FENAPD) in 2017. In the partnership period, six organizations of persons with disabilities have benefitted from the activities of the FENAPD project in Addis Abeba and Hawassa. The Embassy team conducted a monitoring visit to the 2016 and 2017 projects in Hawassa at the end of May 2018. There have been impressive achievements from the projects in both years. Among these was a project implemented by the Ethiopian Women with Disabilities National Association (EWDNA).

Women with disabilities are often confronted by multiple oppressions as a result of their gender, disability, culture and poverty. However, with the injection of life skill trainings and a small amount of funds as a start-up for entrepreneurship, the women organized under EWDNA have been able to break the vicious cycle of oppression and poverty. About 15 to 20 women beneficiaries in Hawassa get the FLC support through EWDNA and FENAPD, which has increased their motivation to generate income and change their lives.

Senait Melesse, EWDNA beneficiary.
Senait Melesse, EWDNA beneficiary.

The Embassy team witnessed firsthand the inspiring experience of women with disabilities. In the photo above is Mrs Senait Melesse. After participating in the skills training, she set up a shoe repair shop which has proved to be a good business. She earns a reasonable income that enables her to support her extended family members to go school. She is married to a man who is also employed in the shoe repair shop. Senait is happy to own this business and has more dreams of expanding it to employ more staff and generate better income than what she earns now. She say, she has a very good market and has already attracted new customers, which is also a sign for the possibility to expand her work.

The results from the success story of Senait shows that even small funds invested in empowering women with disabilities will help in tackling women inequality and poverty while addressing disability inclusive development in the Ethiopian communities.
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Updated 8/21/2018

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