Alem ended her education in grade 5 in order to attend to household duties and soon be placed in an arranged marriage; a practice common across rural Ethiopia. Today living in Zana town, Alem is a retired veteran with a family of four, landless and struggling to make a living “we didn’t have any assets, we tried to engage in embroidery but it was a low source of income and essentially wasn’t enough to sustain a household.”
Alem tried many avenues to make a living for herself and support her family. In one instance she the took a 6,000 ETB loan from Dedebit Credit and Saving Institution (DECSI) and invested it in a billiard. However the profit gained was still very small and wasn’t enough to repay the initial loan payment “overall life was hard, we faced many tribulations and struggled to survive during that time,” expresses Alem.
In 2016, having met a criteria and qualifying for screening- Alem was selected by community facilitators and development agents to part take in ‘Medebay Zana Integrated Community Development Program’. Over the course of five days Alem received technical and financial management training. Following the training she began to regain her confidence and hope for a better tomorrow. She took a 10,000 ETB loan from DECSI and purchased eight small sheep, of which four were pregnant.
Full of hope, Alem put her training into practice by continuing rearing and fattening for four rounds; soon Alem was able to make a 79,200 ETB profit from just fattening. “I am now respected within my community and looked at as a role model by my fellow community members” -Now owning 50 small castle and sheep estimated at about 90,000 ETB collectively and an additional mud house which she rents at 15,000 ETB monthly. Alem’s life is now full of hope and determination “my experience in the program changed the way my family and I eat, dress and overall improved our livelihoods.”