Purplelily Empowering Women in Ethiopia

Ginette connected with an American couple, Donna and Tsygay, who run a small community development project in Sidama, South of Ethiopia. This is one of the poorest regions of Ethiopia. The project is near a village, Aleta Wendo, and is accessible to all the locals in the area.

This development project supports the community in a number of ways which includes a school from KG to Gr. 4 and provides employment to 20 local people. Donna and Tsygay are aiming to make this development project self-sustainable. They have land, wells, many trees and plants, grow their own vegetables, coffee beans, fruits, cows, donkeys, etc.

They run a popular women’s programme. This programme aims to empower women by first teaching them how to read and write. The next step is then showing them how to start small cooperative businesses through a partnership between Common River and a Micro-financial organisation which includes such activities as bee hives, poultry, raising animals and sowing.

PurpleLily’s objective was to deliver Life Skills and Financial Literacy Training to these women, train a local facilitator and give the programme in the local language so they can continue to use the programme.

Ginette was there from June 8th through to June 25th, 2015. The first week was spent translating all the programmes into the Sidama language and also training the local facilitator, Workenesh. We were hoping to get approximately 30 women to join our 10 day programme. We were pleasantly surprised to have 80 women in the first workshop! To accommodate the all the women, we made smaller groups and delivered several workshops per day.

Most women in the Sidama community, marry very young and have several children. Their income is usually generated by selling the vegetables or coffee beans they grow on their lands. The average income of the women we were working with was between $5–$10 per month. Although the women were extremely poor and had low levels (if any) of literacy, they were incredibly motivated to learn and apply the tools that PurpleLily taught. The consistency in attendance and the feedback clearly demonstrated that the women benefited from the programme.

This is reflected in their own words;

Even if we are very poor, you are motivating us to come out of poverty. I have learned that I need to save in the coffee season, so I have money in the rainy season. PurpleLily gives me knowledge and hope. I have learned a lot from PurpleLily, I’m confident and hopeful.
25 years old, 3 children


I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to be involved in the PurpleLily workshops. I have a plan for the future and I will follow the method that you show us in Financial Literacy workshops. The information was beneficial and easy to follow. I was inspired by the Communication and 5 Healthy Habits workshops. This has been a special week for me.
35 years old, 7 children


PurpleLily workshops helped me a lot. I understand the way to save money and I enjoyed the sharing and listening skills activities. I appreciate all the knowledge we have learned.
35 years old, 6 children


I have learned so much, from financial knowledge to relaxing my mind. I really enjoyed the ‘ball’ activity outside. I laughed so much.
35 years old, 5 children


I have learned a lot this week. I’m a single mother with 3 children and I often feel discouraged, worried and sad. I feel the PurpleLily workshops have given me hope and knowledge. I specially appreciate learning how to do breathing activities to calm my mind and be positive.
25 years old, 3 children


PurpleLily gave me knowledge and I learned how to use positive thoughts in my day to day life. I often worry about my family’s future, now I feel calmer.
25 years old, 5 children


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