Women's Vocational Training

Women’s Empowerment Program for ESRI

The Women’s Vocational Empowerment Project of ESRI began a tour first visit in 2008.  The mission of the Women’s Empowerment Project is to provide financial and vocational training for mothers of the pre-school students in the program to enable them to help
provide for their families. Many of the women who are in the program did not have steady jobs and did not know if they would have any income at the end of a day after looking for daily work.  As a result of this program, the mothers have told us that they have greater self-esteem, have less anxiety because they know that they have an income and can feed and clothe their families. This is important because approximately 25% of the children in the ESRI pre-school program are under nourished.  The mothers who are in the Women’s Empowerment Program have a regular schedule and are able to pick up their children at the end of the school day.

Over the years we have established many different cooperative groups which continue to operate.

The Pottery Group. - 2008

The Pottery group began with 25 women and it continues to this day. The women had a kiln which was not safe so we raised independent funds so that the community could build a new kiln. (2009). The pottery group has become licensed and their production and income have increased. They produce coffee pots and items for display which they sell to the market place. On our most recent visit, the mothers told us that their children are still in school and that they are very successful.

Canteen/ Restaurant group-2010

8 years ago a group of 4 mothers established a canteen in a space in their Woreda administration complex. This group has expanded their business and continued to move to larger spaces every few years within the complex. They have saved and now offer a hot
menu and bought their own refrigerator. The Mothers in this restaurant are very pleased with their success in business. They report that their lives have been transformed and so have those of their families.

Food Group – (20 women)- 2014

A third group of mothers had vocational and financial training in a local vocational college and have deep fryers where they make donuts in the morning and French fries in the afternoon for the passing trade. One of the mothers from this group recently spoke at the ESRI/SRI 10th Anniversary Conference in Addis Ababa. She was extremely proud of her success and brought her 9-year-old daughter who she is able to send to private school because she is so successful. She has gone on to establish a business which caters parties and meetings.

Tailoring Group- (20 women)- 2014

A group of tailors were provided with training in a local vocational college and ESRI provided each woman with a sewing machine. Some of the women use the machines themselves for making and mending clothes.  Others have rented out their machines to
people who can go to the main market area further away from their district while they work in other jobs so they have created an expanded economy. 

Injera (Ethiopian Bread) production group was founded with 10 women. ESRI provided them with stoves and injera wood burning ovens and training.

Poultry/ egg production (2015)

Two Poultry/ Egg production groups were   founded over two years with about 20 women each. The women were given financial training in cooperation with another NGO in Addis Ababa and were provided with seed money by ESRI to buy the chickens, feed etc.  They received vocational training to learn how to take care of the poultry properly and passed a state licensing exam to take care of the poultry. The Woreda provided space for the poultry and running water for the egg production. The chickens require 24/7 care so one of the husbands decided to take the night shift. In exchange, a place to live for the family was built on the property and the family now has a place to live. Since poultry has a fixed life to produce eggs of about 18 moths.   When the first group of chickens was done producing eggs, they were sold to produce more capital some of which was used to buy more chickens and increase their production.

The first Poultry coop was so successful that a second group of women (2016) in the same Wordeda was established the following year. Both groups are very successful.  In fact, they now sell 300 eggs weekly to the First Ladies school lunch program which
was recently established. They also sell eggs to local merchants. The mothers from these groups also tell us that their lives are transformed. The children have told us and their mothers and teachers that they appreciate the opportunity that their mothers have. They eat well, have shoes and back packs and some even have television sets giving them a window into the larger world.

The mothers in all of these groups are excellent role models for their families, children and the communities in which they live.  Teachers report that the children of these mothers have increased confidence which can be readily seen in school.

In our growth into Bishoftu in Oromia, a Region outside of Addis Ababa, the Women’s Empowerment project is an integral part of the expansion. The Regional Authorities in Bishoftu are committed to having 20 women a year participate in vocational projects to help support their families.

The school directors report that the children of the mothers in the Women’s Vocational program are confident, well nourished and do very well in school. One of the children wrote that she will work very hard in school to repay the opportunity given to her mother.

We are very pleased with the success of the program and applaud the hard-working women who continue to participate.   It should be noted that the husbands and families of these women have been supportive and proud of these women. 

the old kiln