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Family business

The first thing that hits you when you step outside Bole Airport is the smell of Ethiopian food.

The aroma of spices for lentils and meat, as well as the smell of the spongy njera almost hangs over Addis Ababa. Then comes the polite but insistent calls of “taxi taxi – only 100 birr” and you know you can’t be anywhere else than Ethiopia.

Addis is a fascinating and often confusing myriad of streets with no names, market stalls, people herding goats and coffee shops on every corner. One of its most famous exports is its traditional coffee, “buna”. Served thick, dark and sugary it’s one of the best ways to start off any day’s work.

Concern’s staff in Addis

Arriving at the Concern office in Addis, you are quickly presented with a cup of buna and introduced to the lively bunch of staff, some of whom have worked with Concern for more than 20 years. The staff have retained the old-fashioned hospitality that existed back in the 80s when the office was established. However, the way in which Concern works here has changed greatly.

Local organisations

In Ethiopia, Concern works mostly though local organisations who have the knowledge of what’s needed at community level. One such organisation, Multipurpose Community Development Programme (MCDP), has been working with Concern for the past three years. They have received funding from Concern to provide small-scale loans to about 2,500 people struggling to expand their businesses.

Micro-credit makes a difference

This micro-credit facility provides an invaluable and effective way for people to work themselves and their families out of grinding poverty. After talking with people who had received loans and business training from MCDP, it’s clear that this project is making a difference.

Family business

Almez Badi, who is making and selling njera from a makeshift hut outside her two-room home, is now able to produce triple the amount of njera per day. Her profits are soaring.

Almez looks at her enterprise as a family business. She has come up with an innovative way of getting her children involved in making some money for the household.

She managed to buy some old and broken bikes from her local market, which one of her mechanically-minded sons fixed up. Now when the kids come home from school, they take the bikes to the local sports field, renting them out to whoever needs a lift or needs a heavy load carried. What a family business!

  • Read more about Almez here