Providing a lifeline to the people of Addis

Providing a lifeline to the people of Addis

Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa has a population of three million, the vast majority of whom live in abject poverty.

Squeezed into small tin shacks, most people earn their living by trading and doing odd jobs whenever they can. Without a steady income, families like this have no hope of lifting themselves out of this poverty trap.

Addressing the problems

In order to address these problems, local NGOs such as the Multipurpose Community Development Programme (MCDP) were set up by Ethiopians who witnessed and experienced these issues. Concern and MCDP have been working together since 2006, helping almost 2,500 families generate a steady income.

Addis Ababa aid

Over the last two years, MCDP have been running workshops on business skills. They also provide loans of 2,000 birr (approx $200) to their new members. When repaid, people can take out a larger loan to help them expand their business.

Meet Almaz

Almaz Badi is one such woman who has benefited from the workshops and a loan of 2,000 birr. Almaz has been in business making njera (the staple food of many Ethiopians) for the past ten years.

“I started this because my husband often works as a daily labourer, which means he might have enough work for two months, but then not be able to find anything for the next three. Initially I approached a local government office who gave me a small loan. With that I started making njera”, explains Almaz.

But as demand for her njera grew, Almaz found she didn’t have the resources to scale up. She became a member of her local co-op and was then able to access the loan from MCDP. Almaz used the loan to install a tap in her home, providing her with enough running water to expand the business.

“The best njera in the area”

“I now make 450 pieces of njera per day and have contracts with some local hotels and restaurants. I have a good reputation and people say my njera is the best in the area so that’s why they come back”, smiles Almaz. “I have hired an assistant who helps me. My older children help me too after they finish school. I’m happy that it’s a family business”.

Almaz has also passed on her entrepreneurial spirit to her four children, “I managed to buy them bikes from the market and after school some days they take them and rent them out to people who use them for fun or for carrying goods. With this money they help to buy their school books and clothes.”

Looking to the future   

As Almaz explains, if it weren’t for her business her children wouldn’t have been able to go to school. “I am the one in the house with the steady income and without this my children would not have an education. They now want to have good jobs and my eldest would love to become a doctor. I hope to see that happen for him.”