Awey Tchiri, 38 years old mother of eight, is a member of the BRACED supported Tchelaleka Nega self-help group that come together once a week in Borena Zone to deposit their savings.
We didn’t know about this kind of thing in the past. Then [BRACED] came here and brought us together as a self-help saving group and we started saving.
We have now saved 12,400 Birr (372 pounds). In the past if we got sick or had any other problem we had to ask those who are wealthy to help us. But now we ourselves have money and can be of assistance to others.
We have two types of savings. Five Birr (15 pence) is our regular savings. We also save two birr (6 pence) in addition to that which we use for social activities, to help each other out. When a woman gives birth, we tap into the social fund to assist her.
We take loans from the regular savings and the funds revolve every two months. For example if I borrow money from that today, I return the loan in two months time. Then the next person takes the loan, and we use the money for our activities and the funds revolve.
Awey has taken three loans from the fund thus far.
The first time I borrowed 2,000 Birr (30 pounds). I took that loan when six people in my family fell ill at the same time. If I didn’t have that money to take them to the hospital, I would have lost them. I paid back that loan and took a second loan for 2,000 Birr with which I bought four goats.
I later sold two of the goats for 2,000 Birr and was able to repay the loan. I kept two goats at home, and recently when the drought became very severe, I sold the two goats and used the money to buy food for my family. Now this third time I borrowed 2,000 Birr again. In the meantime, I myself gave birth. I will work and repay the loan.
In Yabelo district, 64 self-help groups like the one Awey belongs to, have been set up. Each group has between 15 and 20 members, with 1006 members total across the 64 groups.
Between them, the self-help groups in Yabelo have saved close to £14,000 in regular savings, and more than £1,200 towards their social funds.
By mid-November 2017, the groups had issued more than 1,800 loans, close to 400 of which were used to start small trading activities.
The number of defaulters has been low, only 42 by mid-November, caused by deaths or the borrowers migrating out of the area.
These self-help groups are helping to promote a culture of saving and in turn, mitigate the impact of drought.
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