Twenty years ago, Bekelech was a single mother who was unable to feed or educate her 4-year-old daughter. Her husband had been killed in the war and she could not find employment.
Bekelech dreamed of opening a stall in the local market in her impoverished neighbourhood near Addis Ababa. She was accepted into the EDA family help program and provided with business training and a start up grant of 3,300 Bir ($115 US) for initial rent payments and to purchase the grains that she would sell.
She worked hard to realize her goal and is proud of her achievements. Today, Bekelech is independent and financially stable. Her daughter was able to attend primary and secondary school and has recently graduated from university as an accountant.
Bekelech recognizes the work that she put into her business, but she is also grateful for the help and support provided by EDA. “I wouldn’t be the kind of person I am today without EDA”.

Three years ago, a group of seven unemployed women approached EDA with the goal of starting a community savings and credit association (SAC). They formed a self-help group and were approved for intensive training in business management and financial management and savings.


The Kuloberet Savings and Credit Association now has 132 members. Members deposit 10 Bir ($3 US) a week and after the first year,

Before being supported by EDA, Almaz and her husband Kiflu were unable to feed themselves or their daughter. Almaz worked as a servant, and Kiflu was unemployed. They first came under the umbrella of EDA when their daughter was accepted into the family sponsorship program.

When Yetimwork lost her nephew and his wife to disease, she took over the care of their small son. Life was difficult; she had little income and lived in a simple, one-room rental house. There was a small shed on her rental property as well as a walled yard. Yetima was sure that she could

When Meaza completed Grade 10 two years ago, she was one of 100 at-risk youth who were selected for the EDA Youth Livelihood program. She was given vocational training in leather work, small business skills and business and personal finance. Meaza used her $750 US seed funding to purchase a leather sewing machine and supplies.


Meaza’s tiny shop has been open for seven months. She creates and sews high-quality, original leather purses, belts and cosmetic bags, which she sells to stores and handicraft shops. The business is already showing a small profit and Meaza is able to support herself and

Edilawet is a little girl with big dreams. She attends Atse Zerayakob Primary school in the city of Debre Berhan. The school was founded in 1934 and has a proud record of academic achievement. In the past, many graduates went on to university and professional careers.  Unfortunately, the school was unable to keep up with changing trends in education.

The text books became outdated and the administration could not afford to replace them or purchase the computers that were necessary for their high achieving students. There was no clean water source at the school and the pit privies were in poor repair.

Seven years ago, Shitaye was among the poorest of the poor in the Akika-Kaliti slum neighbourhood of Addis Ababa. She had no income, and she struggled to support herself and her disabled husband.  Shitaye was accepted into a bio-gas cafeteria income generating program run by EDA. This innovative program addresses sanitation, environmental and nutrition needs, while providing women with employment. The facility includes public washrooms and showers and a small restaurant.  The bio-gas captured from the toilets fuels the stoves in the restaurant.