Nigatua fikadu, a mother of three, lives in Sama community of Minjar Shenkora district, Ethiopia. She has been engaged in a small trading business besides her family’s farming work for a long time now. However, she has been struggling to get her trading business successful.
Limited financial literacy, lack of market information, the formal mechanism for collective purchase and marketing, and poor business skills are the few barriers she faces every day.
“When I first heard of about 4R Nutrient Stewardship project that it supports rural women who are engaged in trading business activities, I was very eager to be part of it. Fortunately, I became one of the hundreds of women who were selected by the project to be a member of the Rural Commercial Women Groups (RCWG) that were established in eight communities including Sama, my community,” Nigatua said.
“Before the financial literacy training, I did not have adequate knowledge of running my business. For example, I had no idea about negotiation skills, costing and pricing, record keeping, etc. This knowledge gap has cost me a lot over the years,” Nigatua added.
In recognition of these problems that rural women like Nigatua frequently met, the 4R Solutions project incorporated women empowerment as one pillar in the project design – 16 Rural Commercial Women Groups (RCWG) are established in eight project kebeles (communities).
“The basic business skills training has equipped many rural women and me with the basic concepts of entrepreneurship, different aspects of business management skills, and knowledge of business planning. The training and the loan provided by the 4R Nutrient Stewardship project have changed my life.” Nigatua said.
The 4R nutrient stewardship project organizes positive masculinities training to young boys and adult men to be change agents in the gender transformation approach.
The major objective of the training is exposing the socio-culturally constructed nature of gender inequalities, discrimination, and patriarchal masculinity and thereby identifying opportunities and constraints facing communities in their struggle to create a free society from gender inequality.
“As a Gender Model Family, my husband and I took training on gender issues; this enabled us to be change agents in the gender transformation in our community. Breaking the social taboo in the community, my husband helps at home and in the trading business. The positive masculinity training has changed his old attitude towards gender and especially men’s role, thus reducing women’s burden. Our children have also known their role in the family and try to perform accordingly,” says Nigatuwa.
“The project staff in our district follows a participatory adult learning approach, involving us, the participants, actively in the process of acquiring new information through practical exercises, role plays, group discussion, and presentations,” she added.