'Women's Voices' pilot informs Ethiopian women about cooperative benefits

The pilot from Agriterra and SNV Ethiopia, which aims to get more women involved in cooperatives, is a big success. The number of affiliated female members of the pilot cooperative Awash Bune grew from 12 to 24 percent. 182 new women became a member. The 'Women's Voices' project will be rolled out at more cooperatives.

In Ethiopia, there are too few women who are members of a cooperative, despite the fact that women play an important role in farming families and the agricultural sector. Membership provides the women with many practical and financial benefits. It's no wonder that the Ethiopian government and the cooperative farming sector want to attract more women, both as members and in management roles.

Awash Bune pilot
The pilot makes use of role models: Seven current female members are employed to promote the cooperative within their kebele. A kebele is a local administrative region made up of several villages. The Awash Bune cooperative is part of the umbrella Becho Woliso Union. The women visited local villages to talk about their own experiences.

Great results
An awareness session held on the final day was attended by no fewer than 141 women, 124 of whom were non-members. During the session, the role models shared their experiences of being a member of Awash Bune. They explained the advantages and answered questions. This session and subsequent promotional activities ultimately resulted in:

  • 182 new female members
  • Increase in the proportion of women from 12 to 24 percent
  • A successful pilot with excellent and practical results

Looking at these results, it appears that the use of role models as ambassadors is a particularly effective means of getting more women interested in the cooperative. Awash Bune and Becho Woliso Union are sharing this approach with other cooperatives that want a higher percentage of female members.

Time for more roll-outs
The project is now being expanded in Ethiopia. It falls within the scope of the 'Cooperative for a Change (C4C)' programme. The main objective of this programme is the improvement of the commercial performance of agricultural cooperatives and their members. The results are also in-keeping with Agriterra's new trajectory: giving more woman and young farmers an important role.






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