Nov.

22

Women Challenging the Statuesque
brother by the money she earns on daily labour basis, life had not always been so easy. There were a number of days in which she was continually starving instead of her children. Her husband Hussein Koroso was not willing to support her either. He himself was a daily labourer and often looks for support from his wifefrom an already destitute woman. According to the local norm he has every right to own whatever resource is found within the decisions to work with his family, to care for his wife. ‘This wasn’t the case’ says Badriya as she explains what brought changes in her life. ‘it wasn’t the case previously when i was only hired to cook, make enjera and do some other similar domestic activities in the nearby town on daily labour basis and get a meagre money which cannot even pay for my own dinner let alone feeding the entire family. For that reason i often

It was in the morning of 9 January 2011 in a small village called Gofigra Gurmicho in the kofale district. Badriya had already done a lot on her backyard when we arrived early in the morning. By the time we arrived, she has already served breakfast to her dozen children and sent some of her kids to school and was preparing herself to work on her backyard for the rest of the day. January is one of the dry seasons in the area and during this time it is

impossible to find a backyard full of vegetables and greenery. However, Badriya had all that was required to feed her children from her own limited backyard. The challenge of women and girls in Ethiopia is generally enormous. Specifically the lives of women in rural areas is by far complicated than men counterparts. For a rural woman like Badriya Mohammed who has to sustain the lives of her own eight children, her mother and two other children of her

family whenever needed. Being a woman she has no option than to surrender for the will of her husband. And hence she had to support eleven people who were entirely dependent on her in addition to her husband who has the authority to dictate what she had to do for him every time. Unlike previous times, now a day her husband works the whole day, at home on their backyard. He believed in the strength of his wife and the appropriateness of his

beg additional gifts such as flour and residual foods for my kids. I was leading life under such difficult circumstances in which every new day appears to me the same until ROBA came and knocked my door. My husband was not caring’ she said. ‘As he gets some money, he used to run away to spend it elsewhere and come back to me whenever he is in short.’

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www.robaethiopia.org | Rural Organization for Betterment of Agropastoralists (ROBA), 2011

The condition of women prior to the intervention of this project was terrible. happy and prosperous families through various support mechanisms but mainly provision of successive trainings on gender and social development. Garibe and others have been significantly transformed specially in terms of gender equity and livelihood improvements since then. to improve their livelihoods and ultimately form healthy families. Moreover.org | Rural Organization for Betterment of Agropastoralists (ROBA). sustainable organic agriculture. Since 2008. In January 2008 when Badriya’s families and many others were incorporated under the project. Wives do everything they can to sustain the whole family while husbands were only consuming and often causing physical harm to them. And wada woli women’s livelihood improvement project was intended to reduce the burden of women in poorest households. A number of households represented by strong women 2 Some emerging families with greater hopes www. they can do upon them. The project mainly aimed at creating healthy. men were not Her husband Hussein on the other hand said ‘i was ashamed when people were commenting on me saying that i was steeling food from my children’s mouth the one their mother hardly able to avail for them. Bassu. four hundred and six households were organized in to eighteen self help groups in Kofale district in the west Arsi zone of the Oromia regional state under the Wda woli women’s livelihood improvement project financed by Heifer International and Send a Cow Ethiopia. 22 Women Challenging the Statuesque such as Badriya. It was from that moment onwards that i decided to live as a dignified husband.Nov.’ Badriya wasn’t the only woman who suffered in this manner.robaethiopia. This had been the fortune for most of the women in the area. improved animal management and environmental sanitation amongst households organized into self help groups. wives were treated as only commodities owned by husbands and whatever husbands wish to do. 2011 . there were inadequate assets owned by women.

the environmental conditions of many households were not healthy and backyards were empty and people were not getting the necessary nutrition. 2011 . Furthermore. At the beginning when she told him about the inspirations she got from a strong woman in her neighbourhood and that she wanted similar engagements. the income of families was very low and as a result few children were hardly able to attend schools. varieties of interventions were made besides giving various relevant trainings. Wada woli . Bassu Dalu had similar stories with Badriya except that the former was inspired by the achievements of the later. Bassu is a hardworking woman too but her husband Hajji Gobena was not until he realized that what she has been doing was something useful for the entire family. he felt it was only a mere talk. Bassu and her husband together with their children were busy on their vegetable garden. On the morning of 11 June 2011 when we visited their backyards. believing in themselves and men building trust in women. veterinary and artificial insemination services were introduced. “Wali dabarsa/ handura” used to be one of the lost traditions of Arsi Oromo and the moment it was restored by the consultation made with local elders. 22 Women Challenging the Statuesque walk on the road to success such as sending their children to school. For instance. families were positively transformed and begun a new 3 www.org | Rural Organization for Betterment of Agropastoralists (ROBA).Nov. Later when he realized her commitments and capabilities he began to listen to what she had been telling him every time she received a new training. Our life is regarding women as capable. Moreover. families have been introduced with the various corner stone values of the project.robaethiopia. an equivalent local practice to one of the project’s twelve corner stone values known as pass on gift had been revitalized and successfully integrated into the project. Since the start of this project. the project values were easily accepted and internalized by the community. Consequently. ‘i carefully listened to her and realized that she had a point’ said her husband who until that moment was just a local dealer of occasional businesses. producing sufficient for household consumption.

Kedir Serbi. His livestock survived the longest dry winter season of 2011 by the forage he has grown in his backyard and his large family of twelve members endured economic problems by the money acquired from the sale of forage. collecting fire course challenging statuesque. and carrying grains to grinding mills. Thanks to the money people who devoted their time energy and resources and to Hajji Banata and Ambicha Nebi of “Burka Misoma Gudina” self help group in Hula Bara village as well as Hussein Koroso.org | Rural Organization for Betterment of Agropastoralists (ROBA). Unlike other families who mostly relied on growing vegetables. 22 Women Challenging the Statuesque the strong women who struggled and became champions in the face of dogmatic beliefs about women. He also said unlike previous times members of the family are treated equally and now he love working with his wife. some household heads have begun replacing women in domestic activities such as cow milking. now a day a number of families are allowing women a space to exercise their roles as productive citizens.Nov.” He said this because he was convinced that the traditional assumption of women being incapable of undertaking productive activities and men should not engage in domestic activities has been broken. Also. coffee making. The husband of Garibe a yet another strong woman in Hula Bara village says “we no more divide each other based on gender differences. This is a very recent development even in the life span of the project. 2011 . he had specialized on producing animal feed. The truth and the good news is that it is happening and women are of 4 www. moreover we share and care to each other... . we have begun sending our kids to school” Kadir Hayato is another strong famer who lives in Ashoka village. What is more. and Abu Jibicho of “Muka Hama” in Gofigra Gurmicho were some of the new generation of husbands who took practical steps towards a long way to ensuring gender equality. the improved” said Hajji “now we have something to feed our children.these were the new generation of husbands who took practical steps towards travelling a long way to ensuring gender equality.robaethiopia. woods. Of course these activities were entirely women’s domains and were unthinkable to be undertaken by men. Kedir Kemele.

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