By G/Haweria Birhane REST PR
August 15, 2013
Tigrai Online - Relief Society of Tigray (REST) with the financial support from Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and Ford Foundation have been implementing graduation pilot project in eastern zone of Tgray Kilte Awlaelo district for the past two years. To put a pertinent direction in the continuation and effectiveness of the project, a team of technical experts paid program evaluation visit to the project areas. In the pilot project a total of 500 ultra-poor households out of the 1000 selected families have been benefited for about two years, who had been nominated by the community themselves through participatory approach.
Beneficiaries were given different livelihood alternatives and then chose the best to their livelihood condition. Accordingly, the options were shoat fattening, cattle fattening, beekeeping and petty trade. All beneficiaries have got trainings of technical aspects like business management, financial literacy and principle of animal fattening accompanied with experience sharing visits. Based on the objective of the pilot project, it assured that all the 500 farmers, of which 177 are female beneficiaries, have been grouped into 13 Village Saving and Loan Association (VSLA). As a result, the VSLA groups able to save ETB 7500 and ETB 67500 has been distributed as loan to members and other 390 poor farmers have benefited from the new loan access.
The monitoring and evaluation program which conducted by REST shows that, beneficiaries are categorized into slow, solid and fast climbers in order to increase support for those left behind graduation. Due to the intensive efforts of REST, 90% (430) of the total beneficiaries become fast climbers following by the 37 who are solid climbers.
Walking house to house in six villages, the group of about 20 experts sent by CGAP from different international organizations has been visited the achievements in shoat fattening, cattle fattening, beekeeping and petty trade activities.
A young female Mulu lives at one of the project areas, Abreha Atsbeha village. From the listed out project options, she prefer to see herself in petty trade, the small scale shopping. To a small and crowded market of her village, she came once a week to meet her clients rather than selling being at her permanent shop. Mulu is now one among the members who saved an average capital of ETB 12,000 within the past two years from this project.
According to ground based survey results and the field trip assessment, the CGAP project running by REST is fruitful, successful, and seeks to expand into other ultra-poor family members.
Concerning the project situation and the role of REST, Frank Degiovanni, Director of Financial Assets in Ford Foundation said that “I met the primary beneficiaries involving in productive activities. It is incredible to see such like fruitful results in the ground, in the ultra-poor families. I am satisfied with what REST has been implementing in livelihood activities to help the so ultra-poor community members.
Including the CGAP project implementing by REST in rural Tigray, Ethiopia; CGAP and Ford Foundation had been functioning in 8 countries (10 pilots) all over the world holding the objective of ultra-poor livelihoods improvement by encouraging them to participate in different livelihood options and graduate the poorest to be self-sufficient in the long term. Of the others, REST remains as the best partner in implementing the project in line with its mission of graduate the ultra-poor from extreme poverty.