Ilu und Tole

Becoming stronger together

Women’s self-help groups and clean water improve quality of life in rural Ethiopia


Poor women in rural Ethiopia are structurally disadvantaged. Their participation in public life, community-based organizations and decision-making processes is severely limited. Although they do most of the agricultural work, their contribution is largely unpaid and unrecognized. With less than half of girls completing elementary, their literacy levels remain low. Employment opportunities beyond unpaid fieldwork are therefore very limited.

These problems are closely linked to the poor water supply. As in much of the country, water access is severely limited in the project area. Springs are often contaminated and almost always far from settlements. It is usually the women or their daughters who are responsible for the time-consuming transport of water – time they lack for income generation or school attendance. Improving the water supply is not only a goal in itself, but also opens up scope for greater social and economic participation by women. Ultimately, it is not only they themselves who benefit from this, but also their families and their environment. This is where the project “Becoming stronger together” comes in.

Project location

The project is being implemented in the Ilu and Tole woredas in the South West Shewa zone of the Oromia region. The location is about 70 km southwest of the capital Addis Ababa. The partner organization “Facilitator for Change” (see below) is already active there with a community development project and therefore well networked within the local structures.

Project beneficiaries

The project directly targets 460 women, who will be organized into self-help groups and given the means to generate their own income. In addition, some 1,400 people will gain access to clean water, and over 2,000 will benefit from training on WASH (water sanitation hygiene) and gender equality.

Project goal

The project aims to improve the structural situation of women in the project area. To this end, self-help groups are founded within which women are empowered to organize themselves, generate their own income and thus improve their socio-economic situation and that of their families in the long term and sustainably. The aim is also to secure the supply of clean water in the project area.


To achieve this, the project includes the following activities:

  • Catchment of three water sources and drilling of two new shallow wells.
  • Distribution of donkeys for water transport
  • Establishment and training of water committees to ensure sustainable maintenance and management of water resources
  • Establishment and support of self-help groups for women working together towards sustainable income generation (production of sustainable cooking stoves, fruit and vegetable cultivation, animal husbandry)
  • Promoting awareness of the importance of gender equality and improving women’s opportunities for participation
  • Provide materials and training to promote income-generating activities.
  • Exchange with existing women’s cooperatives and organize public events to further disseminate project results

Local partner organisation

Facilitator for Change is a national non-governmental community development organization with no religious, political or governmental affiliation. It was founded in Ethiopia with the vision of strengthening prosperity and resilience, especially in rural communities. Since its inception in 1998, the NGO has a strong track record of working with grassroots communities, (local) government institutions, and donor partners to design and implement community-based development programs.

August 2023 until February 2025

140.000 Euro

Bundesministerium für Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit

Luca Wesel


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