“Blessed,” a Savings Group Story

June 28, 2013

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In April, we were introduced to a Savings Group (or Self Help Group) in the Arsi Negele village of Adje. Several of the all-women group graciously shared their story with us. The name they gave their group was “Blessed”. Their demeanor varied from the obvious vocal leader and the quietly confident. Their strength and visible hopefulness did not vary. Faces lit up one by one as we asked them how the group had transformed their life in a short time. Each woman shared a different significant purchase they were able to make with their savings – a goat, chickens, grain, and children’s clothing. Their undaunted view of the future was summed up by the statement: “We have no doubt will be developed men and women.” The Save+Water Campaign beginning this weekend is intended to help expand the influence of Savings Groups to more men and women and villages in this region. We are combining the effort to raise money for safe water projects because it is this kind of confidence and hope that helps rural Ethiopians, and our beloved people group, the Arsi Oromo, keep on using clean water in clean ways.

Even though about half the women were unable to join us, representatives from each of the major Ethiopian religions, Evangelical, Orthodox, and Muslim were present. When asked whether meeting like this would occur prior the establishment of their group, each emphatically said no. Their meeting place on the grounds of an evangelical church is an unlikely place for some of the group members to ever step foot. Their genuine affection for one another was evident. This coming together is vital for infrastructure projects to last. As we raise funds to help create access to safe, clean water for three new villages in West Arsi, we are confident in their sustainability because of the development of savings groups like “Blessed” in Adje. They provide the motivation and problem-solving capacity to manage challenges that inevitably when maintaining a major plumbing project like a village well serving 400 people daily. This understanding is relatively new to us, but it makes so much sense. If it does for you, take a look at this video and head to our campaign page and see how you can help make the benefits of safe water last. www.africawaterandlife.com/savewater

Save+Water Campaign from Africa Water and Life on Vimeo.