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News  |  16 April 2019

Income and savings hugely increased in transformative project with CARE

Focusing on women living in the slums of Addis Ababa, our recently ended project with CARE in Ethiopia aimed to show that women could significantly improve their lives by becoming entrepreneurs. The results are a great success.

This project innovatively focused on the development of a small group of women-led social enterprises. Women have expressed how aware they are of not only their own development, and their family’s, but also their mark on the community: how can they make a positive impact in the community that they live in.

The project has achieved great results; 5,000 women have been reached with basic business training, 665 women-led enterprises received advanced business development support and 50 social businesses were established. CARE also supported these women to set up and run their own savings and loans associations.

As a result, the women improved the quality of their enterprises, increased their income and, ultimately, were able to take out and repay loans. By the end of the project the women included in the project state that they have increased their income by 500% and whereas about 70% of the target group did not have any savings in the beginning of the project, this number was reduced to 3.6% in 2018!

“It’s such a privilege to be able to catalyze real and lasting change in people’s lives through our partnerships. These results are not only amazing, but they are sustainable and will live on long after we have phased out our support."

Maria Bystedt, Project Manager at H&M Foundation

One of the women taking part in the project was Enguday Adugna who, despite not having a business idea at the start, was intent on becoming an entrepreneur. This determined woman came up with an innovative idea that was not only a new source of income for her family, but also of huge benefit to the wider community.  Enguday’s social enterprise – making nutritious gruel for local hospital patients – is steadily on the rise.

“I never realised that there was a source of income for me in my neighbourhood. I want to expand the business as there is another nearby hospital if I can solve working space challenges. I want to create jobs for other women as well.”

The total donation of 20 million Swedish krona to this project, was made possible by H&M customers. During the holiday season of 2014, the H&M Foundation made a donation for every holiday gift label set that was sold to an H&M customer.

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