With the financial support of the Embassy of Finland, the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF) conducted entrepreneurship skills training for organized job-seeking women and youth in the pastoral Woredas of South Omo Zone to enable them to engage in the income generation activities. The training took place on February 21-22, 2024, in Key Afer and Dimeka Towns located in the South Omo Zone. A total of 90 trainees from Hamer and Bena Tsemay Woredas, as well as the Turmi city administration, actively participated. Notably, government officials from each Woreda, representatives from Omo Bank, and project focal persons were also in attendance.

During the opening of the training program in Key Afer Town, Mrs. Yemisirach Aliyo, the Head of the Women and Children’s Affairs Office of Bena Tsemay Woreda, acknowledged the efforts of the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF) in bolstering the economic prospects of women and youth pastoralists. She highlighted that HRF has been actively engaged in this endeavor since the middle of 2021 in the Woreda.

Additionally, Mrs. Yemisirach mentioned that the HRF’s support has already led to job opportunities for 209 women and youth who are part of 23 organized enterprises across 15 kebeles. Furthermore, she highlighted that 50 new beneficiaries are currently participating in the entrepreneurship skills training program. Moreover, she expressed her personal connection as a pastoralist daughter, emphasized the significant societal pressure faced by women due to traditional practices. She stressed the importance of enhancing women’s economic capacity as a means to alleviate this problem and empower them to make independent decisions. Recognizing the considerable development needs of the area and the requirement for targeted support, she expressed gratitude towards the Foundation for their implemented projects.

Likewise, Mr. Fora Garsho, the Chief Administrator of Hamer Woreda, commended the HRF for the efforts in implementing development initiatives aimed at achieving social and economic transformation within the marginalized pastoral community.

He emphasized the fruitful collaboration between the foundation and the government. Furthermore, Mr. Fora emphasized that a significant number of pastoral women lacked a reliable source of income, leading to their marginalization within society. He highlighted how the women who have benefited from the project not only provided financial support to their families but also experiencing an improvement in their decision-making abilities. Lastly, he assured that the Woreda administration would extend the required support for any future activities undertaken by the HRF in the area.

Ms. Debrework Leulseged, a Senior Expert in the HRF’s Youth and Women’s Economic Empowerment Program, emphasized the foundation’s efforts to economically empower women and youth in pastoral communities, focusing on areas in need of equitable development. Over the past three years, significant strides have been made in Hamer and Bena Tsemay Woredas, as well as Turmi city administration. During this time, job-seeking women and youths organized at enterprises level and engaged in the income generation activities, leading to tangible benefits. She added that the new users who participated in the training were given training that would enable them to engage in market-oriented business sectors based on their needs.

During the training forum, various successful associations, which were established and supported by the foundation, had the opportunity to share their experiences. In Key Afer Town, associations involved in day-old chick rearing and gardening shared their insights and knowledge. Likewise, in Dimeka Town, associations engaged in day-old chick rearing, as well as baking and selling ‘Enjera’ (a traditional Ethiopian bread), shared their experiences with the newly organized trainees, providing valuable insights and guidance.

The participants in the training expressed gratitude for the foundation’s support, as they found the skills training customized to their specific need. This targeted approach empowered them to confidently enter the workforce, and they thanked the HRF for its valuable assistance and guidance in their professional journeys.


Hailemariam & Roman Foundation

February 2024, South Omo