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8,000 women recruited to tackle poverty

An Ethiopian entrepreneur is taking a social enterprise approach to tackling poverty in Ethiopia with new support secured to scale up her organisation.

Muday Mitiku has been accepted into Reach for Change’s highly competitive Rapid Scale programme and will look to employ around 4,000 to 8,000 vulnerable women through her various businesses in the coming years all throughout Ethiopia.

As the Social Enterprise World Forum arrives in Ethiopia tomorrow, the Ethiopian government is also supporting Muday with land to scale her support to more vulnerable children and women in Addis Ababa.

Muday is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. She runs a farm, a retail store, a beauty salon, an injera and bread business, you name it. But that’s not all. At the core of all her businesses is a deep desire to create lasting social change in Ethiopian society; a desire to make lives better for children and solve the root causes of child poverty.

In addition to her multiple businesses, Muday runs the Muday Charity Association which carries out numerous initiatives to improve the lives of children and women. One initiative is a school, named Fresh and Green Academy.

It provides quality education as well as school supplies and three meals each day for vulnerable children. This overcomes barriers that prevent them from accessing publicly funded schools where meals and supplies are expected to be covered by the child’s family. Often, instead of attending school, these children have to beg or work in very poor conditions.

The Muday Charity Association also provides housing, food and education for orphans and homeless children. Through these initiatives, Muday Charity Association currently supports hundreds of students from birth to university age, who come from such disadvantaged backgrounds.

Muday funds the charity association with the profits from her businesses and through support from donors. She uses these funds to pay for teacher and staff salaries, meals and school supplies, shelter for the children, and more.

But Muday – knowing that these initiatives alone won’t stop cycles of child poverty – also supports vulnerable young women, most of them mothers, by helping them to lift themselves – and their children – out of poverty.

This arm of Muday’s work provides women with skills training and employment, and is initiative she has been running since the year 2000. One of the women’s empowerment initiatives is in an injera business (a staple food in Ethiopia somewhat similar to flat bread).

Through this business, women are able to earn a decent living to provide for themselves and their children. Muday explains:

If the mother is healthy, the kids become healthy. If you are only supporting the kids, the mother is not healthy and you are not solving the problem.

Last year, Muday was selected for the Reach for Change Incubator and has since received crucial support to help her grow her social enterprise. Muday received coaching and training in human resources and finance – areas she says were particularly valuable to her – and she increased her revenues by at least 30% from 2018 to 2019. She also grew her network through Reach for Change and met people with different skill sets with whom she collaborates for mutual benefit.

Muday’s dream of eliminating child poverty, economically empowering women and ensuring all Ethiopian children have access to quality education has now transformed into an actionable plan; one that the multi-tasking social entrepreneur can’t wait to tackle!

The Rooftop is reporting from the Social Enterprise World Forum thanks to support from the British Council.

Image: Reach for Change

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise campaigns.