August 12, 2020 By Ashenafi Mitiku Since officially declared as pandemic in March 2020, COVID 19 has disrupted the life and socio economic activities of humanities across the globe. In addition to infecting millions and killing hundred thousands people across the world, the pandemic has affected the income and livelihoods of many more millions in different parts of the world. Ethiopia is no exception to this state of affairs.
In Ethiopia, sectors such as hotel and tourism hit hard by the pandemic compelling many to lose their job including the government. The pandemic strangely affected all kinds of business be it small or big. Yeshi,who is in her forties and mother of three, earns her income by selling earthenware products. She is also one of the thousands of beneficiaries of Timret le Hiwot Ethiopia,( coalition for life) anon-governmental charity organization with social enterprise wing, based in Ethiopia. In its wider project, Timret le hiwot Ethiopia have benefitted women who are destitute and neglected. These women, numbering more than 5000, have taken life skill and entrepreneurship trainings in various fields such as pottery, weaving, hair dressing among others so that they produce and sell their product and earn income to support their families.Yeshi is one of them who earns income from earthenware products. Unfortunately, the working hands of Yeshi could not feed her family member due to the current pandemic. “There is no market for our products due to COVID 19 and we lost our income facing hardship”, says Yeshi with sad voice.
Mesfin Kifle is the social enterprise manager at Timret le Hiwot Ethiopia who said that there used to be a market linkage to sell their produce before the outbreak of the pandemic but not anymore. He further says some women are more vulnerable for poverty due to their loss of income.
Hearing the news of this story, Addis Ababa chamber of commerce and sectoral association board of directors and senior managers paid a visit to the working site of these women on 7th August 2020, donated food and edible oils for 150 women who lost their market due to COVID 19. Since the outbreak of the disease, Addis Chamber took numerous measures in creating COVID awareness for the business community as well as carrying out in depth survey report with the intention of mitigating the impacts of COVID 19 in business communities.
This is the latest intervention of Addis chamber in reaching out affected business communities in the capital Addis Ababa. While delivering the food items ,Mesenbet Shenkute, the president of Addis chamber said that the donation will help only to satisfy the urgent need of the women however Addis Chamber intends to support these women permanently by designing new projects in partnership with the local and international partners, further says the president. She further states that ,Addis chamber encourages and supports such kinds of women not to give up for any kinds of challenges further says in her encouraging speech.
“These are my heroes who never stretch their hands for food aid but now they face hardship due to the global pandemic”, says Kibret Abebe , the renowned social entrepreneur and board member of Addis chamber. The working hands of these strong women should be supported and they should feel people are on their side at this critical period,Kibret further explains. Aid has never been the solution in alleviating poverty, it is rather the way out for escaping poverty,and as such should be encouraging and supporting such kinds of brave members of society should continue, Kibret adds. Women like Yeshi and many others are working in a difficult working environment hoping better days to come soon.