Assefa Abera, a 50 year old male weaver from Chencha, is married and has three children, aged 3 , 5 and 12. He has been weaving for 35 years and he farms different crops to help supplement his income in order to send his children to school. Before the MEDA EDGET project, Assefa had no history of saving.
Assefa heard about EDGET after he was recruited as one of the target clients by MEDA's partner, Mission for Community Development Program (MCDP), in 2012. He attended trainings on financial literacy, through the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) and market linkages. Technical weaving training was also provided, which included topics on designing to produce quality products, time management, customer handling, and cost & pricing provided by the designer for a large airline's order.
Assefa is one of the hardest working and the most proactive weavers on the airline order. He is known for his quiet behaviour and he usually stays late working to ensure quality. To date, he has produced and delivered 50 products for the airline's order and he has been able to earn 12,000 birr (USD $645). As a result of his increased income, he is able to buy school uniforms for his kids. He is also able to hire labour to work on his wheat, sorghum, and cabbage farm, allowing him to focus on his weaving activities.
Through the EDGET project, Assefa saved 10 birr per week for about a year. In addition to his VSLA savings, he is also able to contribute 80 birr per week to one of the informal saving associations called "Equb". He can save more because he is earning more. One phrase he stated again and again was "It is always good to save more when you get more because you never know what will come next". Assefa concluded by saying:
"I have a big dream for the future to change my family's life and to upgrade my weaving business by continuing market linkages with designers. I am working my very best to fulfill the interest of high end market players to sustain the market linkage I have now".