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Project information

Financial services for rural communities

In rural Ethiopia, access to financial services can improve livelihoods. For farmers, the ability to save increases resilience to shocks such as droughts and access to credit enables investment in enterprise. We work to increase wealth and food security by promoting financial inclusion.

January 2016 - December 2018

Charity information: Self Help Africa

Self Help Africa logo
  • Need


    Access to financial services is crucial to rural development but Ethiopia has one of the lowest financial inclusion ratios of sub-Saharan Africa, with only 22% of adults holding an account and just 14% able to access credit. Financial services are largely concentrated in urban areas and Rural Savings and Credit Cooperatives (RuSACCOs) serve the rural population. However in the poorest areas, RuSACCOs are at a very early stage in their development, with low average membership and savings.


    We will work with four RuSACCO unions and their member cooperatives, building their operational capacity through tailored accounting, management and operational training programmes, providing essential equipment and supporting the development of business plans. As a result of this intervention, RuSACCOs will increase their reach and improve their offer to members and more smallholder households will benefit from access to saving and credit facilities.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Strengthening RuSACCOs and Unions’ capacity to improve financial inclusion


    » Conducting annual MicroScore assessment
    » Developing and implementing IT capacity building support
    » Business planning for RuSACCOs
    » Savings Mobilisation for RuSACCOs

    What success will look like

    RuSACCO’s improvement of at least 3 points on the 5 point MicroScore tool which analyses governance, management, service offer, and financial performance.

    Aim 2

    Increasing the capacity of RuSACCOs to increase their reach and financial services


    » Training of RuSACCO bookkeepers
    » Training of RuSACCO management committee
    » Education of 120 women board members in RuSACCOs

    What success will look like

    9,702 new members; financial access for members increased by 30%; female members increased by 15% and women holding 30% of leadership positions in RuSACCOs.

    Aim 3

    Supporting knowledge sharing and dissemination of best practice


    » Establish and conduct stakeholder steering committee meetings
    » Establish and conduct RuSACCOs board learning and exchange forum
    » Project evaluation

    What success will look like

    Success will be the completion of steering committees’ and learning, exchange forums’ and project evaluation.

  • Impact


    The aim of this project is to increase income and food security in rural areas by improving access to sustainable financial services. Through improving the operational and management standards of the RuSACCOs and Unions, they will achieve self-sufficiency and serve the long-term financial needs of rural households. Project beneficiaries will expect to see an increase in 1) their resilience to external shocks 2) savings and 3) disposable income.


    Low membership, poor saving culture and illiteracy of the rural community are the key risks in the implementation of this project. To overcome these challenges, we are creating awareness through capacity building interventions such as financial education workshops and adult literacy training


    Donors to this project will receive an annual or twice yearly report (according to requirements) that details activities, achievements and challenges as well as considering future improvements. Financial details, case studies and photographs will also be provided.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £63,279

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      Amount Heading Description
      £2,874 Monitoring and Evaluation Annual project review, project review meetings, annual audit and creation of M&E reports.
      £12,386 Project Manager Contribution to the cost of the Project Manager
      £2,295 Knowledge Sharing Establish and run learning forum for RuSACCO Unions board of management
      £40,832 Training Training of RuSACCO female board members, the RuSACCO management committee and RuSACCO bookkeepers.
      £4,892 Capacity Building Conducting the annual microscore assessment, undertaking saving, mobilisation activities with RuSACC

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    US Private Donor £33,280 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project will be delivered in three areas of Ethiopia: North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region, North Shewa Zone of Oromia Region and Guraghe Zone of SNNP Region. The combined rural population is 1,398,108 with an average of 74% of people living in severe poverty. The zones have a number of classified food insecure and drought prone woredas. The majority of inhabitants (over 80%) are smallholder farmers, relying on the staple crops of wheat and teff for their livlihoods.


    Over the project lifetime we will support 93,783 (52,061 female) direct beneficiaries. This has been calculated by the current numbers of members plus an average growth of 15% per year. Furthermore, 468,915 family members of the direct beneficiaries will also benefit from this project. In 2018 specifically we will support 9,702 new members and 48,510 of their family members.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have worked with RuSACCOs in 20 districts of Ethiopia since 2007, supporting over 86,231 people. An external evaluation in 2016 showed that RuSACCOs had improved governance, are better organised and managed, and that beneficiaries have improved their financial management and developed a culture of saving. The data showed that on average, disposable income had increased by 711% among households and households considered to be below the standard of living threshold had fallen from 24% to 3%.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Fasil Kelemwerk - Head Of Programmes

    As Head of Programmes, Fasil has oversight of the project, ensuring we are meeting project objectives and dealing with any challenges as they arise.

    Alice Guinan - Programmes Support Coordinator - ~Ethiopia

    Responsible for ensuring communication between Ethiopia and HQ, monitoring and evaluation delivery, programme support and donor reporting.

    Yibetal Asmare - Project Manager

    Responsible for managing the delivery of project activities. An expert in Credit Unions, RuSACCOs and Microfinance Institutions.

' I had a difficult childhood and when I was a young mother I struggled to provide for my children, unable to give them a nutritious diet or even a bed to sleep on. Since joining the RuSACCO project my life has improved and I can afford livestock to work the land and I have betterseeds'

Alem Abebe