|Raising women’s cooperatives in Jimma|
The Jimma branch of Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia has helped 80 female sex workers (FSWs) organize into eight women’s cooperatives of ten women each. Wondwossen Beyene, Jimma branch outreach coordinator, stated that five out of the eight cooperatives have already started operation while the rest are going through prior administrative procedures before they start operation.
Explaining the involvement of Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia in setting up the cooperatives, Wondwossen Beyene stated that their office helped the women attain legal business licenses in their fields of venture and put three of them up for self help group saving. He further notified that the branch office facilitated the issuance of Kebele IDs for the women and final commissioning of the cooperatives into action.
Wondwossen said that Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia contacted other NGOs operating in Jimma to take the cooperatives under their wings. Accordingly, he went on to say, FLM has taken three cooperatives and provided them with materials they need to get their business running. Timret Lehibret also worked on behalf of the cooperatives to have the city administration give them working space in the city’s market. Its effort paid off as the city granted their wish by during just that.
Another three cooperatives went under OSSA and the NGO granted them fifteen thousand birr each as seed money. Wondwossen said that Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia’s Jimma branch is working with the city administration to get them the working space they need.
Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia’s Wise UP program, Wondwossen went to say, also gave sixty thousand birr of seed money to have one of the cooperatives in action. It also facilitated the city’s granting of working space for the cooperative. He stated that the cooperative built a ten roomed shower service complex and have a capital of thirty thousand birr at the moment.
Wondwossen said that the cooperatives are engaged in café services and juice bars. He also added that the cooperatives undertake the catering service in the occasion of high profile meetings held by the Jimma branch of Timret Lehiwot. He finally noted that the cooperatives have given hope to the female sex workers with six already quitting their sex work.