Empowering Female-led Households in Ethiopia

Published Date: 
Tue, 10/19/2021


Maryan now has new work opportunities after learning of livelihood options in Ethiopia's Somali region. Photo: Kaye Viray/ IOM  


Maryan has 10 children and used to strugglto support them on her limited income.  

“I did not know what to do. I wanted a good life for my kids, far from the worries of displacement. I knew I had to do something,” she says.  

Vulnerable Ethiopian women like Maryan face many financial and social challenges. They are often poorer than men because they earn less, are not as well educated, and are increasingly becoming heads of households, with limited or no financial resources to support their families. Many have limited decision-making power in their communities. Apart from these challenges, many women already face being displaced due to conflict and climate change.  

Maryan now raises a smile when she looks at an apron she is wearing, courtesy of a recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) projectEmpowering Female-headed Households Through Livelihood Support in Ethiopia – the apron reads: Every Woman Can Make a Difference. 

IOM has helped empower both Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and female-headed households in local communities in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions by providing access to livelihood opportunities. through training sessions on how to establish a business and by making local communities aware of the importance of providing female-friendly work environments. Homes headed by female IDPs are often among the most vulnerable families in displaced communities but thanks to IOM and key partner the Ethiopian government, these women can now independently diversify their income and find innovative ways to build financial independence. 

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Trade fairs organized by IOM in the Oromia and Somali regions have given women a chance to showcase their products to their communities. 

woman proudly shows the camels she’s able to herd after IOM’s support. Photo: Kaye Viray/ IOM 


A group of women selling a variety of goods during a Somali region trade fair. Photo: Kaye Viray/ IOM