Under Livelihoods Promotion, Pro Pride had been implementing various activities to facilitate access of eligible community members to savings and credit and other micro enterprise development related supports in its intervention areas starting from June 1995. To institutionalize these initiatives, Pro Pride established a Micro finance Institution called “Gasha” with 764 clients of the savings and credit program, which the organization implemented prior to establishment of the institution. This had enabled the organization to reach large number of eligible people, most of them women, with savings and credit and related services.
Pro Pride had also promoted self-help group approach as one of the prime strategies to bring about social and economic empowerment among poor women thereby contribute to poverty alleviation efforts in the country. As part of this effort, the organization had assisted eligible women to organize themselves in groups and mobilize own resources and use these resources to engage in micro and small businesses, and hence improve their livelihoods. Pro Pride had implemented these projects among different communities of Addis Ababa and Chiro of Oromia Region. The organization had identified eligible women through wealth rankings conducted among communities of its intervention areas, and hence organized them in self-help groups (SHGs) with membership size ranging from 15 to 20.
More than 5,000 poor and disadvantaged women identified through wealth ranking under projects implemented in Addis Ababa, Chiro towns of Oromia Region, and in Dore Dawa and Amhara Region implemented as part of other projects. As part of the strategy, Pro Pride had given group members orientations as well as trainings focusing on self-help group approach in general and savings mobilization, credit, record keeping, leadership. The organization also assisted SHG members to meet every week, make savings on regular basis, reflect, and take actions on their regular meetings on issues related to financial and social matters. They also established linkage with concerned local government bodies, initiate and engage in community and social action programs at village levels. As a result of these efforts, the groups had mobilized more than Birr 5,000,000 savings from among their respective members and also disbursed more than Birr 8,500,000 to their respective members until the end of 2017.
The organization had also assisted groups to come together to form Cluster Level Association (CLA) with two representatives of 8 to 10 SHGs of more than 6 months old. After establishment of the CLAs, members were provided training on their roles and responsibilities including forming new SHGs; strengthening of member SHGs (through monitoring, training, auditing, conflict resolution); planning and implementing need-based projects for the community; addressing social issues and establishing value system in the community; mobilizing need-based resources and services; and establishing linkages and networking with concerned bodies.
The organization had also involved in the establishment of a federation of self-help groups at Addis Ababa level in collaboration with other self-help group approach promoting organizations and COSAP (Consortium of Self-Help Group Promoting Organizations) to strengthen engagement of women on issues affecting their lives and create a forum that would help their voices heard. As member of (COSAP), Pro Pride had also involved in different activities promoting women empowerment through self-help group approach, and the need for legislation to strengthen this initiative, and enhance the contribution of such structure to the economic growth of the country.