Ebese’s Story: How two sheep transformed a family

In November 2012, Laura Brown, one of the Maternity Worldwide trustees visited our project in Ethiopia.  Laura was keen to see how the income generation schemes, started by Maternity Worldwide in 2006, had made a difference so she set about finding one of the first women to receive a loan from Maternity Worldwide.

Ethiopia - Ebese and her sheep

Meet Ebese.

Ebese received 325 Birr (£11) seed funding from Maternity Worldwide to buy two female sheep to breed with her existing ram, amazingly both sheep she received were already pregnant!  She sold one of the sheep for 410 Birr along with the lambs and raised an additional 1200 Birr.  With this money she bought a donkey to help her carry goods to market in Gimbie (10km away).  The original remaining female sheep (pictured) has continued to breed and produced 30 more sheep over the years.  Ebese has sold the 30 sheep at market.

The additional income from the sale of lambs has helped Ebese to:
  • Ethiopia - Ebese and her son - croppedfinish building her house
  • educate her son (pictured) by paying for him to go to school
  • lend funds to others to set up their own small businesses
  • become a respected member of the community
  • become a role model for other women through her empowerment and knowledge

This relatively small amount of money has helped Ebese to transform her life and opportunities for her family.  By enabling Ebese to earn her own money Maternity Worldwide have allowed Ebese to become independent and make her own decisions about what she spends her money on.

We believe in providing sustainable ways of making a difference which will continue long after we have gone.  By empowering women to become financially independent and to become the decision makers about their own sexual and reproductive health, Maternity Worldwide are helping women to pay for transport to health centres when they are pregnant – this is helping to address one of the three issues contributing to maternal mortality.


Our empowerment training and income generation programme in Ethiopia saw 90% of women make a profit within the 2 years of the programme, women donated equivalent of their seed funding to a local village savings fund used to help other disadvantaged women in the community to start their own small businesses and there was 51% increase in the number of women delivering their baby at a health centre.

To find out more about the three delay model please click here.