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An older woman carefully walks through the diesel fume clouded streets of Addis Ababa, carrying a burden of wood to sell for no more than a few dollars at the market.

Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association

(FWFWCA)

 

Based in: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Year established: 1994

The Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association (FWFWCA) is an organization devoted to bettering the lives of Ethiopian women who previously worked as “fuel wood carriers” – women who manually cut down eucalyptus wood (often illegally) outside the city of Addis Ababa, carried that wood into the marketplaces of the city, and sold each day’s load for less than $1 – by providing them an alternate source of income through teaching of valuable skills like weaving, and access to the materials and tools needed to produce and sell baskets, scarves, and carpets.

Established in 1994, the FWFWCA began as a self-help group with only 155 members through a seed grant from the International Labor Organization and the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor Affairs. FWFWCA gradually became self-sufficient through sales of products in its on-site shop, at local trade fairs, and to members of the Ethiopian Diaspora. Today, the group is set to expand its reach and focus on both poverty and the environment, targeting an estimated 30,000 women across Ethiopia who collect wood and offering a broader range of skills, including forestry management and the marketing of crafts and portable stoves.

As a grassroots organization, the FWFWCA does not have a website or social media pages. In its effort to most substantially improve the lives of Ethiopian women by providing access to a living wage and to help the environment by decreasing deforestation, the FWFWCA has partnered with Connected in Hope, a United States based organization devoted to empowering Ethiopian women and strengthening the families they support. Connected in Hope not only sells FWFWCA scarves in its online shop (and provides each customer a picture of the women who wove each scarf), but also takes donations on behalf of the FWFWCA.

Connected in Hope and the FWFWCA work together to better the lives of Ethiopian women, and Ethiopia as a whole.

Get Involved

To learn more about the effort to support the FWFWCA visit – connectedinhope.org