Interviewing Henok Laike (DOT)

Hemok Laike works for Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), CARE’s training partner for the ‘Women for Women’ project in Ethiopia. DOT delivered three levels of training for the women, ranging from basic through to more advanced. 

How did you develop the training materials?

As we were working with many illiterate women we needed to adapt our training materials, this included creating a pictorial training manual. We developed this with support from our headquarters in Ottawa.

What training did you deliver?

We delivered three levels of training. The basic ‘Reach-Up’ business training was delivered to 5,000 women and covered topics such as mapping assets, managing people and how to save for one vision. The advanced business training ‘Start-Up’ covered subjects such as how to estimate annual sales and income and knowing and reaching customers, this was delivered to 665 women.  The specialised ‘Scale-Up’ training was delivered to 350 women and was based on a coaching approach.

“DOT provided accessible training materials and an extremely motivating way of bringing the women together.”

Reintje van Haeringen, Chief Executive, CARE Netherlands

What were your highlights?

Listening to the women speak about the training really touched our hearts. Hearing directly how the training had changed their lives was overwhelming.  Being able to deliver the ‘Reach-Up’ training to such a huge number of participants and to a high standard was also a highlight.

How important is collaboration?

Being a businesswoman in Ethiopia is difficult unless you are in a group – being together helps you to access finance. Even facing challenges in a group is better than at an individual level. By bringing them together through the training, the women were able to see more effectively the fruits of their collective labour.

“We could see a ripple effect around these women. This training has really impacted their lives.”

What is your advice for budding entrepreneurs?

Women need business know-how and basic entrepreneurial skills, such as customer management, marketing and financial management. If they don’t have these skills then I’d advise them to take our Start-Up training!

What do you think the future holds for these women?

Continuous follow-up is crucial to support these women to the next level. Start-up and seed capital is not enough on its own. We need to support them through the process step by step and help them as they mature their businesses. Follow up is critical to the ultimate success of the value chain.

Describe the project in three words.

Impactful; Women-focused; Collaborative.

Read the Collective Power report on women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia here