- The services of WISE in saving and credit initiatives have proven to be successful and a significant majority of the target women have become productive and self-reliant. The main reasons for choosing the savings and credit cooperatives (SACCOs) approach for the micro-finance services is that the approach provides for women's leadership development and gives them ownership of the institutions. Members are able to easily access sizeable loans for their businesses and they are directly involved in making decisions on pertinent issues such as the rate of interest on loans and savings, size of loans, repayment periods, etc. Surveys on women who have taken advantage of WISE services indicate that some of the target women have been able to transform their businesses from micro to small-scale, and that they have been able to create job opportunities for many people.
- The overall aim of the programme of bringing about holistic development in women and girls and contributing to the reduction of poverty has been satisfactorily attained with vivid results, witnessed by various studies and evaluations done on the performance of WISE. As an independent survey revealed, the success rate of WISE’s interventions stands at 82.5%. This was found in an assessment of the success rate and factors contributing to the success taking a random sample of 1000 target members (Reta, 2011). Key factors contributing to the success, as stated by the surveyed women, were, in a ranking order, i) the training programme, ii) the staff follow-up providing advice and mentoring and iii) the loan services.
- WISE has been able to enable its direct target women and girls who have been excluded from the formal financial system to access resources, services and essential skills for self-reliance in order to improve their living and working conditions.
- Strong sense of awareness could be created among members about issues related to self-development and in accessing and producing goods and services to meet basic needs as well as to ensure the progressive improvement of living standards for themselves and their families.
- Through the home and results-based literacy approach, over 5000 illiterate members were assisted to access literacy and numeracy skills. The provision of literacy skills has increased confidence and enabled members to strengthen their businesses.
- The various trainings have brought about changes in attitude regarding value to self and work and inculcated saving habits among members.
- Participation and exercise of leadership in community affairs have increased among the target women. Some women are involved in governance structures of women’s associations, Woreda and Sub-city administrative organs. Few women were registered to contest in the 2005 general election for parliament and regional council seats.
- WISE successfully lobbied government for the provision of land (2228m2) for the establishment of its own training and products display centre and has been able to build a full-fledged women’s training centre. The full-fledged women’s training centre has been set up on a three-storey building constructed with donor and generated money. The construction of an extension building of the same size was also completed and inaugurated in 2013. The training services have been licensed by the sub-city Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and trade offices.
- The formation of saving and credit cooperatives has provided a newly created power that enabled women to interact effectively with external bodies, to influence policies and access some assets that were formerly out of reach.
- The impression on the impact of WISE’s activities on the lives of target women and girls has attracted considerable attention resulting in interest to replicate its programme and hence demand for its services. WISE is keen to share its unique methodology; thus trainings and sharing of good practices have been offered to various governmental and non-governmental organizations, working in different regions of the country, seeking to implement similar strategies. (see annex for outreach)
Among the recognitions and awards WISE received are the following.
➢ CCRDA first-rank award in 2007 for its excellent work with community-based organizations,
➢ the Ethio-Sudan World Bank Development Marketplace award in 2003 for innovative ideas,
➢ recognition of excellence by the Addis Ababa City Government along with 10 NGOS from over 300 NGOs working in the city, 2018.
➢ Certificate of recognition from the local government for being a model organization in the area of micro-entrepreneurs development 2008.
➢ First rank award for urban poverty reduction by CCRDA, the umbrella organization for CSOs with over 350 members, for good practice in 2012.
➢ Sinidu’s award from the Network Ethiopian Women Association (NEWA)
➢ YWCA’s award for its outstanding performance on women’s economic empowerment.
- WISE was recognized as one of the African Centers of Excellence for Women’s Leadership Program by the Institute of International Education. The program was implemented in four African countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda. Moreover, WISE is the one organization selected from Ethiopia for the project led by the Coady International Institute, Canada, in which three African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia) take part. The project is on strengthening women’s leadership for economic empowerment and food security.