Ila Robale is one of the beneficiaries of the rural women economic empowerment joint programme in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. Her husband died 20 years ago, leaving her to raise five children on her own. The joint programme aims to work with numerous rural savings and credit cooperatives, and Ila has been a member of the Savings and Credit Cooperative Society in her village for over ten years. She values the “saving culture” this has helped her developed, as it has allowed her to upgrade her house and keep her children in school, among other things. The loan she will receive as part of the joint programme will be an additional boon, bringing her closer to her goals: “When I receive the loan through the programme, I will start to save for purchasing an ox with an estimated cost of 8,000 Birr (about 369USD),” she says. At the moment she has only one ox and is required to spend her money on renting a second ox in order to plough her family’s 1.5 hectares of land. Once she has two oxen of her own and no longer needs to spend this money she will be able to afford to buy fertilizer to increase the yield of her land, providing long-term benefits for Ila and her family.