The Livelihoods Reality of Micro and Small Enterprise Operators: Evidences from Woreda One of Lideta Sub-city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


This qualitative research was conducted at woreda I of the Udela sub city in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the overall aim of assessing the overall livel ihoods situation of MSE operators specifically by examining issues related to context, capital assets, role of institutions, policies and processes, and finally the livelihood outcomes of working in MSEs. The study targeted those cooperative MSEs engaged in metal and wood work activities. The data generated to meet these objectives were collected via semi- stmctured interviews, key-informant interviews, focused group discussion, and non-participant observations, while subsequent analys is was done in light of the Sustainable Li velihoods Framework (SLF).The studied operators and their MSEs were vu lnerable to many conteJ\'tual factors with both facilitative (such as the prevalence of free market system, decentralization, federalist state stmcture, price ceiling, presence of general favorable policy environment and political leadership) and hindering ( like market shortage, misconception of the society, inflation, high and increasing price of inputs and basic commodities, poor access to social facilities and infrastructure, tenure insecurity, inconvenient working place, and bureaucratic work procedures) roles.In relation to their level and access to various types of capital assets, the operators have relatively better access to and level of social, political, and human assets. It is also found that, al though not equal to the level of possession of the previously-indicated three types of assets, the operators own a significant amount of financial and physical assetsA number of formal and informal governmental, non- governmental, private and commercial institutions have played helpful role during the establishment and operation of the studied MSEs through creating better policy environment, organizing the operators to form MSEs, credit and training provision, increasing the political capacity of members, and finally prov idi ng mutual support. Yet, some of the shortcomings associated with these institutions and with an adverse effect on the MSEs are inflexible working procedu res, lack of commitment and responsiveness, and adopting unsu itable policiesIn due course, it was found that the problems chall enging the targeted MSEs were market, institution, operator, MSE and society related. The reported outcomes of this livelihood strategy were increased income and household asset ownership, better access to food and health services, increased exposure and level of technical and other social skills, becoming a law-abiding, self-confident, self-re liant, and productive individual with enlarged social and political capacity. The study mainly suggests such measures as alleviating the market problem of the MSEs; improving the provision and current state of public infrastructures; and increasing the capacity of executives and the operators themselves.



Micro and Small Enterprise Operators