It is universally accepted that agriculture sector is incapable of creating sufficient gainful employment, food security and spurring economic growth in rural areas of developing countries. Even if our country Ethiopia practice agriculture for a long period, expected outcome is not attained on sustainable basis to the livelihood of the households and food insecurity until nowadays due to limited attention for the high potential of the non-farm sector in the government policies and strategies. Similarly, the challenges and opportunities of women in non-farm livelihood diversification still not studied in the rural economy of Ethiopia. Therefore the purpose of this study was to explore the challenges and opportunities of women in non-farm livelihood diversification in case of Shebel Berenta Woreda. Qualitative research method with case study design was employed for data collection and data analysis. Qualitative data was collected from 10 interviewees, seven key informants, 28 focus group discussants and observation and the data analyzed through thematic analysis. The result revealed that negative outlook to handicrafts, shortage of working capital, limited market demands, absence of institutional support, lack of skill training, absence of technology, and laws and regulation were challenges women faced to participate in NFA. While, the presence of family support, natural resources, business plan preparation and mutual support in their own association were the opportunities for women to participate in non-farm activities. In line with the problems identified, the local government should work on awareness creation and education to women’s, provision of support, built local infrastructure, provision of credit and training.
Keywords: Livelihoods, Diversification, Non-farm, Challenges, Opportunities, Ethiopia