While many Ethiopians have been benefiting from the employment opportunities in the Middle East, many others especially those who traveled there illegally were facing various challenges related to their human rights. Apart from the factors in the destination countries where people face problems, many authorities also blame the loop holes on Ethiopia's Labor Proclamation to take the lions’ share of those underlying causes behind such human rights violations on Ethiopian migrant workers for it did not clearly address the issue of international labor migration.
As could be understood from such sources, the Ethiopian government has, in July 2009, made an amendment (proclamation No. 632/2009 on employment exchange service) to the private employment agency proclamation of 1998 (proclamation No. 104/1998) as part of its efforts to improve the protection of its migrant workers in general and women in particular.
The preferred destinations of regular migrants as indicated in various documents are Saudi (79%), followed by Kuwait (20%) and Dubai (1%) in descending order. However, the government, later on, in 2013 officially banned labor migration to the Middle East and Sudan, specifically to Saudi Arabia due to such abuses.
In November 2013, Saudi Arabia evicted more than 163,000 Ethiopian illegal migrants. As noted in an official document entitled ’Support to the reintegration of returnees and to the management of labor migration in Ethiopia CRIS number: FED /2014\ 037-325, many of those repatriated were said to have been victimized to trafficking, abuse and loss of properties. Furthermore, even those returnees who lived there for more than 20 years returned home empty handed.
According to the document, many of those returnees were held in detention centers with limited access to meals, public utilities, and a general lack of privacy and were exposed to severe medical conditions such as physical and psychological trauma, psychiatric illness due to general based violence like suspected rape and respiratory illness, including pneumonia.
These were mentioned to be the driving factors among others behind the Ethiopian government to ban any labor migration to the Middle East till it revises the previous proclamations in a way that enables it address the issue sustainably. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) has, since October 2013, consequently stopped treating such cases; it is almost 4 years from now. There are, as a result, critics from different directions that the proclamation has taken quite a prolonged period of time thinking that illegal migration is on the other hand being aggravated undoubtedly as migrants with an intention of traveling legally since then might have been forced to resort to the illegal one as they had no alternative means to travel to the Middle East.
Having accepted that the new proclamation has taken quite a long time as due care had to be taken for the issues to be deal with was the priceless life of human being, which is not something that can be accomplished overnight, says Zerihun Yeshitila, Illegal Labor Recruitment Prevention Team Leader with MoLSA. He added the concerned body should in the one hand have taken due time to evaluate and identify the gaps of the previous proclamation(s), thereby proceed to the process of drafting a new proclamation which by itself needs quite an extended time. Moreover, the draft had to pass through various discourses so as to gather and incorporate the views and comments of stakeholders such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, and the Federal Attorney General as well as the society at all levels.
The gaps identified from the previous proclamation, as to Zerihun, were basically its legal perspective, implementation and the structure of the concerned body. As was said by him, the Ministry had to therefore, take good experiences from other countries such as Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia whose policies are thought to be good lessons for others in this regard.
Having passed through all those and many other processes not mentioned here, the new proclamation cited as `Ethiopia’s Overseas Employment Proclamation No 923/2016’ is now already ratified, in a way that can avoid the loopholes of the previous proclamation, he added. Asked if the ministry in particular and other concerned ministries believe that the new proclamation can address those gaps identified in the proclamation prior to that he responded that it is believed that the new one is an all-encompassing, so that it would avoid all the problems which Ethiopian labor migrants were facing. “As experts, we believe that it is all inclusive, so as far as we are concerned, it will therefore address those problems,” he said.
He meanwhile noted that though the proclamation was already ratified a year ago, it was not, however, an end by itself for there were other additional preconditions which had to be considered and fulfilled following to that which back it up. But, by now, almost all those preconditions, as to him, are finalized. “The only thing that we are waiting for, right now, is the agencies which could fulfill the requirements indicated in the new proclamation, both former and new applicants, to finalize their license anew in accordance with the new proclamation,” he said. These agencies have to, according to Zerihun, go and look for representatives in the receiving countries which signed the bilateral agreement and deal with them to eventually reach a consensus.
Regarding the gaps expected to be addressed by the new proclamation Overseas Employment and Workers Welfare Protection Directorate director with the Ministry Meselech Assefa on her part said that the previous proclamation does not put any precondition concerning the destination countries. “Previously, our citizens used to be employed in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Lebanon and United Arab Emirates were banned later on. Now, the new proclamation has, however, clearly specified that Ethiopian nationals can go only to those countries which have signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia regarding the issue” she said.
As per the director, there must be, from now on, a clearly defined bilateral agreement and structure between Ethiopia and the receiving countries if labor migrants are to be deployed in any of them. The proclamation, in this regard, states that `deployment of workers for overseas employment in accordance with this proclamation shall be effected if and only if there is a bilateral agreement concluded between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the receiving country`. As could be learnt during the interview, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan are the countries which have, thus far, signed such a bilateral agreement with Ethiopia. Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates are, on the other hand, on the process to join these groups.
Meselech noted that a labor attaché would also be assigned in Ethiopia’s Diplomatic Mission based in the bilateral agreement signatory countries to ensure the proper protection of the rights, safety and dignity of citizens as of their arrival till their return. As could be understood from the new proclamation, MoLSA is mandated to prepare model contract of employment embracing the regular working time, favorable wages for regular working hours and overtime pay, as appropriate, which shall not be lower than the prescribed minimum wage in the receiving country, the appropriate minimum wage set by the bilateral agreement, international agreements ratified by both countries, whichever is highest. Annual leave, weekly rest and other similar vacations and free medication, food and accommodation or offsetting benefits, insurance coverage for life or disability, valid grounds for termination of contract of employment’ among others.
The other worth mentioning point indicated in the new proclamation is that it demands these agencies engaged in the sector should be professionals among other requirements both in terms of knowledge and skill so long as they are to deal with the invaluable lives of human beings. The manager of a given agency in this regard must, for instance, be a degree holder in administration with at least 3 years of work experience.
Zerihun, on his part, added pertaining to this that the amount of money that agencies have to had in their bank account, in the proclamation prior to the new one was 30,000 USD, half in kind and half in cash. But, now, the new proclamation forces them to have 100,000 USD in a blocked bank only in cash for guarantee and 1,000,000 Birr as working capital, as a precondition, in addition to that. (We would like to kindly remind our readers that in the news published under similar theme last Saturday the working capital was wrongly mentioned as birr 100,000.00. We appologize for the error).
As to the concerned bodies of the ministry, the proclamation also clearly states as a criteria that any worker who desires to get an overseas employment should at least be eighth and above grade academically and possess a certificate of occupational competence (COC) issued by the appropriate competence assessment center for the work she is to be employed in and be able to present the certificate of occupational competence. Training would, as to the director, be given from two to three months at a TVET level and it would be, for the time being, given on three main areas where the majority of Ethiopian labor migrants are thought to have been and would be engaged such as in house holding and care giving. The other worth mentioning precondition as to Meselech even prior to the others requirements mentioned so far is that they have to be above 18 years old.
As was noted by Zerihun, previously, citizens had to come to Addis Ababa to finalize the processes as the services were centralized in the metropolis. But, now, citizens can access almost all those services with no need to come to Addis, being in their respective regions, zones, weredas and Kebeles as it is decentralized. It was also learnt that regions cannot, however, send labors abroad for the final contract of any labor has to pass through the Ministry.
As could be known in the interview, from now on wards, agencies can recruit laborers only from the regions where they have branch offices. In other words, an agency which has an office in a given region cannot recruit labor from any other region away from that unlike the previous one. The same is true that no agency which has an office only in Addis Ababa can recruit labor from anywhere else out of Addis. In a nutshell, if the agencies want to recruit labor from various regions, they have to open branch offices in each of the respective regions. Zerihun, on his part added pertaining to this that the previous proclamation did not, as opposed to the new one, clearly indicate about the penalty these agencies would face when breaching the rules and regulations by mistreating or abusing the rights of laborers. As to him, the new proclamation has now; clearly put each type of measure for each and every sort of mishandling.
BY SHUSHAY ADANE
Recently the development commission of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church was acknowledged as the best performer of all local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for the development activities.
The commission which is the developmental wing of the church has been engaged in the activities for years. It signifies the socio economic commitment of the church which is the earliest religious institution and still remains the largest one.
The Constitution of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia provides that religion and state are separate or independent of each other. One doesn't intervene in the affairs of the other. Positively viewed, however, they can support each other. Just as the government can assist religious institutions, the institutions can also contribute for the success of the responsibilities of the government. One area the two sides can support each other is development.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, in this regard, has been at the forefront in playing a part in the overall efforts of nation building processes since the ancient times.
Liqe Seyuman Eskinder Gebrekiristose, Head of Planning and Development Department of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church says the Church since long time ago has been undertaking wide ranging development activities in various churches and monasteries. The activities can be classified in to two categories- as human and material development.
Liqe Seyuman explained that as could be learnt from history the EOTC has contributed its share in maintaining the geez alphabet and calendar and made it be endowed with such features by scraping vellums, mixing hues and sharpening a pen.
The church has so far been carrying out quite diversified tasks in cultivating a principled generation by inculcating its teachings. According to him, prior to the introduction of modern education, the church has played the role of ministry of education. “The EOTC that takes the lions’ share in the Ethiopian longstanding history in the efforts of human resource development by introducing and expanding education and knowledge and letting the nation to own and be proud of its own culture, tradition, language etc among others and it is all these tangible and intangible cultural and historical heritages which have been and are still, in a more strengthened manner, being used as major tourist attractions of the nation,” Eskinder said. The same is true for almost all the heritages registered by UNESCO, he accentuated.
Anyone who opens the Ethiopian history can, therefore, find the EOTC’s finger print and name everywhere in almost all development sectors and life aspects written in bold as its living testimonies.
Eskinder says the church is still engaged in various exemplary development activities through its Christianawi yelimat yeterado commission, in conformity with the era in general and policies and strategies of the country in particular. Currently the church is undertaking various development tasks such as beekeeping, environmental protection, tree planting, hybridizing of various seed crops, producing herbal medicine, construction of rural roads, drilling of water wells, mechanized agriculture and modern trade , among others.
Its diversified agricultural activities in Oromia, Tigray, Amhara and Harari regions are from among the worth mentioning ones.
The development commission of the church has, as a result, received various awards as the best performer of all local Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from various senior government officials at a federal level, Eskinder noted.
Liqe Seyuman said, “We have received more than three awards from the federal government- the first one from the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn in recognition of the church's development activities in south eastern Tigray regional state, the second one was from the then Minister of Education Demeke Mekonnen in recognition of the church’s achievements in fighting against HIV in Gojam and the third one from his Excellency President Dr. Mulatu Teshome in 2015 in recognition of the irrigation development activities in Saharti samre, Tigray regional state.”
Besides that, in response to the recent consecutive drought, the church, in line with what the government has given as a direction, has undertaken various activities through its development commission.
As to Liqe Seyuman, the EOTC has also been carrying out all rounded activities to support the nation’s endeavor to expand social services. In this regard the late patriarch, his holiness Abune Paulos has had a firm position that every parish has to possess a school, and almost all churches in Addis Ababa could consequently own their own schools, ranging from Kindergarten to preparatory.
All these schools teach their students in accordance with the governments education policy and strategy as well as without any discrimination regarding religion. “One can find students from all sorts of religions such as Muslim, protestant and others. What one can simply observe from the reality on the ground in St. Raguel and Meskaye Hizunan schools is enough. What the church teaches these students regardless of their faith is to be responsible citizens who love their people, culture, values, norms and by so doing contribute their share to their country” Eskendir said.
Majority of the students of the church's schools are very outstanding as the church from the early childhood stage cultivates them with moral and ethical values. The students are among the highest scorers in national examinations of grades 8, 10 and 12 every year are, as a result, its students. As to Liqe Seyuman, the church is undertaking a wide range of activities in human development to eventually render the students responsible , respectful and law abiding citizens. “This is what we have already made practical in almost all churches and monasteries in and around Addis Ababa”.
These days, various dioceses in Oromia, Tigray, Gondar and many other parts of the country are carrying out similar development activities by taking lesson from the dioceses in and around the metropolis. So, added Eskinder, the church has been and is still discharging its mandate in cultivating and shaping civilized generation who can make a difference.
Likewise, the church is streamlining its development activities through building up income generating institutions. These activities include reclaiming its previous land holdings and constructing new buildings on them as well as renovating old and ancient buildings. The new buildings which are already constructed and under construction here and there in the capital are the living testimonies in this regard and the same is true at almost all dioceses. These, according to liqe Seyuman, are creating many employment opportunities for various segments of the society as they need a number of skilled and unskilled manpower (laborers, joiners and engineers).
The church, according to Eskinder, is, in the meantime, fulfilling its responsibilities in the health sector; it has particularly accomplished varieties of tasks in the efforts to combat HIV AIDS. The late patriarch, his holiness, Abune Paulos has received an international award in this regard.
As the main task of the EOTC is teaching human beings to refrain and stay safe from evil acts and wrong deeds if they have to really be patriots who respect their culture, history, identity, tradition by living in peaceful co-existence, the church recommends its congregations to use holy water along with the other efforts to get cured from HIV and other related diseases. In relation to the subject under discussion, Eskinder told this reporter that a delegate lead by the patriarch, his holiness, Abune Matias usually makes various visits to the national defense force found around the borderlines across the nation. And it teaches about the severity of HIV and its complications. Moreover, the church has also given a clear direction to construct clinics, hospitals and health colleges under each parish as part of its endeavors to such treat victims and to combat such dreadful diseases like HIV. St. Lideta Health College, the health station found in meskaye hezunan and Megbare senay general hospital are the remarkable ones in this regard. The same is true that the church has constructed many clinics and health stations in various parts of the country side. the church has been, since long times ago, prior to the government, preaching and \teaching its congregations almost all those issues incorporated in the health policies of the government such as family planning, women’s rights, mainly on genital mutilation, harassment, gender equality etc though it had not been promoting itself. The church, as per to Eskinder, had been, thus, contributing its shares in all aspects. The church has been, additionally, teaching its followers not to be dependent and to rather be creative citizens. He explained that there are various inspiring messages conveyed to the youth through various associations of the church such as Sunday schools among many others.
The other notable task accomplished by the EOTC as to Liqe Seyuman is the role it has been and is still playing with regard to maintaining peace and security so as to ensure peaceful coexistence. “The church can be equaled by none, as the church is the cornerstone of the ancient Ethiopian civilization, its teachings in this regard order that give your right face for those who slap your left face. So, this is not something new for us, consequently we believe that the EOTC is the underpinning of peaceful coexistence for other religious institutions before it is told through proclamation,” Eskinder restated. According to Liqe Seyuman, the church has, in a nutshell, been, is still and would be working round the clock for peaceful coexistence. The EOTC is quite an influential institution in advocating the values of living in tolerance and respect, said Eskinder. The Ethiopian society, despite its educational, economic and social background, has the culture of listening and accepting to what religious fathers say and this could happen due to longstanding teachings of the church. Liqe Seyuman said, “For instance, some seven or eight religious fathers or priests are preferable to stop a destructive war than to use 60 thousand or beyond soldiers as they can preach and convince the parties about the necessity of peace thereby save the lives of thousands. Therefore, the church has not only been resolving various conflicts using its deep rooted experience but it has also been and is still playing its share in leading the institution of all religions, he added.
Meanwhile, the church is active participant in all sorts of development activities on the nation away from its spiritual tasks. For instance, pertaining to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the church has been, since its construction was made official, working hard to enhance the society’s awareness by preparing various documents, organizing panel discussions on its importance to Ethiopia and Ethiopians in association with its biblical relationship with the Ethiopian history so that it has to be completed. Moreover, there is no any diocese across the nation which did not buy a bond (bonds). The church, as an institution, apart from those of various dioceses, has so far bought a bond of 25 million and will keep supporting till its construction is completed. The EOTC has been undertaking various tasks in this regard away from that, many visits have been, for instance, made to the dam by his holiness Abune Matias, patriarch of the EOTC to encourage, advice and console the workers at the dam via religious teachings.
BY SHUSHAY ADANE
The participation of hundreds of youths in physical fitness activities every morning at Masqal Square, the largest plaza of the metropolis, is a breath taking scenery that can attract passersby. Dressed in either uniform or randomly chosen sports outfit, many young boys and women as well as few adults practice sports in teams. This practice seems a good trend as sport is a vital activity to improve personal health as well as nation wide success in various ways.
The other prevalent scene in the corners of the metropolis is that many people spend as much time taken by the sporting people at Masqal Square to stand in lines waiting for a taxi.
One may raise a question,“Even if these people do not join the sports men, what if they try to walk to their destinations there by addressing the shortage of transportation as well as maintaining their health?”
Leaving the decision to the discretion of the people, it is important to note that this is what experts in the field advise.
Talking about the need for physical exercise is not a luxury and taking advantage of the time spent on traveling to and from home and work is an opportune moment.
With its rapidly growing economy, Ethiopia is undergoing a rapid growth of urbanization that is also causing a lot of changes in the life style of people. These changes include high dependency on transportation that avoids crucial physical exercises, consumption of alcohol, khat, unsafe dieting and the like.
Worse among those is lack of physical exercise. According to a study conducted by Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) are becoming major public health threats especially in urban areas. People’s poor habit of physical exercise is one of the contributing factors for the prevalence of NCDs in the country. It is easy to witness this finding of the institute from the large number of people who choose to spend hours on taxi line rather than daring the distance which they could have walked.
People may not be aware of the health benefits as well as the possible threat of lack of exercise against their health. So many of them are risking their lives and falling victims to NCDs. There are many other ways to encourage physical exercise; for instance, walking on foot which is the easiest and cheapest one as people can do it without allocating additional time or money.
Following the rapid urbanization in the country, the number of urban population is likely to increase. It is easy to guess how many of their residents choose to use taxi travel instead of walking on foot. The awareness gap on the significance of physical health is alarming.
Ethiopia is building an economy that depends on the available large number of working age people. People need support to protect themselves from falling victims to such diseases. For instance, the government has well organized structure both in health as well as sport in all levels of administrative units. This is a good opportunity to encourage people to engage themselves in health and physical exercises.
Not doing so will undoubtedly have worse consequences against the overall development efforts of the nation. It is undeniable that the country values its people more than any other resources; its ultimate goal is to have healthy and strong citizens that can sustain the intended development.
Thus, the youth need to be physically and mentally healthy to be more productive in the development, political and social activities of the nation. The moral and behavioral contribution of sport also needs to be considered in encouraging exercise. One can simply imagine the importance of building ethically built citizens in promoting education, justice and culture across the nation
In short, due attention should be given to encouraging people's interest towards physical exercises. Relevant government offices and institutions ought to do their best to raise the awareness of the public and provide the necessary supports to encourage people protect their health through participating in simple physical fitness activities.
The Oromo Waaqeffannaa is a belief in monotheistic power that is Waaqa-the Almighty God, but not believing in deity. This monotheistic power they revere as Waaqa Gurraacha-Black God related to the blue sky. And this indigenous Oromo religion Waqeffanna was originated from the Nile Valley Cushitic Civilization.
Furthermore, Waaqeffannaa is one of the ancient indigenous African monotheistic religions. The Oromo, the Cushitic African people of Ethiopia, among whom this religion became known and developed, call their one and Almighty God Waaqa or more intimately and endearingly Waaqayyoo-good God.
While monotheism is a key similarity it shares with Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Waaqeffannaa has the following worldview of its own. First the Waaqeffatas believe in God who created us. They believe in Him in a natural way. They believe in God because we can see what God has done and what he does: he makes rains and the rains grow foliage, and crops that we consume.
Furthermore, they believe He lets the sun shine. So believing in him is instinctive and inbuilt. It is as natural as the desire we have for food and drink, and as natural as the reproduction of living things. We go to the nature, the nature that He created: mountains and rivers to praise and appreciate Him impressed by His works.
Consequently, they go to something naturally big around them. It may be a lake, bigger river or mountain or tree. They go with something in their hands to celebrate His good Godliness. The thanksgiving ceremony is Irreecha-Afaan Oromo- also called Irreessa, the Oromo Peoples’-Ethiopia’s, Thanksgiving holiday is one of the rituals in the Oromo indigenous religion Waaqeffanna.
The Oromo People celebrate Irreecha to thank and pray to Waaqa naturally for the blessings and mercies they have received all through the earlier year. They say ‘Uumaa uumama’ creator of the creation, ‘Uumama keen si jajanna’ ‘we admire you by your creation’ when they go to the sacred ground.
In Waqeffannaa religion thanksgiving-Irreecha, the Qaalluus (spiritual leaders) and the Abbaa Malkaas, lineal chiefs of the areas, are at the top hierarchies. In the Qaallu religio-ethics, the Qaalluus give religious instructions and directives of the where-about and the time of the implementation of the rituals.
Furthermore, in the Irreecha ritual ceremony, the Abbaa Malkaas and Abbaa Gadaas have vital roles. They lead the participating communities who follow them carrying bunch of lush grasses and dieses flowers in their hands praising, blessing and praying Waaqa in their songs. They order the pilgrims what to say in the praise and prayer.
In my visit to the sacred ground Lake Arsadi, Hora Arsadi, about 53 kilometres on the Southwest of the capital Finfinne, on October first, I saw this amazing ceremony.
The festival is one of the thanksgivings at the bank of a Lake or big river called Irreecha Malkaa. It is celebrated immediately after the end of rainy season with its foggy days pass and leaves place for bright season-Birra. It is usually celebrated either in the mid or end of September-Fuulbaana-depending on the Qaalluus’ air condition forecast.
Males were adorned by the snow-white colorful costumes, turbans, and hides of wild animals as well as holding spears and a special stick that bespeaks the Gada System. They also wore bonnets of various kinds that are made of fur and cotton on which Oda, the sacred tree in Waaqeffannaa Religion, was designed. They carried their stick, Harooressa, on their shoulders of the right hand supported by the right hand having the Irreessa-fresh lush grass with daisies flower in their left hand likewise.
Similarly, females were beautified by comparable clothes and beads of different types which were decorated by different colors-light green, blue, light-blue, white, black, reddish brown and yellow. They wore the beads especially over their necks, forehead, wrists and above elbows as well. They had attractive cultural scarves on their hair and carried their Siiqqees in their right hands with the Irressa-fresh lush grass with daisies flower as well.
As they moved through the town towards the sacred ground of Hora Arsadi, the celebrants sung various songs. The common one was “Uumaa uumamaa, Uumaa keen si jajanna, Maarewooo….. Maarewoo...” “Creator of the creation, we adore You by Your creation, Your mercy…’
The Abbaa Gadaas-political leaders in the Gada System led the festival. Tulama’s Abbaa Gada and Oromo Abba Gadaa's Council Head Bayyanaa Sanbato, with counter parts, led the festival.
He said "….It has been accomplished for unknown time in the past and transferred to us by our forefathers. Irreecha is a figure of justice, unity and peace for Oromo and other nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia.” As well, he emphasized that the Foollees and Qeerroos should follow the Waqeffannaa obligations on the Irreecha. He furthered that the field is not for opposing or supporting a political party but to thank Waaqa our Almighty. We, the Abbaa Gadas, ask all the participants to thank and praise Waaqa peacefully.
Then he soaked his Irreessa with other Abbaa Gadas, into the water of the lake as water is the source of life, admiring creator and its creation, thanking God for the offers is what to be performed by being gathered around the rivers and environs indicating that the festival has a concept that revolves around rain, peace and fertility.
Additionally, what more caught my attention was the Foollees and unarmed police officers cooperation in guiding the pilgrims and peacekeeping activities. They worked collaboratively. They managed the crowd estimated over seven million peoples of home and abroad which is almost the population of Netherland. All sang in praise and pray to Waaqa-God the Almighty and Creator.
Likewise, this years media coverage has also amazed me. Almost the top known international medias have given the festival enough coverage. CGTN, Al jazeera, BBC and France 24 were the major international Medias. Among the local ones, Oromia Broadcasting Network gave live coverage form eve to the evening of the ceremony. Though Ethiopia Press Agency has also given good coverage totally, I am not satisfied with Addis Zemen News paper. The agency usually wishes farewell to celebrants of major holidays colorfully at the back but didn’t do that on Irreecha. Addis Lisan and many other local news papers have also covered it well. Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation did bellow my expectation and gave it only news cover. Ethio-telecom also did not send me a wish on the occasion though it used to do on even less celebrated festivals.
To sum up, in my view transferring cultural values should be forwarded peacefully and educative. We have to learn from our elders and forefathers. The youth must not stick themselves to various cultures of the developed countries and recall theirs only on occasions. As well, the youth must guard their country and culture as seen on Irreecha. As Abbaa Gada Bayyana said, our cultural or religious festivals must not be made where we oppose or support a political view. At last, I would like to insist the local media to focus more on our impressive and good values equally.
BY DIRRIBA TESHOME
The Addis Ababa City Administration Sports Bureau evaluated the overall performance in all sports activities of the last fiscal year and discussed concerning preparedness to the upcoming All Ethiopian Games to be held in Tigray National Regional State for the sixth time here at Arat Kilo Sports Education and Training Center Gymnasium.
According to Behailu Bekele, Sports Training, Participation and Competition Director, all the sport activities brought the sports communities together in the area of high performance sport so far.
As to the Director, the Conference aimed to the showcase of some of the key lessons identified and their performance, and to explore the role of talent development in shaping the future of high performance sport in Addis.
Behailu said that according to the Bureau’s Plan there was a dynamic change with most of the Sports activities though there were few weaknesses in some parts of sports for some reasons age gaps, lack of confidence, problem of coaching jointly, lack of awareness to use the repeatedly chances, and so on.
As he noted that although there were enough satisfaction from the perspective of the Bureau’s supply that was 100 per cent but it was of course 38 per cent from the perspective of the result as not expected, according to the study conducted by the nine team categories of the Bureau.
Nigatu Dagnachew, the Addis Ababa City Administration Sports Bureau Head said that the Bureau believed participating the youth in the second growth and transformation plan so as to create a conducive environment to the future generation and the teens at large.
He expressed the evaluation helps to open the way to the youth that have potentials in the sports activities practically and to identify their high performance appraisals which can help the Bureau to give them qualified training and all the necessary supports needed.
Nigatu added that the Bureau could manage to prevail over all these problems seen in Athletics, Boxing, Football, bicycle, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, world Taekwondo, Badminton, and paralympics among others.
BY KASSAHUN CHANIE
Standby fire fighting brigade at AAFEPRA (Photo by AAFEPRA)
The rapidly growing metropolis, Addis Ababa still retains many of its old features in many corners. The narrow roads, congested houses are among the major factors that hamper the prevention or fighting of fire accident.
Despite the hurdles Addis Ababa Fire Authority says it is striving to protect the metropolis from worse damages due to fire accident.
Addis Ababa Fire, Emergency Prevention and Rescue Authority (AAFEPRA) Communication Affairs process leader Solomon Mekonnen told Ethiopian Herald that the authority has prevented the possible damage of property valued at about Four-billion Birr during the last fiscal year.
According to the Authority in last fiscal year 531 incidents have occurred in Addis Ababa city. Among these 369 are fire and 162 are other incidents. Forty four of these accidents occurred out side the metropolis, in Oromia Special Zone Around Finfinne.
He stated that though the authority has equipped itself with the necessary capacity and personnel to manage and control fire and emergency hazards, its efforts are mostly challenged by the poor and backward road network in the city, the poor plan of houses as well as the community lack of awareness about what to during emergencies.
The communication leader indicated that during accident big trucks couldn't penetrate in to accident sites through the narrow roads while in some instances roads are blocked by vehicles or other objects. We have established eight fire prevention and rescue stations to address service for all community in their vicinity. and we would be able to reach any corner of the city in three to 15 minutes provided there is not traffic jam.” he explained.
However,during rush hours the time will double as there are no separate roads for ambulances and fire trucks to quickly arrive at accident sites.
Apart from the physical factors that hamper the fire fighting , peoples awareness on what to do during the incidents is another problem, according to Solomon.
"Many people do not memorize our hot line while some of them do not call on time. Sometimes people attempt to control the fire themselves, and resort to calling us for help as the fire spreads and goes out of their control.” Solomon expressed concern and urged the public to always seek the support of the authority as soon as the incident happens.
According to the communication affairs leader, reducing the time it takes to respond to fires and other incidents, everyone should know the authority's emergency number to call when there incident occur.
“With the 939 free phone lines and other additional phones and with the eight branches, the Agency reaches 10 Districts that cover 116 woredas of Addis.
BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN
Dr Eng Seleshi Bekele and Francois Fortier (left to right)
Ethiopia's grand development plan, the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) is harmonious with the 17 Sustanable Development Goals, indicated in a recent workshop.
During the recent workshop entitled “Multi-stakeholders Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Policies for GTP II and Beyond”, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr Eng Seleshi Bekele said the 17 Goals built on the success of the development goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
He added that the SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations is the most essential. These provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large.
Similarly he said that the SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet. “Poverty eradication is at the heart of the 2030 sustainable development 169 targets, 238 indicators, data and statistics, monitoring and reporting Agenda.
As to him, the workshop is about mainstreaming addressing all the participants to be champions of SDG in their respective sectors focusing on the three SDG’s predominantly; Food, Water and Energy through implementing, assimilating and building relevant capacities.
He expressed that the SDGs 17 goals and 169 targets are interlinked in the following ways ; water as - six targets and enablers, energy as three targets and two enablers, irrigation is with in goal two and goal six as well as goal eight- infrastructure, while climate change goal as thirteen, life below water-goals fourteen or biodiversity goals as fifteen and the work shop is also about nexus and systems thinking.
According to Francois Fortier, Interregional Advisor, Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and so is the commitment to leave no-one behind, UNDP.
“The Agenda offers a unique opportunity to put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. In many ways, it reflects what UNDP was created for,” he said.
Fortier stressed that The SDGs came into effect in January 2016, and they will continue guide UNDP policy and funding for the next 15 years. As the lead UN development agency, UNDP is uniquely placed to help implement the Goals through our work in some 170 countries and territories.
Meanwhile Thomas Lehr, DESA consultant, on his behalf addressed the objective of The UNDP’s strategic plan that focuses on key areas including poverty alleviation, democratic governance and peace building, climate change and disaster risk, and economic inequality.
As to Lehr, UNDP provides support to governments to integrate the SDGs into their national development plans and policies. This work is already underway, as we support many countries in accelerating progress already achieved under the Millennium Development Goals.
As he said the UNDP’s track record working across multiple goals provides with a valuable experience and proven policy expertise to ensure the people reach the targets set out in the SDGs by 2030.
He finally expressed that achieving the SDGs requires the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure to leave a better planet for future generations.
BY KASSAHUN CHANIE