''When I was in the family way, I never went to a health station. As a result, my two children died during delivery. Unluckily, to date I have not my own child whom I hug and kiss,” says one of the women whom this writer approached for an interviewee at Gandi Memorial Hospital.
She goes by the name Mudina Awol. Previously, she had been living in Worabe town of Selti Zone. It was while she was a little girl she married. But she did not get a chance for a child. Once, discussing the issue, her family members decided to send Mudina to Addis Ababa assuming that she can get a better medical treatment. So, she went to the hospital for medical check up — to make the third trial effective.
Though Worabe is not in short supply of heath institutions, Mudina has not yet been aware of the significance of prenatal care. Often, with great sadness, she recounts what happened to her. As to her, during the delivery of her first child, she did not go to hospital but gave birth at home. And she was in labour starting from midnight. No result. Rather she lost strength. The next day, Mudina's families took her to a hospital. Though she gave birth to a child, he was stillborn.
Mudina got pregnant for the second time without wasting time to actualize her dream of having a child to hug and kiss and thereby fulfil the dreams of her husband and the family. She did not go to health stations. She spent all the nine months of her pregnancy without shunning health stations. Finally, she gave birth at home. Unfortunately, once again the newly born baby had not a chance to stay in life. She lost the second child too.
As a result, Mudina got ashamed of the community; even she started hiding herself from the society. Her relatives and family members felt pity for her. Taking the condition so far into account, her family members advised Mudina to have medical follow-up during pregnancy. She is now attending medical treatment in a nearby health institution to make her third trial successful.
“My delivery date is fast approaching. I have been making frequent medical follow ups. I did give my blood to physicians to check my HIV and AIDS status and other communicable diseases. I provided them with the ultra sound result of the child. And the medical doctors told me that there is no problem at all,” she says.
Mudina simply had given her blood for a medical check up but she does not know about what types of examination she has to take. She has no inkling about the exact cause for the death of her two children. That is why this time she implored health officers to help her deliver and hug a baby of her own.
Betlehem Taye lives in Addis Ababa. She visited the Gandhi Memorial Hospital for medical follow-up to give birth to her third child and to know the health status of her would-be child.
This writer approached her about the examination she has been taking. “What types of examinations have you taken so far?”
She said, “This is not my first time. When I was pregnant two times, I had undergone series of medical follow-ups. And I did take all the necessary examinations, vaccinations and other medical treatments.'' Physicians took Betelehem's blood sample. She knew that her blood type is RH positive. Therefore, she is waiting her delivery to have and hug her newly born baby.
Betelehem said, “All pregnant women should know their blood type because it helps them when a problem arises during pregnancy. Pregnant women who are said to have RH negative might be exposed to accidental abortion. If these women do not get help during giving birth, their children won't have chance to stay in life. Hence, all pregnant women should take medical examination for their own benefit,” she said.
Aster Yimam lives in Nefas Silike Lafto Sub-city. She is now pregnant for the second time. She is taking medical follow-up in Bole Sub-city, Woreda 17 Health Station. The writer intercepted her and posed some questions about what reasons initiated her to come to the health station.
“When I got pregnant, my husband and other people advised me to take a vaccination so that I can guard myself against communicable diseases. And I got information that vaccinations have been given in health stations. I accepted their advise and came here,” she said.
First, she gave blood sample to health professionals for test. Her weight is being checked monthly. She did undergo a blood test for HIV and AIDS too. And she is optimistic that she could give birth without any difficulty. Aster did not know that she has to take another examination, after giving blood. And she hadn't taken any professional assistance in that regard. So, regarding RH she did not know what type of blood she has.
While she was living in the countryside she heard that pregnant women used to give birth at home. Such women usually face unexpected abortion. She said, “But I have never heard about such a tragedy since I have come to Addis. Surprisingly, I have never heard about RH positive or RH negative. Even I was not aware of whether I have to take medical examination,” she noted.
If there is any problem that affects a woman's health and that of her conceived or if her blood type is RH negative, she guesses that she should have all the necessary follow up and advice. This is my imagination. Therefore, I hope I have no problem at all,” she said.
Gandhi Hospital Health Officer and Communicable Disease and Health Advancement Sub-process Head Birhanu Betru seconds Betlehem's the idea. He said when a woman gets pregnant, she has to go to the nearby health station and take all the necessary medical examinations.
Mothers have to take all the necessary medical examination while they are pregnant. They have also to take advice about what they can or can't do during this period. Taking medical examination during pregnancy helps come up with healthy motherhood and foetus.
When pregnant women come to our hospital, the first thing we do is requesting them to fulfil all veritable things in relation to health. These includes various examinations. Blood tests helps concerned bodies identify women's blood type and pregnancy background. Most of the time, mothers that have RH negative blood type should not be advised to continue the pregnancy. So, medical examination helps them prevent such problems before hand.
He further indicated that if a mother happens to be RH positive, she would face multifaceted birth complications. He elaborated the issue as follows: unfortunately, the first child can be okay. But, the child to be born next will have no healthy life during and after birth. Most of the time, it is advised to be terminated or aborted.”
He also said if a mother is RH negative and the husband is RH positive, and if the cells of these two are joined within a blood, a foetus is created developing anti-body reaction. This situation would destroy the next foetus in the womb. If such a situation happens to RH negative mother, she is advised to have anti medicine between two to three days or within 72 hours after giving birth. This helps her safely deliver the next child.
According to him, during pregnancy, the main concern of medical professionals is not only for the mother but also for the foetus. Therefore, if RH negative mothers face complications such as bleeding before vaccination, they can't take drugs, even if it is necessary. Therefore, during pregnancy, making blood test and identifying RH type has dual advantage.
Undergoing blood test during pregnancy has another benefit to mothers. For instance, it is important to examine whether the mother has contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or not, he added. In addition, therapeutic and other heath examinations are under way to help mothers. If a mother is a victim of hepatitis for example, the examination would help her take medical treatment and vaccination which can halt diseases transmission particularly from mothers to children.
HIV and AIDS is an example in this regard. According to Birhanu, currently, a lot has been done to arrest the rapid speared of HIV and AIDS as well as levelling all possible transmission ways of HIV and AIDS. Mothers who live with the virus are now in a position to bear HIV free infants.
“If a mother is HIV positive and the case is known during her pregnancy, she has to take the necessary advice accompanied with medical treatments to protect the child from the virus. Women are encouraged to give anti HIV medicine to the newly born baby after delivery and attend the necessary follow up to get HIV free infants.
HIV virus is also transmitted through breastfeeding. Hence, if a mother is HIV positive, she has to visit health professionals to know which way she should choose to have a healthy child. Besides, the health professionals could provide her with advice to undergo other necessary urine and blood tests.
BY GIRMACHEW GASHAW
(A Short Story)
As the rainy season set in early, a heavy downpour out of the blue that took many by a surprise was forcing passersby to quickly seek refuges in nearby shops or bars. That is why Daniel, an ethical civil servant, got into a pub for an enforced boozing.
“Treating oneself with raw meat has a positive feedback. When I eat a kilo I become hungry. When I add one more I become famished experiencing a metamorphosis into a lion, out from its den to feed on a buffalo,” said Abraham gulping a mugful of draft beer on a knee-high-long-and-narrow table sporting a tray bearing lumps of yellowish white raw meat, hiding red layers underneath. Such butcheries having french windows, made of long glasses, are painted white and red to make a perfect color match with the meat they display.
He was responding to the questions Daniel posed. Daniel had taken a seat by the door. They hail from the same district though their villages differ. They are on bowing terms. Abraham is 15 years older than Daniel. It was soon after he joined the Land Administration and Management of X's Kifle Ketema Abraham got transformed from a needle-like boy to an amorphous animal. It was in no time he got transformed from a considerate boy to an arrogant civil servant, who has no care for others and who sees service seekers as sources of income. He was sharing a seat with an old man on a bench having a rectangular nature similar with the table. Injera, a flat home made bread,pieces of loafs and a small bowl containing a mixture of gal,chili and red pepper were decoratively placed along the meat on the tray.
Though a young adult, with a pot belly and a bulging bottom that seems to vie to throw him out of balance, Abraham cuts the shape of landlords, who became subject to extinction like the pitiful dinosaurs. A barfly, no one misses him at pubs by his house and his work place. The pub has a butchery which,in a tantalizing way, exhibits oxen meat accentuated by a 100 Watt lamp, put on day and night to lure passers by and standers by to get in and enjoy raw or fried meat to their hearts' content. It is the habit of such butchers, cloaked in a white gowns, to stand alert to whet the appetite of clients wielding a big knife with another and kicking the table with a cleaver. Often they utter “Do come in!” when someone casts a glance towards the meat.
“What is it like eating a meat raw?” posed Daniel who is a vegetarian by choice.
“The taste is good. When you adapt yourself to it, it becomes irresistible. Moreover, it is easy to chew. Nor does it give the stomach a hard time to digest. Try this!You could take the traditional medicine Koso to purge out possible parasites who may evade the chili” he offered Daniel a lump.
“ No thanks. I am a vegetarian!” Daniel waved his hand right and left.
“Unbecoming of an Ethiopian!” the old man said.
“Sure!Sure!”Daniel said .All laughed.
Pressing with his question“Which one do you prefer most?The raw or the fried one?” Daniel asked.
“The raw one! but I never become satisfied unless I conclude with a kilo of fried meat.”
“How often do you come here?”
“On a daily basis. I don't want to share the Shero ( pea-flour soup) and Injera (a homemade flat bread) with my wife and children.”
“ On daily basis!How do you afford the exorbitant price?” Daniel projected a cross-questioning face smelling a rat, for, once, he had heard an old woman right from the land management office complaining 'Officials of these days don't spare even those who lead life asking for alms!' ”
“Most of the time I afford but clients satisfied by my excellent service either offer me with treats or give me tips.”
“Offer me with treats?” Daniel said with a sarcastic smile.
“You see 'The worker deserves his due!' says the holy book. Besides one can't be well off with one's salary as one cannot become tipsy with water.” Daniel nodded by way of saying is that how you try to justify your wrong doings.
“But it as well says trouble will visit the house of s/he who eats others out of their resources?” Daniel challenged him back.
“Man don't philosophize. Corruption was there from the times of Samuel!” Abraham said.
“Yes!But you should not skimp over how his sons landed up in a soup for their wrong doings?”
“Anyways the practice was there” Abraham said casting a glance towards the old man by way of saying help me out.
“ Father, when did you begin eating raw meat?” Abraham asked the old man.
“It was my grandpa that encouraged me to go for it. He used to criticize me for fight-shying to eat a raw meat saying 'It is the coward who backpedal from eating raw meat. When we go out for hunting a gazelle we used to eat it raw before we fry it on a bone fire. Always go for the fatty one. A meat has no meaning unless it pisses in once mouth.' I further developed the habit when I became Archive officer in the municipality office. People used to grease my hand for finding their files, I often liked hiding on heaps of files on purpose.”Abraham and the old man laughed while Daniel reflected this remark hints rent seeking is deeply entrenched in the society's psyche.
While the two were laughing a lump of raw meat, dipped in a bowl of red-pepper and gal mixture, adamantly lodged in his throat, unable to breath, Abraham tumbled flat on his back.
Between life and death, with rolling big eyes, pointing a finger to his throat he pleaded, Daniel, butchers and waiters save him. The old man, beside him, shouted terrified to the core of his being.
“Please pat him behind his shoulder. Be quick!Be fast! The old man shouted.”
“He who takes bribe will be beset by a problem that arises from his home,” Abraham heard the angle of death mocking him with a laughter of a victor standing on his prey. He saw the pauper old lady from whom that morning he took a bribe to cut down a deliberately -protracted service goading the angle of death to pool him with a forked spade to hell.
“He is an imp in human guise. Allah has no mercy for the likes of him. Escort him to hell!” he heard a similar utterance once an old Muslim man made revolted by the long appointment Abraham fixed to him though the task was a minor one.
“I will mend my wrong ways! I must not tarnish the image of innocent collegues,” Abrham also reheard his utterance in a deep renewal meeting.
Making a projectile motion a lump of meat stashed in Abraham throat fell on the floor when the butcher, who came forth rushing, patted Abraham on the back.
Regaining his breath Abraham saw people in the butchery's dining room.
“May God forgive me. Though I get a modest salary, enough to lead a good life I was leeching on innocent citizens. I must go to get my confessing father. I will also apologies clients I displeased.
“What a lesson !”Daniel said! “How could our country transform unless it shakes off such lechers!”
“I am afraid I have to confess too! I did sponge on many while in office” The old pensioner who is now president of a self help association said whose trouser turned wet by his own urine.
BY ALEM HAILU
Dr. Esayas Gebreyouhannes Ftwi is an Associate Professor at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He obtained his Ph.D. in Concrete Engineering: Structural Performance Evaluation of Reinforced Concrete Members, University of Tokyo, Japan and his MSc in Concrete Engineering: Development of Constructive Model for Cracked Normal and High Strength Concrete Under Shear Fatigue from the University of Tokyo.
He is Board Member of Japan Ethiopia Alumni Society, Africa Material Research Science, Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, National Coordinator for Ethiopian Building Codes Standard Revision of Existing Codes and development of new ones, Technical Committee Member, among others. Dr. Esayas was awarded as a Publisher of one of the Three Outstanding Journal papers of the year 2008 on Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology, Best Research Paper of Japan Concrete Institute of the Year 2008 (JCI).
He played a part in projects like structural assessment of Precast Beam-slab Units for low cost housing, Material selection and Mix-design of HCB made of light weight aggregates, Effect of drying shrinkage on ultimate static capacity and Fatigue Performance of Shear critical RC beams, Structural Assessment of Self-healing concrete, and the rest. The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with Dr. Esayas. Excerpts:
Why do we need to have building code?
When a country invests on infrastructure such as housing, bridges, tunnels and dames, the investment has to pass through harmonized and standardized documents, design philosophies and others in view of the fact that they are core elements in engineering.
These core elements consist of safety, function and economy. Thus they need to be addressed in harmonized manner. In fact, there are minimum requirements in terms of safety, economy, and environmental impacts. Unless we have a related standard, it will be very difficult to harmonize and make certain its safety and other related aspects. That is why we necessitate codes.
While we are on the subject, it is very difficult to have a harmonized international code as there are country dependent issues. For instance, the seismic nature of Ethiopia is quite different for the reason that we are in the rift valley region that we are different from other countries due to our culture and way of living. In reality, an assortment of countries cannot have a uniform code; however countries can possess a uniform framework. But from this framework, each country can contextualize own code based on its geographical, climatic, culture and other related conditions. That is why we need to have our own code. Therefore, codes need to address different issues.
How can we ease the existing challenges?
In my opinion, taking the Ethiopian construction industry to a new chapter of success requires the involvement of a range of construction companies, higher learning institutions and so forth. If the government works single-handedly, it would be difficult to achieve the intended target in next to no time.
As for me, there should be a coordinated effort to ensure the quality standard. In spite of the fact that the topic under discussion is a huge challenge, I am glad that the Ministry of Construction is coming to the right track as it is being felt by the Ministry. That is why we have a separate ministry for the Ministry of Construction. I accept as true that the Ministry will take the lead, tighten regulations, specify new standards, nurture skilled people and promote research. If we have integrated efforts, we can ease the existing challenges within the shortest time possible.
What should be done to take the construction sector to a new level of success?
Above all, the human resources should be given due weigh and attention. More to the point, nurturing or capacitating people to the required level of expertise should be given number one priority. Furthermore, building the capacity of contractors and consultants plays a paramount role in the construction industry. We need to have local born companies in view of the fact that we are facing challenges from international contractors. Our government has to take the risk to capacitate the local people so that all the construction industry will be run by our own people and companies.
Correspondingly, promoting research and pumping some investment to the research component help harvest the fruit of success almost immediately. Above and beyond, the government should be able to make sure that the new document will reach everywhere. Besides, the level of the comprehensiveness of the design is common in our country as the treatment is shallow and not seen in depth. As for me, the gaps should be bridged in next to no time. We should also make sure that the designs are made by tremendously qualified engineers.
How can we solve problems related to ethics in the construction sector?
First and foremost, ethics is a national concern. It should be established from the early generation. I believe education plays a very important role in terms of shaping mentality. We all need to fight and start working from the scratch. That is the point where we tackle this challenge.
As a result, some people hunt for opportunities. Unless, we work on the moral values, it is really very tough. I am not saying that all contractors are unethical but I am of the opinion that education plays an important role to enhance ethical values and hence this has to be done from the grass roots level.
How do you assess the performance of students in the engineering field?
Due to the policy, some 40 per cent of the placement is engineering. This being the case, we have huge number of students in the engineering sector. The first, second and third generation universities of the country are producing a large number of students every year and therefore graduates are contributing their share for the development of the country.
If you ask me the level of the graduates or the quality is not as it used to be in the past and this has to do with expanding the domain. In reality, in this kind of situation, there is a little bit that we compromise despite there is really a quality concern and a lot remains to be done on our side for the industry. We should be able to bridge the gaps by capacitating the graduates through training and other means.
What are the requirements for a good standard building?
Standard buildings are those buildings which are planned, designed and constructed as per the code. In other words, if we design as per the code strictly, we can ensure the safety, proper functionality and economy. Hence, this is what we call standard building. We should make sure that it will serve the purpose to the intended designed period. If we design the building for one hundred years, we should make sure that it serves the purpose exclusive of any submissible issues for one hundred years.
What is your take on the different buildings manifested in different parts of the country?
There is a booming of construction in most parts of the country. Without any exaggeration, it is common to see attention-grabbing high rising buildings in Addis Ababa and other cities. This is a happy news for the country as it signals that the country has almost moved one step up. When we see in the context of Addis Ababa, it is good for the development as it contributes to the image of the city. However, from my perspective, there are some points we have to see carefully at. As there are high rising buildings, they are going to accommodate large number of people and the parking has to be seen vigorously. The other one is the availability of green areas because a city has to be habitable enough for the people. There is a lot that need to be done from the green perspective.
As a final point, is there anything you would like to convey?
I want to talk about codes for they play a paramount role in the construction industry apart from creating a room not only for Ethiopian contractors but also for international contractors as it helps them fit into construction industries. Thus, having a global nature of course is very important. One is the material standardization issue. I believe this will create a lot of job opportunities for the people in the cities.
We should involve in standardization. I can give you a simple example, we can have people who wash sand and sell it to the market by reducing the contamination on the sand. This requires a huge workforce and create job opportunities in addition to contributing to the quality of construction. By the way, it will not be limited to the sand and gravel.
All construction input materials should be standardized. This standardization process should be given due weight and attention. The other focus is, I believe in the notation of skill development.
Unless we do a lot of research, we cannot make use of our own local materials. If we do research, we can standardize these materials and integrate with the existing code.
That will enable us to make use of resources efficient. The other is regulation. Regulatory bodies need to be very strong. We need to have an independent institution in the construction sector for the reason that a second check is always very important.
We should be able to know how to minimize our failures and errors. Looking at the experience of the highly developed countries, we need to have a separate design review institute as we have projects which failed following design issues. But If we have independent institutions for design, it will contribute to the quality of the construction.
Thank you for your time !
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Ethiopia is land of hospitality. Several tourists from different part of the world greatly appreciate the nation's warm hospitality. They often witness the unique culture of hospitality prevailing among the rural communities of the nation. In addition to its enormous tourism potential, the long-standing hospitality and tolerance experiences enabled Ethiopia to be world's best tourism destination. These days, hospitality has been considered to be one of the values of tourism.
Hotel and Tourism Training Institute communication directorate director Dr. Debrawerk Lemma recently told Addis Zemen daily newspaper that the word hospitality refers to the act of demonstrating generous and friendly communication towards others; its meaning exactly coincides with the practice of hospitality in Ethiopia. Through celebrating 'Hospitality Week' once a year, the institute has been accomplishing several activities to increase nation's commitment in pursuing its hospitality. “We have been working to ensure improved hospitality service in the country. Our institute has been training a number of students to increase well skilled human power in the sector. During the celebration, there would be different activities like going to field, visiting hotels and tourist destinations. The trainees can have an opportunity to share experience with participants of the celebration,” she said.
Celebrating the week can help the students to experience the practical aspect of what they would be attending in the classroom. The director stated that the students spend 30 per cent of their time attending the theoretical part while they stay for 70 per cent for the practical aspect. “This can increase the effectiveness of our students in the sector,” she added.
During the celebration, the institute was working with other training institutes and travel agencies to carry out activities that improve the hospitality industry. The nation celebrated the week in May 14-18 of this year for the fifth times.
As to the director, this year's celebration was unique since several activities that were carried out involved all the states of the country; the states' culture and tourism bureau and institutions took part in the celebration.
“We have planned to work with the public and private universities to explore the potential of the sector. For instance, the participation of Aksum and Adama universities together with University of Gondar has contributed considerable role in supporting our goal. Moreover, we are working to increase the participation of high schools and technical vocational education training centres so that we can create individuals capable enough to explore the potential of the sector,” Dr. Debrawerk elaborated.
Moreover, in order to exploit the potential of the sector, the nation continued increasing the number of modern hotels, lodges and other recreational centres. A number of star hotels have been built in Addis Ababa and different parts of the states. Being the third diplomatic city in the world, following Brussels and Washington, Addis has been furnished with internationally branded hotels.
The Ethiopian Tourism Organization stated that the sector has registered impressive achievements over years. For instance, in 2015, the sector generated 51.3 billion Birr which is 4.1 per cent of the total GDP and created jobs for more than two million people contributing 8.4 per cent of the total employment.
Realizing its significant contribution, the Ethiopian Tourism Organization established a partnership with the Ethiopian airlines that helped the sector to be competitive. Tewolde Gebre Mariam, CEO of the airlines, once said, “We have to carry out our responsibilities in order to promote our tourist attraction sites and make the nation a major tourist destination.”
According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism, more than 863,742 tourists visited the nation bringing over 128 billion Birr in 2016. And the ministry has planned to increase the number of tourists to billions and the revenue to more than 675 billion Birr between 2016 and 2026. Since the number of tourists arriving in the nation is steadily increasing, the government has continued investing in the sector in order to fully exploit the sector through allocating significant capital. This endeavour can help the nation to utilize its untapped tourism potential.
The tourism sector of Ethiopia has a great deal of untapped potential to help expand economic opportunities that can support the inteded development. Thus, in order to exploit the potential, all the stakeholders should carry out their responsibilities diligently. First, the sector ought to create a corporate culture that actively seeks business approaches to expand economic opportunity along the value chain. It should move from traditional philanthropic programs to the integration of development concerns. Next, the government should encourage inclusive business models through regulatory and fiscal policy. And it ought consistently support the fledgeling public-private partnerships that can support the sector.
The writer can be reached at
BY GEMECHU KEDIR
Every year when June 5 comes, we mark all over the globe ‘the World Environment Day’ and it is easy to reckon that no other day may be more important for us to observe with due concern than the World Environment Day. The way we keep, conserve and protect our environment, the way we take care of our environment decides our existence on this earth and the existence of life itself.
World Environment Day is a day for everyone, everywhere. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime and reforestation.
We may be distracted by a number of other social, economic and political issues that really challenge the current world in many ways but nothing seems more pressing and urgent than to engage in a global manner how to keep our environment safe and pass it on to the coming generations. We need to control what we do to avoid its destruction and to engage in rectifying the kinds of man made errors we subjected it to several decades. Particularly, with the emergence of the Industrial Age or the Industrial Revolution, there have been intense and irreparable damages to our environment.
Scientists have been telling us that there has been serious effects on earth since the reckless use of resources such as coal, carbon, fuel, uncontrolled deforestation, emergence of large metropolis and the innumerable constructions.
The level of deforestation and replacing wide natural forests and green areas with housing development projects, infrastructure and industries shows us easily how much we have affected the environment without even bothering the consequences on global ecosystem.
There has been increasing heating of the earth and progressive change in the overall climatic cycles that has caused what scientists have come to call the ‘El Niño effect’ and several other names such as “la Nina” as well. The dangers of a total disruption of the climatic cycles that we have lived with during centuries can be felt even in our own country. By looking at what sort of environment we once had, one can witness the climate changes at the local level.
In Ethiopia, not only have farmers been directly and severely affected by the aberrations but even ordinary people have definitely been affected.
Unusual rainy seasons and over flooding that we never knew before and, the extended drought that was once experienced within several decades of interval has now become recurrent. The effects have become disastrous on the life of entire populations.
In a recent radio interview that I happened to come across, I heard the host of the programme expressing her surprise on seeing the waters of Lake Abayata diminishing so rapidly during even the time she saw it a year ago that she felt really sorry about it. I personally remember the level of Lake Haromaya full of large vast of water when I was a small boy and passing along the road from Dire Dawa to Harar. One would have admired the view of the water and the entire areas full of greenery. Today, the water has dried up and the place has not even a drop of water and that is a clear result of the kind of man-made activities undertaken.
Even currently, Ethiopia is undergoing through one of the worst drought seasons of its entire history and the government is trying to minimize the ill effects of such phenomenon by getting itself ready in time with risk management staff to react with vehemence and thoroughness. The economy has been able to sustain the efforts of the government and lives of victims have been saved. Now, millions of people have been affected and unfortunately it is becoming recurrently predictable. The changes in the climate will continue for the worse along the years unless we take serious measures to reverse the current tendencies.
The world was so worried by this phenomenon of climate change that in 2015 it decided to harness all of its resources to come together and work out a viable and long lasting solution to address this issue. The Paris Climate Change Agreement to which 195 countries adhered and subscribed to is the result. Only two countries namely Syria and Nicaragua were reported to have refused to sign this overall international pact stating that it was not thorough enough to address the issues.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of the United Nations Organization and members of the same very important countries such as the US, China, the EU and India, which contribute the largest segment of pollution, the agreement finally succeeded to come to life. These countries have agreed to limit their emissions to acceptable limits and will also engage in the development of green technology, green energy and solar and geothermal power. The levels of heating of the environment would be limited to lower levels than two degrees centigrade. The risk of extinction of life itself due to fundamental changes in the climate is to be averted.
Already the current level of heating of the environment has meant that the large masses of ice are melting slowly and the levels of waters in areas where people actually live are increasing by the day, and the climatic cycles are severely affected. Frequent rains with extensive floods have meant that in many areas around the world there has been severe and catastrophic devastation with lives lost.
In developing countries such as ours the effects of climate change have affected the life of millions. The level of poverty and dependence on the climate and the regular season rains is such that if the rains fail for a couple of seasons the typical subsistence level farmer is forced to running out of all of their resources and become food insecure.
For decades we have been fighting the issue of ‘food security’ as one of the strategic policies of government in the developing world and when we talk about drought and famine and irregular or erratic rain seasons the consequences have been often disastrous and even during the past half a century or so there have been serious consequences that have followed the climatic aberrations of the world.
Here it would be proper to recall the thoughts of the former Prime Minster of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi who was one of the most active promoters of the idea of how climate change, due to what the industrial world did along the years, has affected the environment with serious consequences on our lives and how the agriculture dependent population of the Third World have been affected and that it was time that the advanced industrialized world recognized it and paid reparation or compensation for the damage inflicted on these societies.
This idea was promoted and sustained by the late prime minister and he representing Africa on climate change talks and international conferences successfully sustained it and managed to have allocated the necessary funds so that Africans will not always be at a disadvantage due to what the largest economies of the world have been engaged with to grow fast and come out of poverty. Here, countries such as China and US and the major economies of the world should shoulder their responsibilities for what contribution they have made to change the current tendencies on the climate and the earth.
The Paris Climate Accord is considered by many as a breakthrough because it is the result of a huge compromise between the advanced nations and the poorer ones and accepts the responsibilities of the major industrialized countries in contributing for climate change due to their policies in place for decades and China and the US alone have been attributed to 40 per cent of what happens to harm the climate; and accordingly they were made to bear the burden of duties in terms of advancing new funding and limiting the levels of heating the world due to their extensive development and economic ventures. The rest of the world as well were given the responsibilities of doing their best to abide by the limits of pollution and use of clean energy so that there will be a reversal of the current tendencies that would lead us inevitably to disaster and unmaking of the earth.
Ethiopia’s green energy and green economy policy has been admired and is even considered exemplary. We are on the right track when it comes to keeping climate change at bay. But there are several areas that we need to engage in a more sustained manner in terms of forestation and keeping the environment clean particularly our rivers. New projects are in the pipeline but we need to engage more because our tourism industry as well is at stake.
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is "Connecting People to Nature", and the message is that people need to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance and protect the Earth we share. We are part of nature and we intimately depend on it.
BY FITSUM GETACHEW
As any organization has its own set objectives it chalks out up on establishment, non-governmental organizations too have their set goals. Their cardinal objective is doing good to the society on whose behalf and to whose good they get established. When the organizations start to implement rendering services to the society, they have to know full well the rules and regulation of the country. The reality in Ethiopia is no different from this.
A number of years have elapsed since proclamation 621/2001 was promulgated to administer and control Charities and Societies (ChS) operating in Ethiopia. As the goal of the proclamation is rendering citizens beneficiaries, ChS are expected to act accordingly. The proclamation has clearly set ChS must outlay 30 per cent of their income for administrative purposes while 70 per cent of it to philanthropic ones. The proclamation has also indicated those organizations that work on rights must generate 90 per cent of their income from domestic sources.
Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) are marked and more often than not blamed for paying handsome salaries and attractive incentives to their employees to the extent of draining the collected money to wrong ends. It is untoward to unreasonably squander a hard-won resource, raised in the name of society, unfairly and exaggeratedly channelling it to pockets of own employees.
On the other end such organizations are expected to hire competent and an ample number of experts to conduct their duties efficiently. Regarding this, the organizations are voicing complaints that the proclamation has narrowed down their chance of hiring competent employees. “This has created a negative impact on our task,” they say. Here there is a need for checking whether the proclamation and its implementation have created a constraint on organizations whose tasks require a huge administrative expenditure.
Those ChS with a huge capital are facing problem to implement the proclamations. But according to the statement they gave to EPA journalists, those with modest income, unable to cover administrative costs with the 30 per cent of their income, are facing the risk of extinction. To check things out, there is a call for conducting studies.
Similarly, ChS working on rights have a similar complaint. They say “We have found it hard to generate 90 per cent of our income from domestic sources.” Of course, they have to use a variety of income generating means. They have to properly utilize the fund they get, ensure transparency, show their efficient budget utilization, increase the number of their members and win donors in so doing. This way, if the door is closed and the proclamation is hamstringing their activities there is a call for checking out things. In 400 organizations under CRDA alone over 11 billion birr is allocated for executing tasks.
According to ChS agencies, in one year alone 100 organizations are being closed down. Consequently therefore, the service the society is getting from ChS is being curtailed, one could surmise. The closing down of ChS due to the tightness of the proclamation hints that the proclamation could be ways off target. This necessitates the need to check out things through a thorough research.
Also NGOs, imbued with the objective of doing good to the public, must work better than their best in fund raising like the Mekdonian Charity Organization that has become towering lately for its exemplary work of supporting the elderly and people living with mental sickness.
Nepotism and irresponsibly squandering funds or lining one's pocket with the money collected in the name of citizens do not work. NGOs should be aware that such untoward practices could raise questions of accountability and result in punitive measures. Yet the task of double checking the fairness of the monitoring work on the income and expenditure of NGOs and their tasks goes with out saying, for buckling under the pressure they could die out.
Ethiopian and Egyptian diplomats have called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to suspend the investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir.
In a report to the Security Council on the situation in Darfur on Thursday, the ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, urged the 15-member body to take concrete action that would help to arrest suspects of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.
The Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations Tekeda Alemu cited the disappointment of African countries by the manner in which the Court had been operating, according to Sudan Tribune.
Also, Ambassador Tekeda reiterated the African Union’s request for the Court to end its pursuit of a case against the Sudanese president and called to finding home-grown solutions.
He added that the African Union "was convinced that the referral of the situation in Darfur to the Court would cause more harm than good while seriously undermining ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict".
On the ongoing efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, he said peace process had shown significant progress, but more remained to be done.
"The Council should do its part, including by exerting pressure on armed movements to put an end to the suffering of the people of Darfur," he said and called on the rebel groups to lay down their arms.
Egypt’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, said the ICC proceedings against al-Bashir must be suspended.
"The Court must be careful not to jeopardise peace and security on the African continent," he said.
The African Union had called for the withdrawal of Darfur-related matters and had expressed concern that the Security Council had not responded to that request.
Sheger Mass Transport Services Enterprise announced its readiness to import high speed buses to deliver swift transport services here in the capital.
Enterprise CEO Goitom Hailu Friday said the enterprise has been playing its part in overcoming transport challenges through providing a coordinated service in every corner of the city.
The enterprise is ready to import high speed buses that will be assembled by the Bishoftu Automotive Industry in the near future, he said. “The enterprise will also commence e-ticketing in this month.”
According to him, the enterprise is working effectively to maintain a coordinated transportation system through conducting public satisfaction assessment, receiving feedback and communicating with the public.
Presenting a paper on mass transportation, Civil Service University Transport Planning and Management Expert and Assistant Prof. Belew Dagnew on the occasion underlined that mass transportation is fundamental to change the look of a given city.
It is also helpful in creating a conducive environment via limiting fuel and space consumption, carbon emission and accidents, he added.
According to him, the mass transport service providers need to implement international transport standardization. “ They have to arrive on time, respect the international speed limit of mass transportation and passengers limit as well.”
Currently, around 200 Sheger buses are rendering services to the capital dwellers.
BY TEWODROS KASSA
The United Nations migration agency appealed for 60 million USD to aid an estimated 16 million people suffering from the worst drought in decades in East and Horn of Africa, UN News reported.
“In the coming months, we are likely to see_many more needing humanitarian aid_and being displaced, due to the poor rains,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa at International Organization for Migration (IOM).
IOM, through the appeal, intends to target two million of the most vulnerable drought-affected people through December in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.
The drought is fuelling migration between these borders, particularly from Somalia, and could impact how the people who are moving and the people who are receiving them recover from the drought.
“It is estimated that cross border movements may increase significantly with the predicted poor harvest as a result of below average rains during March-May and the humanitarian response is not scaled up to meet the needs of affected populations,” the appeal said.
The 60 million USD aid would include a_combination of lifesaving and early recover interventions, as well as build long-term capacity to recover including shelter, protection, food, water and sanitation.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen affirmed Ethiopia's commitment to elevate the bilateral ties with Singapore.
While discussing with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the deputy premier, who is in Singapore leading a high-level delegation said Ethiopia would work to advance the overall ties.
Demeke said that activities that will boost the bilateral ties has been undertaking, mentioning the previously concluded agreements aimed at enhancing cooperation on trade, culture and investment.
He also briefed the Premier about Ethiopia's keenness to enhance the cooperation in the spheres of science and technology, human resource and infrastructure development, manufacturing and tourism to realize its ambition of becoming a continental manufacturing hub.
Lauding Ethiopia's efforts towards building strong economy, Prime Minister Lee affirmed that his country will exert maximum effort to enhance the bilateral relations with Ethiopia.
Saying that Ethiopia is on the right track towards development, the Prime Minister urged the need to stick to the path for the realization of the country’s aspirations.
In this regard, Prime Minister Lee expressed his country’s readiness to enhance cooperation with Ethiopia especially in areas that the Horn African nation has given due attention.
Strengthening ties between the two countries will pave the way for strong economic cooperation between Africa and Asia, the Premier said adding, that Singapore will play its role to boost ties among the peoples and governments of the two countries.
The high level delegation visit to Singapore will add momentum to the bilateral relations and will help advance the ties, said Arega Hailu, Ethiopian Ambassador to Indonesia, who is also accredited to Singapore.
According to Arega, the visit has helped the Ethiopian delegation to learn from best practices of Singapore - best known for its financial services, manufacturing and oil-refining, among others.