“The center is the virtue” so said Aristotle. Aristotle stated that the middle point is usually considered as modesty. Lexically speaking, in a linear line two extreme points contradict with each other. In other words, opposite physical elements are mostly lead towards collusion. By the same token, binary extreme viewpoints usually counter with religious commandments, human nature, social norms, universal moral values, golden rules, rule of law and public convictions.
Standing in extreme points makes lives worthless. In this regard, Socrates remarked that unexamined lives are worthless. This means that suffering, misery and temptation reach fellows in the hierarchy of righteous. To attain such status, emptiness is mandatory. Clear outlook that emanates from clear thinking is necessary. This underlines abiding by moral reasoning and judgment leads dedicated fellows into meaningful destinations of lives and fairness.
For instance, neither eating too much nor starvation are the two extreme points, which butt with the center-eat to live lifestyle. Living a balanced lifestyle makes your journey simple and purposeful. Being fair enables one to be selfless, compassionate, and benevolent. It as well enables one have sympathy, empathy and moral values. In this regard, Aristotle pointed out that virtuous people reach the high status of intelligence due to the fact that the virtuous observe any entity in different focal points and preservatives.
These people manage their lives in view of social convictions, traditions, norms and belief on free market place idea. Mostly open their doors for discussion and debates in order to obtain and prioritize solutions among alternative standpoints. They highly believe on the existence of supernatural powers and/or code of conducts. And they are fond of devoting themselves into humanitarian, social welfare and peace keeping missions. Moreover, they engage themselves in domestic, national and international affairs.
They are considered as catalysts, role models and community leaders who have untapped potential to bring social change in terms of socioeconomic arena at micro and macro levels. In addition, they are good at solving problems, resolving conflicts. They serve as spur in role of paradigm shift by taking homogenous habit, trend and culture into account. And they offer chances for cultural diffusion. Actually, culture is not only included norm and tradition but also having spirituality tactile.
There are several possible mechanism virtuous people use to cope up with conflict and moral dilemma. In the difficult scenarios, they act as mindful thinkers by utilizing theological, deontological and golden mean idealistic mechanisms. Among theological idealistic mechanism, cultural relativism and utility models are the best instances and means to eradicate identity and material conflicts respectively. While cultural relativism refers to collective standard public norms through neglecting subjectivism practices, utility model implies giving pleasure for the general public through avoiding pain.
Deontological idealistic mechanism has based on duty or obligatory morals. This mechanism never bargains with moral values, particularly, humanness and veracity. Most of primary ( constitution and law) and secondary( rules and regulation) laws emanated from deontological framework. This enables to prevent crimes, moral adulteration and decadence.
The last but not the least, the moral virtue (Golden mean) is one of the most accepted mechanisms that enable to table arguments in the stage of reconciliation, negotiation and arbitration desks. Such a mechanism contributes a lot in solving war at international levels. Aristotle mentioned that the middle is moderate, virtue and modesty. In order to be righteous, standing firm with socially acceptable norms and universal moral values helps a lot. It helps to be fairly judgmental, not to be inclined, biased and sided.
It is from Social norms law emanates . keeping and maintaining social norms have undeniable influence in avoiding conflict, reducing crime rates, stabilizing social and natural catastrophes, protecting comfort zones and peace of mind before the law. Respecting social norms make us to live with tolerance, hospitable, compromise and reserved conducts.
So, harnessing our age-old culture of peaceful coexistence, resolving conflicts and managing traditional knowledge Like the Gada system ,we can maintain the tranquility of our country essential to spur the ongoing multifaceted development underway
BY MEHARI BEYENE
Below you will get the excerpts of the interview between State Minister of Women and Children Minister Bizunesh Meseret and the Ministry's Magazine Tewelede or Generation. For many years now she has been leading various women sectors. She has a probing insight and a wealth of experience in the area. At various echelons, hand in glove with the sector actors, she has been serving people and her country. She stresses that fine-tuned with the developmental thrust of the country, the participation of women must be led in a streamlined and organized manner. From the perspective of Ministry's mission,women's organizations and the support being extended to them Tewelede has presented to her the following questions.
What is your personal understanding about women and leadership?
State minister Bizunesh Meseret :-Being a woman is quite a nature-bestowed gift. It could not occur of one's choice. Nor could it happen contrariwise one's will. This thing is a bit divergent from societal perspective. Yet, it is possible to assess the analysis given by social science experts on things that take shape after birth. It is possible to talk long on the societal mindset about women that sends root based on the tasks and roles society assigns or set aside for women.
Specially, at a close up, when we evaluate Ethiopia's trend till recent times we notice that it was not one that put women on a balance or equal footing. To off set the imbalance that persisted all along the road from one generation to the next, the government is engaged in corrective measures at every layer. The gender disparity is apparent in every sector. Specially, when we look the number of women deployed in leadership position, we understand to which side the balance is tilted. But leadership must not be viewed as a gift to proffer. There is a call for leveling the system that has been posing a lopsided terrain between men and women for ages. Via a historic lens, when we evaluate women's decision making power and political participation we witness changes and improvements are taking place in every strategic era or approaches. We have to underline the call for throwing one's full weight behind further addressing women's issues.
How do you personally see top leadership?
As a woman, being positioned on a higher wrung of a leadership ladder has a meaning that is lofty. Because it saddles leaders with higher societal and governmental responsibilities .It goes without saying, assuming higher position on the leadership ladder presupposes due preparation,fervent commitment and higher accountability. Leadership is nothing but living for others letting go one's advantages. It should be well understood that those who assume leadership positions from both gender mix are meant to serve as they are entrusted with higher responsibilities.
Following Ethiopia's historic watershed that ushered in a budding democracy, the involvement and benefits of women in all spheres are mounting by the day. This trend tangibly proves if citizens persevere in respective undertakings, change will not be tardy in coming. Hence, as a woman in higher leadership position a lot is expected from me.
How do you describe the activities of women organizations?
The objective of getting organized under the umbrella of different organizations must not be for window dressing. It must aim at breathing life into the objectives of the respective organizations. In cognizance of this key objective, a large number of Ethiopian women are active getting aboard different organizations, having set goals. Previously, there was a trend of correlating or dubbing organizations set ups by women solely with gender-based circles. But, currently, women's organizations are playing glaring roles in development-oriented organizations specially in 1 to 5 arrangements. From time to time, changes for the better are snowballing. Specially, in ensuring women's rights, protecting the rights and advantages of members and seeing to the development of organization's respective strategic goals are picking steam.
What are the roles of your ministry in stepping up women's political participation?
The ministry has been rendering various support to women organizations so that,as a legal entity, they pose a sound posture. It has pressed ahead with this task. Taking into account the organizations,which serve incubators of leaders, we are widely engaged in sensitization works. Multifaceted activities has been undertaken to strengthen women's decision making role and bolstering their political participation. Changes are actualizing. Specially in all platforms at every echelon the participation of women is growing. To come up with capable women who could play a role to this end close to 40 women from all states and two city administration were offered a post graduate program in public management at Ethiopian Civil Service University(ECSU) in 2012. Similar activities are underway to multiply over the number. This is a good beginning. There is a need to press ahead with the task.
What activities are you undertaking to render women organizations vibrant?
To afford women associations a right posture various activities are underway. In addressing their skill gaps, multifaceted activities are undertaken. Technical supports too are given to them so that they could sustainably troubleshoot hurdles they encounter in their day to day activities. Preparing procedural manuals and developing projects are among the activities. Sensitization and mobilization works are underway to let them efficiently discharge their front line role in supporting development, ensuring good governance and building a democratic system. Above all there are tasks of fine-tuning the national push of empowering women with similar continental and global trends. Such tasks spare the organizations confinement to local scenarios.
The ministry is doing its due to expand the frontier of their commitment drawing lessons from best practices of other countries as well as rippling such inputs across the country. It is exploiting international forums. The combined effect of all supports is strengthening organizations and rendering them potent enough. As such,for sure the country shall efficiently handle additional tasks down the road.
What is expected from women organizations ?
As it is known, though the government doesn't organize women, it has a role of supporting them. Women organizations have the responsibility of taking on board members of the fair sex that sit aloof. In order such organizations play role in a successful manner they have to ensure accountability and transparency in their activities. They are expected to stamp their seals on government chalked out strategic goals at every layer. They are expected to actively participate in spurring development, strengthening democracy and ensuring good governance. Cross pollinating ideas with sister organizations, they have to develop the culture of flexing muscles to take off.
If you have additional message to carry across you are welcome.
The continuation of support on the government's side cannot be gainsaid. Putting garnered support to meaningful use is the responsibility of such organizations. At last, I call upon women organizations to lend force to the governmental thrust towards the burgeoning of development, good governance and democracy.///
(Source Tewelede, Public Relation Office of the Ministry)
TRANSLATION BY ALEM HAILU
To bring to the limelight
In different walks of life
Who fought their way
To inaccessible height,
We must not forget
Who their children
To school send
With full stomach,
A pat on the back!
This must be also
Included in our talk
Specially when March 8
By Alem Hailu
Ethiopia possess a broad-array of cultures colorfully celebrated every year by various nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia as they are manifestations of human intellectual accomplishments regarded conjointly. The assorted nations and nationalities of the country celebrate the cultures in a range of ways. The focus of this writer is on the New Year celebration of the Sidama people. As claimed by the socio-cultural heritages, the Sidama New Year, Fichee-Chambalaalla (Fichhcee) day of remembrance has been marked for more than 2000 years.
Fichee-Chambalaalla is a New Year celebration commemorated in the midst of the people of Sidama. The celebration attracts the attention of everyone irrespective of age, sex, religious affiliation, ethnicity, among others. At this moment in time, scores of tourists come from every corner of the country with the intention of partaking in the celebration. As it is passed down by word of mouth, this UNESCO registered inheritance and festivity, commemorates the Sidama People's New Year.
The Fichee-Chambalaalla festivity was started by a married Sidama woman who paid a visit to her parents and relatives year on year. She was in the habit of bringing "buurisame" a local favorite dish made from false banana hang out with spiced and melted butter as well as organic milk. More often than not, she served such special dish to her family members and the neighbors. This trend turned out to be an emblem of unification and generosity of the society for the reason that the food is not only for the consumption of the family. In the fullness of time, the people kept the festivity marking their New Year.
As maintained by findings of the Ayyantto “Sidama astrologists” and time-honored calendar, Sidama possesses a week that consists of days named as Diko, Deella, Kawaado, Kawalanka and what have you. The Sidama astrologists settle on the correct date for the festival which is then announced to the clans. Furthermore, communal events occur all the way through the festival including scores of traditional songs as well dances. Every member, regardless of age, gender and social status partakes in the program seeing that the festival augments impartiality, good governance, shared cohesion, nonviolent co-existence and integration among Sidama clans and the diverse ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Horse race and “Qetela” are parts of the holiday festivity.
Each year, on the very first day, kids go from door to door to greet their fellow citizens. This time, they are served with ''buurisame” as a sign of warm acceptance and good wish. Two weeks ahead of the celebration day, the Ayyantto of Sidama gets out of their respective residential houses at midnight. After that, they observe and investigate situations taking place in the region of the moon. They validate relation of the moon to group of the stars and sooner or later they come up with similar idea as to when the new year celebration will fall. All things considered, they declare the day of the New Year celebration on market days by way of different means.
On Fitaari, eve of Sidama’s New Year, all family units residing close to most senior persons on top of the family draw together in the house of the oldest father to commemorate the occurrence. Each person gets themselves ready to celebrate the day colorfully ahead of time. Geared up to welcome the new-year,they prepare various types of traditional foods mixed with butter and serve it to those who gather at the feast. Similar celebration takes place in each household among the communities.
During the day a wide-spectrum of mouth-watering traditional dishes are paraded and served. Early on the first day of the New Year, all relatives come to the house of the eldest leader and say Ayidde Cambbalaalla which means Happy New Year! This time, everyone responds saying Iille which means “Happy New Year to You Too. In the intervening time, water full of Tiltte, appliance on which Kocho is served in the van with small butter on the top edge of it,will be ready .Butter is taken from it to smear on celebrants' forehead.
On the occasion, children are not expected to get themselves involved in fetching water, looking after cattle and other drudges no matter what the cost may be. What is more, they are made to enjoy the day as they wish seeing that they are made free during the day. The other thing is that special day due attention is given to cows, goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, mules and what have you.
Subsequent to enjoying from the feast prepared for the day, everybody goes to selected places for marking the New Year with various events. Boys and girls join group of cultural songs and dances called Faaro / Lembbo. The married men as well join Hano, a cultural dance involving only married women and men. What is more, girls, to some extent, join songs and dances prepared to highlight and accentuate the significance of the day.
In the course of the festival, clan leaders advise the people of Sidama to work hard, respect and support the elderly. Moreover, they advise the people of Sidama to distance themselves from cutting down indigenous trees, begging, lethargy, false testimony, robbery and other related aspects. During the celebration, parents transfer the tradition to their children orally partaking in the event. Women in particular transfer knowledge as well as skills associated with hairdressing and preparation of ''buurisame'' to their daughters and other girls in their respective villages.
The fundamental support for such distinctive local New Year’s Day resoluteness as well as festivity is the Sidama calendar. While we are on the subject, it is an aftereffect of unequivocal and incessant forward-looking endeavors of chosen well informed and knowledgeable profound study of the solar system. Corresponding to Sidama people, such intricate investigations under the authority of the solar system is supervised and findings passed along to the public by most brilliant group of people most commonly known as Ayyantto (“Astrologists”).
By the same token, the chosen people under discussion have been discharging all-embracing survey on characteristics counting shape, color, volume, mobility, change of their position through time and interrelated situations of the solar system. To achieve the desired goal, they go out of their respective houses at midnight and assemble outside and scrutinize situations of the moon and stars for several hours a day jointly. They usually perform their study autonomously. When undertaking investigation in group, each will present analyzed findings of what has been observed. Each year, the celebration date is set by the local elders who count the days in the course of astrology practice given that there is no fixed annual date for Chambalala festival.
The New Year day is colorfully celebrated every year. All come together with the intention of celebrating the day. Two weeks before Fiche, elders set in motion holding a fasting after which they shower blessings upon their people, cattle and villages. More to the point, Astrologers from the community determine the date and announce it to the clans. The people of Sidama accept as true that while living in this world, people have to make an effort to figure out the right pathway of truth. In accordance with the outlook of the Sidama people regardless of huge sacrifice demanding the cost of genuineness befalls, we have to be bound to do, perform, proceed, and chat and what not, whatever the cost may be.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Dr Mekonen Eshete is a consultant Plastic and reconstructive surgeon. What is more, he is an associate professor at Addis Ababa University, Surgical Department. He is as well the vice president of the Plastic surgery society, Ethiopia and the site director of the Partners in Cleft Training in Africa. Dr Mekonen has been elected and served as executive committee member of the Pan African cleft Lip and Palate Association and served as a chair of the local organizing committee of the 2009 Pan African Cleft lip and Palate congress which was held in Addis Ababa UN hall.
The American Plastic Surgery Educational foundation and Smile Train recognized him as an educational affiliate providing compassionate care to the world’s citizens.
The Ethiopian medical association awarded him for the 2003 best scientific paper. Adventist Health International, Smile Train and Loma Linda University, USA also awarded him for the best scientific paper. The plastic surgery foundation recognized him as the 2013 Smile Train International Scholar. Recently Smile Train gave him recognition as the 2016 Smile Train Global leader in cleft care.
He participated in many surgical campaigns organized by the Surgical society of Ethiopia, Federal ministry of Health, AMREF Ethiopia, AMREF Kenya and Smile Train and helped many patients who needed his expertise. Moreover, he started his medical carrier as a general practitioner in the southern part of Ethiopia in Konso Bekaule town it is now called Karat town. He worked as a health manager and general practitioner.
When did your interest in General Surgery and subsequently in Plastic and Reconstructive surgery was born?
My interest in General Surgery and subsequently in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was born during my practice in Konso. A patient who has got stub injury to his left chest and who developed haemopneumothorax presented to the health center where I used to work. It was not possible to send the patient to Arbaminch Hospital, which was the nearest health facility, which could provide surgical treatment.
Haemopneumothorax is a condition, which requires immediate surgical treatment otherwise the patient, will die from respiratory failure. I was able to manage this patient together with the medical staff at the health center with the available equipment. This was my first successful independent surgery and it created an interest in him to study surgery.
From that day on wards, I decided to study surgery. After serving at Bekaule Health center for one year I was transferred to Arbaminch hospital and worked at the surgical department where I got a lot of opportunity to work with Expatriate Norwegian Surgeons, which further inspired me to be a surgeon. Then, I joined the surgical training at Addis Ababa University medical faculty and graduated as a general surgeon.
After graduating as a general surgeon, I went back to Arbaminch Hospital where I worked as a general surgeon and head of the surgical department. During my practice as a general surgeon I observed that many patients were losing their limbs because of inappropriate traditional healers’ treatment (tight splinting without anaesthesia). I decided to change this and together with my other colleagues and the support of Gamogofa zone health Bureau, Arbaminch Hospital and Arbaminch rehabilitation center educated 112 Traditional healers not to splint an injured extremity tightly and was able to change this and the number of patients losing their legs and hands were significantly reduced. In addition, I educated health workers practicing at health centers and Clinics on proper splinting of an injured extremity. I presented this work on the 2003 Ethiopian Medical association Annual conference and got an award for this work. I received a gold medal and a certificate, which says award for the best scientific paper of the year 2003. This work was presented at international conferences and received recognition.
What is all about being a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Ethiopia?
Plastic and reconstructive surgery is a unique surgical subspecialty. In contrast to other subspecialties it is not restricted by patient, pathology or anatomic sites, rather it is driven by surgical techniques challenging surgeons to be amenable to each new clinical situation. It is performed to correct and restore form and function, which is affected, by congenital anomalies, burn injuries, other traumas, infection, tumors and other diseases. It also helps to improve patient’s body image and self-esteem. In developing countries, plastic surgery is usually considered a nonessential subspecialty service because it is commonly correlated with beauty surgery.
The history of this specialty in Ethiopia can be divided in to two: before 2000 and after 2000 GC. Before 2000 there were only two plastic surgeons for the whole country. In 2000 a sandwich type-training program started in collaboration with Addis Ababa University and Haukeland University Hospital Bergen, Norway. Norwegian Plastic surgeons who are real friends of Ethiopia initiated the training. Norad financially supported the program. It is now fully runned by Addis Ababa University.
I am one of those who trained under this program and now I am one of the teachers. Since then 14 plastic and reconstructive surgeons trained and almost all are practicing in the country and teaching. Currently, there are 18 Plastic and reconstructive surgery residents and fellows all together. To be a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Ethiopia is both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity is, it is a new specialty, which is on the rise in our country, and it is a pleasure to be part of this development and contribute. There are many trainees who need your teaching skill and expertise. There are also a lot of patients who needs your companionate care and it gives you a pleasure to help those who are in need. As stated above it is a new specialty with considerable challenges.
What are the challenges?
To mention some of the challenges: there is scarcity of needed consumables and equipment. There are not many importers who are engaged in importing delicate equipment and consumables which are needed for nerve and vessel repair. There is a huge load of patients who need the service, which includes emergency patients. This discrepancy between need and supply is a big challenge for the caregivers and policy makers.
What are the common conditions, which require the expertise of plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Ethiopia?
We have all the problems, which require plastic and reconstructive surgical skills. The main ones are: Burn from different causes, in fact there is a change in the epidemiology of burn injury, some years ago the main cause was flame burn from open fire and ground level cooking. At the moment because of the booming of building and expansion of electricity in the absence of proper training and safety measures for the workers we see a lot of electric burns. Because of the same reason we see a lot of trauma cases, which require reconstructive surgery. The other conditions, which require plastic and reconstructive surgical skills, are congenital anomalies, of different types, which are also on the rise. Cleft lip and palate, hand anomalies leg anomalies ear anomalies etc.
You stated above that congenital anomalies are one common conditions which require the involvement of Plastic and reconstructive surgeons, what is the commonest Congenital anomaly which needs the expertise of Plastic and reconstructive surgeon
Almost all congenital anomalies in any part of our body require the expertise of a plastic surgeon. Since it is impossible to discuss all let me discuss the most common congenital anomaly, which occurs in the head and neck region in which I am also deeply involved, cleft lip and or palate anomaly. Cleft lip and or Palate literally mean an opening in the lip and palate (roof of the mouth). It commonly involves the upper lip it could be on one side where it is called unilateral or both sides where it is called bilateral. This is one of the commonest congenital anomaly in human being. It is also common in Ethiopia. Approximately one out of the 600 children born in Addis Ababa will be born with this anomaly. It is not life threatening but requires major corrective procedures, follow-up and rehabilitative care. In addition to appearance the problems associated with cleft Lip and or palate are multiple which include feeding difficulties, recurrent ear infection to the extent of hearing loss, speech problem, dental problem and psychosocial burden to the affected child and the family.
At the moment, these patients receive full rehabilitation free of charge at Yekatit 12 Hospital medical College with the support of the hospital, transforming Faces and Smile Train by a team of health professionals. This Cleft Management Team Includes Plastic and reconstructive Surgeons, Speech Therapists, Social Worker, Nurse Coordinator, ENT Surgeons, Orthodontists, Dental technician, oral hygienist and pediatrician. The treatment of these cleft victims’ starts with counseling of the parents. It is a big trauma to give birth to a child with any type of defect when you expect to have a normal one, so the first thing to do is to provide psychosocial support for those families. The psychosocial support will include demonstration of feeding techniques family group discussion and later peer-group discussion. It will be followed by surgical treatment evaluation and drainage of ear canals (Grommet tube insertion) by ENT surgeon if needed.
When did this multidisciplinary care exist in Ethiopia?
This multidisciplinary care did not exist in the country until 2003 when it was started at Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College and ALERT center in Collaboration with Addis Ababa health bureau, Federal Ministry of Health, Addis Ababa University and Haukeland university hospital Bergen Norway with the support of Norad.
At the beginning of this program, it was run by Norwegian plastic and reconstructive surgeons and speech therapists. In addition to the clinical activity they also thought Ethiopian professionals and now all the health professionals in the cleft management team are Ethiopians. The Cleft management team at Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College was awarded as a 2016 Smile Train Global Leader in Cleft care.
What is your take on the Government’s bid to churn out competent health Professionals that back up the goals set in GTP II in improving service delivery and medical education?
In addition to the clinical service, I am involved in many areas like teaching (capacity building) team coordination and creating external contacts. I am involved in the teaching of undergraduate medical students, general surgical residents, Plastic and reconstructive surgeons at Addis Ababa University, and General surgical residents and orthopedics residents coming from different universities in the country and abroad. I also mentored the plastic and reconstructive surgery residents at Jima University. I organized and thought at different national and international workshops. I involved in training of supportive staff from different health sectors in Addis Ababa in burn care. I am working as a site director for a program called partners in cleft training in Africa which is run by Kuamsi, Ghana, Midugri, Nigeria, Seattle Children USA. I am also working as a cleft management team leader at Yekatit 12 Hospital medical college for Transforming Faces, Canada and Smile Train USA.
Finally let us talk about your research experience.
I believe that research is very important in developing and improving knowledge and practice. I think it is only through research that one can evaluate the activities he carries on. I myself have done many researches and involved in many areas of research activities. Some of my research works were published in national and international peer reviewed journals. Two of my works won an award. Currently, I am doing a number of scientific researches; some are under review for publication.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Historic records shed light on the fact that Ethiopia was one among the famous countries in the world. Yet for various detracting reasons it had hit the bottom line.
Recently with an all out move citizens have begun rolling their sleeve to root out poverty. Trends have begun to take a change for the better. Among the efforts underway by the government to uplift the country from the quagmire of poverty is found planning Mega projects and seeing to their translation into action.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is the salient among such flagship projects. It is a historic monument that made up for the grudge of the past generation of Ethiopia for failing to harness the country's bountiful gifts.
It is to be recalled that forefathers had managed to disgracefully chase out the invading Italian forces. Following the war it waged against poverty, this generation too has begun to emerge triumphant over poverty.
But,sad as it may sound,the former generations were short of money, human resource and technology to build a dam over Blue Nile. Those who believe might is right were pulling a string to discourage loan-giving hands from extending help to Ethiopians. And as such, as they had not developed their financial muscles and skilled human power, they were left with no other option than buckling under the pressure of such bent exercising quarters.
The victory of Adwa is a historic landmark to people of Ethiopia. After a century-long down slide, in a similar passion, people of Ethiopia have reasserted their aura of greatness bringing into play the GERD breaking loose from foreign-influence wrought diffidence. GERD is a living billboard that has helped them assure their sovereign prides.
Some historians emphasize that GERD is a watershed via which Ethiopians reaffirmed their invincible posture after sweltering under poverty,hunger,vicious cycle of drought for a century. That is after the victory of Adwa. A victory from which they should have derived equal profit. The main reason for the recent victory in form of development could be attributed to the chemistry nations,nationalities and people of Ethiopia began to display standing in unison. Ethiopians, who just got constitutional answer to their identity quest, as they did joining hands,hearts and heads during the battle of Adwa have brought into being GERD that help them surmount multifaceted challenges.
Nile represents a huge river basin that encompasses 11 countries. Among these countries Egypt and Sudan are referred the lower riparian countries.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Eritrea are referred the upper riparian countries. The upper riparian countries are sources of the water. The volume of water they contribute to the river differs. Ethiopia generates over 86 per cent of the water. The lower riparian countries do not contribute to the river. Over 400 million people live in the catchment area. Ten of the countries are marked for income below the poverty line. Problem of food security, famine,drought,soil erosion,flood characterizes them.
For example in Ethiopia alone every year over 1 billion tone of soil washed away finds its way to Sudan.
As the Blue Nile basin in Ethiopia covers 6 states and various rivers it is directly related with 2/3 development of the land. Blue Nile was roaring past washing away our fertile soil in Tigray, Amhara, Benishangul, Gambela, Oromia and South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State, For ages Ethiopians were shunned from the boon the river proferrs. Contrariwise, ironically the two lower riparian countries, tapping the river for development, they have managed to reap a handsome return. For instance in Egypt, which harnessed the river for agriculture, over 5 million people are involved in farming. These Egyptians produce rice, wheat, cotton, sugar, vegetable and fruits .Obviously therefore, people in the lower riparian countries lead a better life.
The knowledge and skill Ethiopians acquire from executing projects afford opportunity to compete and participate in similar projects in other countries. Hence, its economic significance is high as it opens a room for creating competent Ethiopians in the global arena. Seeing the light of day, when GERD becomes fully operational it will serve a reliable foreign currency generator. Apart from the local consumption, the dam enables Ethiopia to export about 3500 Megawat energy. The foreign currency that accrues from this will meaningfully support our economy.
( Source Baakaallya,Publication of Welayta Zone Culture and Truism ,Government Communication Affairs Office,
Original Article by Tadese Fole)
TRANSLATION BY ALEM HAILU
W/ro Genete is from the Amhara State. She owns Energy saving technologies at this point in time. She once showcased her products in the exhibition which was held in Hawassa city in various shape and form. And thus she managed to win the hearts and minds of most of the visitors. While we are on the subject, she was born and raised in Merawi, 35 Kilometer away from the Bahir Dar city. All of a sudden, when her father made an effort to give her hand in marriage, she came to Bahirdar City without the knowledge of anyone. She was a grade six student at that point in time. She was forced to interrupt her studies though she loved learning with all her heart.
In the fullness of time, she started living under the same roof with a friend of one of her families without the knowledge of anybody. She did not have anything at that specific juncture. When she was at a loss what to do, she began hunting for a job for her daily bread. Although finding a job was not that easy at that point, she found a job in a mill house with a salary of 60 Birr. As she was not entirely happy with the salary she earned, she set in motion searching for a better job in every corner of the city. Luckily enough, she found a job in at a metal shop. She used to get a chicken fed salary.
She did not sit binding her hand and foot. She kept on thinking how she would be able to go to school with the intention of standing on her feet despite achieving the desired goal was not that easy at that time. She kept on fighting with her own ideas, feelings and thoughts targeting at making somebody out of herself down the road. Eventually, she joined grade six and successfully completed grade ten. She was always struggling to make her dream a reality. She was dreaming of making her bread buttered well.
The instant she completed grade ten, she got married of her own free will. In fact, as she knew the nuts and bolts of success, she kept on designing a number of efficacious mechanisms from time to time. She gave birth to three children one after the other. But later as the number of the family members kept on growing every so often, she found that the family's income was not an adequate amount. She did not know what she had to do to increase the income of the family. They were leading a hand to mouth life. This being the case, she came into a decision to have a loan of some amount of money with the purpose of running her own petty business. Thus, she borrowed 500 Birr and began putting up for sale local ingredients for the residents of the area. She went on completely focusing on her job at any cost. She was always full of activity thinking how to lead a better life.
Be that as it may, something unexpected came to pass. The things was, one fine day, the local Kebele gave her the opportunity to involve herself in wood saving technology project. After she had fruitfully completed the training, the Kebele provided her with cement and soil which enabled her to make stoves. Hence, she was able to make twenty five stoves. Then, she bought 25 bags of cement and made forty stoves and put them on sale. As ill luck would havee it,this time, she was not able to put up for sale the stoves at the required time given that most of the people were not acquainted with the new technology. If truth be told, there was no stone she left unturned to acquaint the people with the new technology and harvest the fruit of success within the shortest time possible.
She exhibited the stoves in scores of meetings by giving clear explanation about the stoves she made. She as well told them that they could purchase the stoves on credit. Following her new strategies, she turned out to be successful. As she turned out to be victorious in the new strategy, she made a 4000 Birr profit out of the stoves. As she was a hardworking woman, her income kept on growing every so often. Happily enough, the residents of the area started showing interest in her products. After six months, she earned 10,000 Birr. As the attention of the people towards her products kept on growing from time to time, she as well kept on multiplying over her products.
When she built her financial muscles, her husband resigning his job started working with her. What is more, she got herself involved in selling her products for the rural people. Her capital rose to 100,000 Birr. Currently, she is making various types of stoves which make life easier for the rural community at large. She is working day in and day out with a view to expanding the Biogas technology. Furthermore, she is making life easier for the farmers. She has able to create fifteen permanent and eight temporary job opportunities for her compatriots in 1997 EC. In the just mentioned year her capital had shot up to 2.8 Million Birr.
The government has been on her side from the very beginning on the subject of boosting her capacity by training as well as other related aspects. As said by W/ro Genete, women can unshackle themselves from the chains of poverty if they are dedicated and committed to their goals no matter what the cost may be. What is more, she upholds the belief it is possible to relegate poverty to the dustbin of history through hard work and determination. She is harvesting the fruit of success from time to time.
By the same token, the owner of Tsega Milk and Milk products, W/ro Hirut Yohannes, showcased her products (cheese, butter, cream, and Yourgorut) on the bazaar. Before she got herself engaged in the business, she was working as an accountant for a certain vegetable and Fruit farm. Later when the organization she was working in shut down, she joined a safety net program. Even though, she made an effort to earn enough income for the daily bread of the whole family she could not realize her dream. After thinking for sometimes with reference to the problem, she came into a decision to get to the bottom of the problem. All things considered, she decided to sell onions as well as tomatoes going door to door in association with her family members.
To everyone’s surprise, family members were carrying five to ten kilograms of onions on their back when they went door to door. Later they began using a vehicle. Last but not least, she grew to be successful in a short period of time. Subsequently, she got herself engaged in milk and milk product business.
Her next move was getting herself involved in milk and milk products sale with 725 hectares of land and two cows. The government as well granted her a 5 hectare of land for investment. She was working hand in glove with farmers in the environs with the intention of providing additional milk supply. This helped her to provide more milk and milk products for the residents of the area. Moreover, she successfully partook in various training, which were offered in and out of Ethiopia.
After passing through many ups and downs she is able to secure over eight million Birr. (Source Adopted From Tewelde Magazine,)
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Revolted by impoverishment, the country has mounted on an all-out war with this number one enemy of its. It is dead set on uprooting it. Success is crowning the perceptible measures the country is avowedly taking. The returns and opportunities this generation enjoys are leaping from one level of ascent to another. In the rocky journey of practical life, accumulating hard-won experiences,drawing lessons from wrong turns and strengthening glaring achievements, the country has begun to cut the elegant posture of growth it currently showcases.
It goes without saying, such path of development the country opted to embark on is not a bed of roses. Obviously, as it is true of the acid test of practical life, foreseen and new roadblocks could conspire to slacken the push towards affluence.
Through time, the country has nurtured the habit of changing encountered challenges to opportunities and lessons worth having in its backpack. True to the adage “An optimist sees an opportunity from a calamity, while a pessimist a calamity from opportunity!” an optimist the country is changing stopping stones in to stepping stones in cognizance of their invaluable instrumentality in troubleshooting similar problems on the road towards joining the ranks of middle income countries.
All in all, to answer the ever-mounting demand of the generation, redress challenges, fill gaps, build a better Ethiopia, the government is displaying determination. To herald the country's Renaissance, true to its enunciated words and reaffirming it, Ethiopia shall continue creating an affluent society, which marks the last station on its rail of development . The fact that this outlook has sent roots in the psyche of the citizens holds yet a higher level of development in store.
In our country women and children, which were underplayed in the previous regimes, form a higher segment of the society. Knowing full well the sad episode, the incumbent has made a point stepping up the country's endeavor and preferential treatment to render the two more beneficiaries of growth.
To answer the question of this generation, ward off challenges, fill gaps , citizens too must tighten their belt and reaffirm commitment. The two must show chemistry to take the hassle out of the march towards a rosy future.
Bringing into play Federal Women's, Children's Affair Ministry, the incumbent is trying to create women's equal participation and benefits in the socioeconomic,political and cultural fronts.
In present day Ethiopia, women parliamentarians,at the federal level, comprise 40 percent. Three ministers and 15 state ministers grace the executive organs. Up turning the wrong mindset “Women may not do it!” members of the fair sex are emerging successful in their engagements. Higher learning institutions too are absorbing a higher number of competent female students and churning out women experts that reinforce the country's push towards socioeconomic pickup and a democratic order. Such a standout could serve exemplary to other developing countries, where the trend ought be replicated.
Also Ethiopia today, on top of catalyzing gender equality, lavishes playing a midwifery role towards the birth of children's rights and security ensured system. To this effect, there is a call for creating awareness,facilitating things,getting the ball for a multifaceted move rolling and ensuring women's and children's affairs are included in laws,policy frameworks and development programs. Seeing to their entailment in laws,policies and development programs and implementation must also be included in the task. Facilitating things,following up works and rendering support are also crucial tasks. Checking the implementation of special incentives and the placement of talented women leaders in leadership and or decision making positions are imperative. In the unflagging process of change, Ethiopia will keep on creating a development army. Placing added focus on children and youths it will strive to come up with a generation having an all-rounded personality. It will nurture the trend of placing the opportunities of children first. Espousing gender equality, it will follow procedures that open a room for women's participation and benefits. Coming days hold, specially for women and children and the marginalized , affluence in store. Hence keeping such a virtue as an apple of one's eye is a must do.
There is a proverb of Ethiopians that goes: ‘death and tax cannot be avoided.’ Hence, paying tax is a characteristic feature of civilized citizens. And it is unavoidable responsibility of the state to collect taxes from its citizens so that it can put in place infrastructural facilities as well as provide goods and services to people. However, the state should be very clear on how much and in what manner citizens pay tax. Also there is a need to check how to collect tax and to supervise who is paying and who is evading it. There is a call for checking who is abusing tax regulations and who is respecting it.
Though Ethiopia boasts of having a developed state craft, which dates three thousand years back, it is to be known that its tax system was an outmoded one by any standard, even from African countries. And it is to be recalled that the trend of paying tax in Ethiopia was lower than any country in Africa. However, the EPRDF-led government has been taking many measures to improve the tax laws and it is increasingly making citizens pay tax. Hence, most of Ethiopians are aware paying tax is a must do and the responsibility of responsible citizens if the country is to experience economic and political advancement. Though much is left to be done, satisfactory efforts are undertaken during the course of the last ten years in this regard. As a result, Ethiopian tax volume is increasing both quantitatively and qualitatively. This is beyond any shadow of doubt.
One can simply see the budgetary volume every year. One can simply observe the economic growth the country is registering. One can also simply measure the salary increment to employees almost every two or three years. One can simply understand the institutional capacity and structure of the Revenue and Costume Authority in handling revenue and tax related laws and its efforts to sensitize citizens about the advantage of paying tax.
Needless to say, the country should go far to structurally scale up its tasks of collecting tax properly as the foreign and local investment, trade volume. Other economic activities are becoming too many to supervise using the current structure.
The authority should apply scientific methods and introduce modern system, which enable it collect taxes as much as it can for the sake of the country's economic growth. Much should be done in the future in this regard, I recommend. However, one should appreciate the efforts of the government which improved the tax system that are bearing fruits currently.
Having said this, the current measures levied on tax payer citizens seems to me politically shocking. The authority seems to have opted to unwisely force citizens to pay tax, which is totally beyond their capacity. I personally believe that the authority imposed guess-leaning taxation system on citizens. I am of the opinion that the move should be reconsidered. The small and middle tax payers, shocked, are seen abandoning their business. Some of them are bitterly complaining and lamenting the disheartening move. We know government encourages citizens to create jobs and business so that they can avoid life dependency over the state. However, the measure taken by the authority seems to run against this spirit of any government. The stern and sudden move by the authority sounds to me unwise . The response of the vexed tax payers was at times furious and confusion packed. The justification being provided by some officials via Mass Media also sounds to me less sagacious. This shows to me that the authority lacks serious scientific methods to convince tax payers and collect tax. Observably,its officials seemed unable to convince one. Ways forward need be based on preparation and careful study. creating understanding among tax payers and exercising the implementation of a system on which consensus is reached up on. This is the only way out not the other way round. No one benefits out of Coercing citizens to pay tax ,which is beyond their capacity. Hence, I recommend the authority to revise its system and law in this regard. It needs time to prepare and train its officers.
The EPRDF-led government should pay much attention and needs close examination of the matter before too late.
Prime Minister Hailemariam was very wise and honest in this regard. He warned officials who are forcing tax payers and advised them to be cautious in their action. Also to be research-based in their move and action. Regarding the current wrangling between tax payers and the Custom and Revenue Authority, he also hinted that s/he who intentionally let EPRDF pay political price will pay it her/himself. This came as encouraging and politically correct to all citizens.
The governmental and private Media, the social Media have really played decisive role in informing EPRDF regarding what is going on between citizens and the authority officials. Everything or every mistake was exposed forcing the concerned officials give details of the matter. This is practical example of the role of Media in a country like ours. The response of the government, not the concerned authority, was also wise and appreciable.
Some serious political and economic questions raised by citizens at different parts of the country are not yet addressed effectively. Attempts are however going on to meet the need of the people by the government. The authority should cross-check the presence of officers who are playing destructive role in provoking the people. It should also recheck its system and revise the imposed much loaded tax rate and should re-examine it so that it can be workable as per the paying capacity of the business society. Such move benefits everyone. It does not create winner-loser relations. Quick but scientific solutions are desired.
BY ZERAY HAILEMARIAM
Ever since the nation embraced the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 20 years ago, the government has been working effectively giving due attention to the issue of women, said Seleshi Tadesse, Women Mobilization and Engagement Director with the Women's and Children's Affairs Ministry.
The declaration is designed to back up the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) signed in 1979.
As to the director, around 12 priority areas were identified in the platform that associates women with Poverty, Health, Education/Training, Decision making, Environment, Peace, Children, Media, Human Rights etc. with specific strategic plan for each priority area.
Approached by The Ethiopian Herald, Seleshi said the Beijing declaration allows different bodies to encourage and exercise gender equality and women empowerment. It has also created public movements. The identification of priority areas in the platform has helped Societies and different sectors to work placing focus on them, he added.
Seleshi said, “Ethiopia has improved the Women Development and Change strategy. The platform and the strategic documents were designed in a way that can go along with other signed international agreements. The strategy mainly touches up on the current issues revolving around women.”
Likewise, the strategic documents more of help to employ the international agreements like the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and CEDAW.
He mentioned that aside from the challenges, a progressive performance has been registered in Amhara state in reducing early marriage. In this regard, including the major discussion on women related issues the Women Development Group has played pivotal role, he added.
According to him, Ethiopia has been implementing four major components; capacity building, community evaluations, partners’ engagement and monitoring and evaluation programs designed to diminish early marriage. The government is now trying to institutionalize the program.
The director says; “In Afar State, unsurpassed performance has been observed in containing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). By awakening commitment on those who are in leadership positions, the State has avowedly forbidden FGM over its 14 weredas. The declaration is expected to include the remaining 3 weredas of the State soon.”
Additionally, he said that using the existing set ups and community conversations, the State sensitizes its society members at community level taking on board religious leaders.
On top of all, glaring performances are being registered in the Health and Education sector among the identified priority areas in the declaration though the overall performance has still a long way to go, said the director.
To evaluate the changes that took shape and identify hurdles of implementing the platform, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) has prepared Women Development Index (WDI) twice up on the international criteria, said Seleshi. In concert with the Central Statistics Agency and sector’s professionals, few challenges were witnessed. One of the problems observed was the wrong attitude of Societies towards gender equality, executive bodies, unemployment and women.
He emphasized that the failure of leaders’ of government institutions in supporting and empowering the Women Development Groups is the other obstacle.
“The enormity of the outreach task, quality problem of agricultural and extension services and lack of technologies that take into consideration the burden of women are major hurdles witnessed in implementing the platform,” said Seleshi
He states that although women have now access to and control over resources, there are still few barriers. Compared with other states, Amhara state has best practitioner as it tried to improve its proclamations regarding the issue.
The director remembered that together with the Ethiopian Planning Commission, MoWCA has leveled 28 sectors offices so as to identify the stage where the nation’s sector offices settle in embracing gender mainstreaming and women empowerment in their set ups, policies and strategies.
He briefed that only one sector was able to score very high result while 25 sector offices registered high score and the rest two were medium in their performances.
He said; “The evaluation aimed at identifying the gaps of sector offices in embracing gender equality. Our objective was not passing out grades; it was done with a sense of making an impact on the issue while addressing all of the concerned institutions. The issue of women should not be left for specific body. We think it is everyone’s business so everybody especially the media should participate and must be concerned.”
It is to be recalled that the platform was signed in China on the 4th United Nations International Women’s Forum by 189 member countries.
BY BETELHEM BEDLU