Without a shadow of a doubt, a good word has the power of melting anybody’s heart without difficulty. A word borders on a foundation stone. It comes ahead of action. In due course, one can actualize one’s dream or hope. Several kinds of reflections are uttered by various people regarding the promise the premier made.
Some people argue that an action should be preceded by a word. A lot of stories had been written pertaining to the importance of speech in the form of stories. Today, this writer would like to highlight one of the stories focusing on the significance of a good word.
In the beginning, once, a king with his servants was paying a visit to a certain town. As it happened, the king bumped upon an old man planting a fruit-bearing tree. Then the king surprisingly asked, “Why are you wasting your time? This seed takes more than a score of years to bear fruit. As we can see, you are too old and thus you are not going to see when the tree is laden with fruit.
This time, the old man answered, “Right you are! I may not live until the seed bears fruit. Honestly speaking, people who used to live before us sowed seeds and we harvested the fruits. In our turn, we also plant a fruit tree for the coming ones. That is why, I am planting a fruit.”
The king grew to be very happy in the old man’s speech and ordered the servant to give him 400 Dinar. As the old man could not believe his eyes, he gave him a large smile. This time the king surprisingly asked the old man what made him simile.
“The fruit tree that I planted today will bear fruit later than twenty years. But the fruit of my words have begun bearing fruit now,” answered the old man.
As the king was very happy, he ordered another 400 Dinar for the old man for his good words. The old man smiled once again.
“Why are you smiling?” asked the king.
“When this fruit grows, it bears fruit once a year. But my good words or speech has borne fruit twice in not more than a minute. As the king was very happy, he ordered another 400 Dinar for the old man and disappeared from the area in no time at all.
Surprised, one of the servants that followed the king why he came into this decesion.
“Before this wise man’s good words are over, I could run out of my Dinars.” From this story one can easily understand the importance of a speech.
Recently, the newly elected Prime Minster had been crisscrossing different states of the country and the horn. Considering his speech, everybody was taken by surprise. In fact, a word is being succeeded by practice. That is what the premier is doing at this point in time.
Mesfin Getachew is a resident of Addis Ababa. He said, “The Primer is the right person for Ethiopia. He did the right thing for the country. We expect a lot from him. The country is heading on the right track. It is heading in the right direction at this point in time. Following his speech, there is peace and tranquility all over the place. We expect a lot from the premier. If truth be told, a word should come first. The premier has sown seeds of hope through his speech. Now, everything is over. He did the right thing. All and sundry is very happy at this point in time. We expect a lot from the premier. I do hope he will put his words into practice.”
This writer also came across a senior citizen named Habtamu Geressu. He is a retired factory worker. He said, “The premier has made me feel infinitely happy through his words. I do believe, he will take Ethiopia to the pinnacle of success more than ever. He has promised to carry out a lot of tasks for his motherland. He has placed much emphasis on Ethiopia. As I have understood from his words, he will make Ethiopia great again. He has raised a range of issues which were racking my mind for two decades and so. I have the courage to say, he is the messenger of God. He has almost started putting his promises into action. His speech has won the hearts and minds of the general public. At the present time, he has been harvesting the fruit of success through his visits to neighboring countries.”
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
99....98...97.., is a down counter that replaces the usual calendar of university graduating students. The counter stopping at zero bring the official recognition of achievement student got after 16+ years effort. There is a wide spread culture of celebrating the 100-day count down to graduation in higher education institutions across the world. According to different studies conducted by Psychologists, graduating students, in these days go through mind processes to join broader society more than any time in their life at school.
The ways of celebration and to do lists of things are different from continent to continent, and context to context. But there are some common things graduates do in 100-day countdown to graduation which include T-shirt Day, Graduating Classes (GC) football competition, trips to natural and man made sites and dinner events. In this article, I have discussed with some of the graduating students in Ethiopian universities on how they are going to spend the last days and what they are thinking about the life after school.
Ashagre Abayneh is a graduating student of Meteorology at Arbaminch University, some 500 kilometers south to Addis Ababa. Speaking about the last day he is having, he said: “ We officially celebrated the 100 day countdown before two weeks. On the day we have listed out activities to do in the remaining days. We will have trips to surrounding lakes, after everybody got his suit we will have dinner at the downtown. And most importantly, graduates are concerned about the real life they will start after graduation. Therefore, we will have a guest speaking on how graduates passed the transition time after graduation and successfully entered the society.”
Samuel Siferaw, graduating class student of Engineering at Bahir Dar University, mentioned that there is some thing going in his and his friends' mind as graduation draws close. “Life has been easy until these days. Today, even deciding a color of your suit is not something easier. The money you get this days are probably not less than to the money you have got in all previous years at the campus,” he adds.
For Samuel, the most anxiety comes with repetitive visitation of firms looking for employee, as GC committee invite them following the schedules in the 100 days. The salary and places of operation are the major things among his long list of evaluations. “When you work in cities, you are always exposed to opportunities the life being harder. Even though life is very simple and you can save money in rural areas, you will be far from your families and important connections. I told you this, but everywhere I go or whatever am doing, my mind is full of thought about the future,” he stressed.
Yosef Abraham and Abenezer Dawit, Candidates graduate of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University, believe that the stresses in the 100 days are the reflection of real life. According to them, in these days, the data analysis part of the final thesis is expected to be completed. On top of personal issues, the campus society's interactions reach their highest level and still there are regular classes.
“We are facing difficulty in managing all this at once. But, it is a good chance as we guess the coming life to be such a tough. But, let us be honest with you, the regular classes are so disgusting while looking other take photograph through window. About the future, we really do know that starting life from zero is not an easy task but we are not afraid. We do our parts, the rest belongs to God,” they said.
The above discussions show that the 100 day count down brings some pressure in the deeper part of graduating students' heart side by side celebration with different activities. The universities has to consider such effects and increase the platforms whereby students acquire some training on the transition from a student life to the bigger community.
“Besides, I also believe in the need for frank discussions between parents and children about the future in a way parents encourage their children to not be haunted by anxiety.”
BY HANNA ZERIHUN
Today’s guest is Belete Demissie. He had successfully spent thirty-five years in the Ministry of Education(MoE) in various capacities. Above and beyond, he had played a great role in the expansion of Technical and Vocational Schools across the country. There was no stone he left unturned to take the Ethiopian Technical Vocational Education and Training(TVET) to the helm of success. He is considered as one of the unsung heroes in this regard. Furthermore, he was one of the right hand men behind the successful expansion of higher learning institutions across the country by designing a range of fruitful techniques.
Taking his contributions in the education sector, he had been awarded various laurels from different bodies. Though he got retired some years ago, he is still working in MoE for the love of not distancing himself from the work.
The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with Belete Demissie with the intention of familiarizing his personal and professional life with readers. He had touched upon a number of interesting issues revolving around the whole lot of TVET development and the expansion of higher learning institutions across the country. Excerpts:
What is all about TVET?
TVET is tutoring and teaching that provides knowledge as well as insight for examination. It is the study of technology and interrelated disciplines. It as well as the getting hold of realistic handiness, approach, understanding and so forth with reference to profession in an assortment of subdivision of financially viable life. In fact, TVET take account of the modus operandi of skill advancement of the labor force carrying out in the industry of a certain country. Quite the opposite, vocational training deals with recessed schooling and schooling for the grounding of accomplished employees’ workers. It was well focused on coaching trainees how to carry out the tasks which are required in the workforce in various fields.
What was the status of TVET during the time that you joined the Ministry of Education like?
If truth be told, much attention was not placed for 'Technical and vocational education and training' (TVET) at that specific juncture. There were finger counted TVET schools such as Asmara Technical School, Addis Ababa Technical School and Bahir Dar Polytechnic. Later, we built the Tegbared TVET. Students were not given much attention at that point in time. More often than not, in spite of challenges we made an effort to offer them jobs. Things were not that easy. Even worse, the attitude of people towards TVET education was near to the ground. People did not have high opinion about the profession.
The focuses of most people were on other fields of studies. Many gave the cold shoulder for TVET. It was really easier said than done to change the outlook of the people towards TVET for the reason that it was extremely low down. As chance would have it, the number of TVET went on increasing over and over again with assistance secured from different countries. Slowly but surely, we established Agro Industry College in Northern Wello, a technical school in Ilibabure and the like. In this way, the number of TVET centers kept on growing across the country though the desired goal was not achieved in a little while. The education was chaired by MoE. The Ethiopian Airlines, Telecommunication, Addis Ababa University, School of Commerce and so forth were members at that point in time.
We did not do much expansion works at that juncture. Russian and America were on our side concerning the expansion works of TVET.They were very supportive. Inch by inch, our dream gradually kept on becoming a reality. The saddest thing was, there was no job opportunity for graduates from TVET. They were not encouraged to be entrepreneurs. In reality, we were as well not in the habit of raising awareness on the subject of how they had to find a job. I would say it was not that fruitful during the Derg regime though we were able to move a certain step forward.
How do you describe the awareness level of people towards TVET in the past?
As I have tried to mention so far, most people were not giving due attention for TVET. Nobody cared for the profession. Most graduates could not find a job except sitting at home as they did not have an inkling regarding the way out. They did not know what they had to do. In actual fact, we were encouraging them to get employed. Though, they were making an effort to find a job in their own ways, the whole lot was not that easy. At a loss what to do, students were shifting to another fields of studies in pursuit of a better job. There was a problem in this regard. Learning by itself was not the only way out for students. It did not help them much to stand on their feet. Little by little, everything grew to be on the track.
What about during the incumbent?
After TVETs kept going at a snail’s pace for years, a new move was started during the incumbent. Nobody had expected that TVET would move to a new level of accomplishment with no trouble. Nobody had imagined.
As much emphasis was placed on the sector, TVETs kept on growing in every nook and cranny of the country within the shortest time possible. Owing to the incumbent’s determination and commitment, it was possible to expand the whole lot in a little while. TVETs are found across the country all over the place and the number of students is increasing over and over again. To cut a long story short, everything began bearing fruits after the demise of the Derg regime.
It is said that your contribution in terms of TVET expansion is gigantic. How much is it true?
It is difficult to say that I did the whole thing on my own. I did not do everything on my own but with my colleagues. We were getting aids from UNDP, British Council, Taitu Italian, Japan, among others. Moreover, we were as well inviting and hire teachers from Japan to let them teach in different schools. I would say, we have made a little move in this regard. Inch by inch, the MoE hired a lot of experts in different fields of studies. In the past, the number of professionals was not that big. The government allocated money and gradually went on expanding and bridging the gaps. Furthermore, job opportunities kept on getting bigger and bigger. Graduates as well jumpstarted running their own business instead of hunting for a job. They do not want to get hired. In the past there was little credit facilitation.
How do you see the current status of TVET in Ethiopia?
At the present time, the mindset of students has shifted to entrepreneurship. They do not want to get employed. They only would like to run their own business. Entrepreneurial courses are offered for students at the moment. That means they are conscious about things they do. Graduates turn out to be professionals and conscious about what they do. They know how to put on the market their profession. Their focus is familiarizing themselves with ways of making money.
Unlike in the past, they no longer simply say “I am a graduate please hire me!” Honestly speaking, graduates who get employed will not achieve the intended target in life. They have to run their own business. In reality, the government cannot offer a job for everyone. If one trains students and presents them with the required materials, create the opportunities, meet loan facilities, and other related aspects nothing shall be impossible. At this moment in time, the whole thing concerning TVET is hugely changed.
How do you describe your contribution on higher learning institutions expansion work?
At the outset, in the past, there were only two universities across the country. I would say, the late prime minster Melese Zenawi and W/ro Genet had played a major role in the expansion of the higher learning intuitions of the country. The thing was, once we were invited to partake in a certain meeting. We discussed everything cornering the expansion of higher learning institutions across the country. The premier was ambitious. He was dreaming to see a lot of higher learning institutions across the country. A lot had been discussed pertaining to the way forward. At some point in the concluding speech the premier said, “I am not going to entertain any more questions. The MoE should do a miracle regarding the expansion of higher learning institutions across the country. We expect much from you. Make history within the shortest time possible. We are on your side.”
Then after Meles left the meeting hall. We kept on discussing what we had to do concerning the assignment he gave us. We made up our mind to do something to make his dream become a reality. Almost immediately, the government allocated budget. Therefore, we started training professionals in various fields of studies.
Everything was at our doorstep. Gradually, we actualized our dreams. Currently, everyone is happy to work in different parts of the country.
What about the trend in the past?
In the past, most people do not want to work in various parts of the country except in Addis Ababa. Nobody wanted to leave the comfort zone of Addis Ababa. They did not have a ounce of interest to live out of the capital. The situation was really heart-rending.
At the moment, all happily would like to work in various parts of the country as different development activities are afoot in different parts of the country.
What problem did you face in the expansion of universities?
At first, bringing into life higher learning institutions is very expensive. It requires dormitories, cafes, foods, medication, among others. By the way, what matter is not having adequate teachers in the profession or intellectuals having a degree, MA or PhD. What matter is their teaching styles and tehcniques. We have carried out a lot of workshops in this regard. We were busy producing management teams for the different universities. Honestly speaking, it was only Addis Ababa University that had the sole board members . But at the moment, such boards are present everywhere. The government has played a great role along this line.
They properly exercise their power and do everything as they wish. At this point, universities generate fund on their own.
How did you get the chance of learning….?
To begin with, I attended school at Ecelestial School. After that, I was made to serve in a church. One fine day, something unexpected came to pass. I had a shepherd friend. While I was playing with him, from a distance I saw a flapping flag. We did not have any idea about the flag. We could not understand what the flag was all about. At a loss what to do, we reached into a conclusion to go and discover the reality on the ground. When we reached there, the flag was hovering high.
We made an effort to touch the flag. But all our efforts went for nothing. In due course, we began hunting for somebody who would put in plain words more about the flag. When we looked around, we saw a range of classrooms. In fear and trembling, we came within reach of them. As it happened we heard a whisper in a certain classroom. We kept on listening with full concentration. As ill-luck would have it, the school director caught us red-handed and asked us what we were doing there. We answered everything in black and white. At that point, parents who did not send their children to school were penalized.
“By the way, do you know how to read and write?” asked the director. I told him everything in black and white. Priority was given to a governor's child. As my dad was a governor of a certain area, I enjoyed a better chance to go to school. I started school in this way and managed to reach where I am today.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Some say music is as important as humans' basic needs, while others say it should be forbidden once and for all. But the reality on the ground is very different. At this point in time, people from all walks of life regardless of age, sexual category, ethnicity, political affiliation and the rest listen to a range of music based on their preferences. Some people are crazy about love songs, patriotic songs, war cry songs, praise and worship songs, real life songs, and what not.
For some people, music means everything as it adds meaning to their life. More often than not, most people listen to music for various reasons every so often. To the surprise of many, some people cannot carryout tasks in the absence of music as it serves them as energizer.
But what kind of music do most people love listening to? What kind of music makes them feel happy: modern or oldies? The Ethiopian Herald had a short stay with different people from various walks of life to figureout what kinds of music interest the general public.
Having this in mind, this writer headed straight to a certain music shop found in heart of Sholla market. As it happened, he came across an electrician who was fixing a certain television set with a headphone on his ears.
Oblivious to his surrounding, he did not realize that this writer was standing by him. As the technician was fully engrossed by the music that he was listening to, he was simply shaking his head. Suddenly,when he looked around, he saw a man standing by his side. After the two exchanged greetings, the technician asked this writer “What are you hunting for ?”. “Your feeling about music-modern and oldies?” the writer answered. The technician responded in the following way.
“To begin with, music is the whole thing to me. Without music I do not think I would lead a meaningful life for the reason that music increases my happiness, lowers my stress and improves my health. Without blowing things out of proportion, unless I listen to music, I cannot sleep as it should be. That means, music helps me sleep better apart from doing other tasks as it should be. When I come to your question, my music preferences are entirely different. In reality, I am crazy about old music. I adore old songs more than anything under the sun. When you intercepted me, I was wholly carried away by Aster Aweke’s songs. My love for this music icon defy description. ”
“When on earth, I listen to Mahmoud Ahmed’s songs a feeling that I cannot express in words electrifies my entire being. Frequently, I listen to Aster Aweke’s, Tilahun Gessesse's, Kiros Alemayhu and Muluken Melesse’s and other singers’ songs. They mean everyt hing to me seeing that their songs mostly touch upon a number of societal messages. Among Tilahun Gessesse’s songs I listen to Lanchi Biye, Ayekdashim Lebe, Yezen baba Mar Nesh, Sethed Seketelat, Yene Mastawesh, ketro Yikeber, Yene Felagote what not. Actually, I am not saying, I do not entirely listen to the present singers’ works. For instance, I listen to Teddy Afro’s and Gossaye Tessfaye’s songs.
If forced to lead a world minus music, I would feel a vacuum and my life would be meaningless.”
The other interviewee this writer came across for the same propose is Sahel. He is a music composer around kazanchis.
He put his feeling for music in the following way,“We compose different types of music pleasant to ears. Our focus is making listeners feel happy and take the music industry to a new level of accomplishment. Mostly, I listen to both old songs and the rest ones. But I love old songs more than other songs. I am interested in old songs for a lot of focus was given to old music. The music and the topic our singers of the past raised were all attention grabbing. They melt anybody’s heart with no trouble. Also, the current singers are hard working. They always come up with different-ideas-packed verses and songs. Nowadays,the business is not that much lucrative.”
He went on to say “ Once, one released a single hit or a single album, one cannot harvest the fruit of success within the shortest time possible because almost immediately irresponsible individuals download and share different songs with others. This being the case, singers efforts go for nothing. They do not get much benefit out of their works. I would say, a remedial measure must be taken in this regard. Otherwise, it will be difficult to take the Ethiopian music industry to a new level of success. That is why our works mismatch with old songs in terms of quality and the issue they raise. ”
Genen Assefa is a student at Kilinto Technology University. He said, “I prefer listening to old songs because they express my feelings, ideas and thoughts. In addition the topics they touch upon are very tough. They cross-cut a number of societal issues. I hate songs revolving around love. As for me, love is a simple issue. We do not have to say, I’m going to die of your love, my life is empty without you, I am a prisoner of your love, I am tired of your love, your love is a poison, I cannot do anything without you, I want to kiss your lips, you are my angle, I am nothing without you, among the rest. What is the benefit we secure out of love? When you come to old songs, they focus more on societal issues such as motherland, bribe, heroism, mother, father, drought, and the rest.”
He added “I learn a lot of things from old songs. The music compositions and other related aspects of old songs are really special. As pole stars, they reflect everything going on among the general public. Unless, song verses reflect realities, which are being manifested in the daily routines among the society, they cannot win the hearts and minds of the public. If truth be told, I love all traditional Ethiopi ans songs. They are being composed in a very nice way. I would say the general public is zooming attention to traditional Ethiopian music.” .
The other person whom this writer had approached for an interview was Martha. She loves music very much. She said, “As most people listen to music, I do the same. I take advantage of headphone all the time. I love listening both old songs and current songs. But which do I value more? I give more value to old music. In the beginning, I was crazy about the current songs but when I observed my dad and mom listening to old songs over and over again at home, I gradually got attracted to old songs. All my family members listen to oldies for the most part Mahmoud Ahmed, Tilahun Gessesse, Muluken Melesse, Ephrem Tamiru, Neway Debebe, Aregahegn Worash and so forth.
“Music composers are producing a lot of attention-grabbing works at the moment. They are doing a great job. The number of music composers is increasing every so often. If they come up with different melodies which are pleasant to citizens' ears, everybody would happily listen to them. What is more, songwriters should as well place much emphasis on the themes of song verses they create. They do not have to stick to the same topic all the time if their intended target is to win the hearts and minds of the general public.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Ethiopia had been associated with war and drought for many years. Because of this, its name was highly tarnished, often mentioned in the western media as an impoverished nation which could not live without foreign aid.
However, after the ruling party (EPRDF) came to power toppling the military junta in 1991, remarkable economic growth has been registered. Regional and international financial institutions and development partners have witnessed the fast economic growth being registered over the last two decades. Though questions are being raised on its across the board wealth distribution and inclusiveness,there is no denying the fact that millions of Ethiopians have been lifted out of abject poverty.
What is more important is, the double digit economic growth has enhanced the nation’s capability of resisting droughts and other man-made and natural disasters. Since the agriculture based Ethiopian economy is highly reliant on rainfall, it has been affected severely due to lack of rain. As a result, widespread hunger, huge economic losses and environmental damage used to surface. Consequently, human and animal lives were lost. Also millions were displaced from their homeland.
As clearly put above, Ethiopia has been facing frequent drought incidents. But the 2016 El Nino-induced drought was the worst in 50 years. According to National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), more than 20 million Ethiopians had been affected by the severe drought that broke out in the aforementioned fiscal year. The situation had put to acid test Ethiopia’s capability of overcoming such tribulations using its own resources. Thus, the nation cushioned the impact through providing food, shelter, medicine and basic things for those affected and displaced due to the devastating drought. In this regard, NDRMC Commissioner, Mitiku Kassa told The Ethiopian Herald that despite some supports from WFP and FAO, Ethiopia has provided every necessary logistics for its people without requesting emergency aid.
‘‘Ethiopia’s self-reliance is growing at a fabulous pace. The country is able to feed its own people and this has showcased the country’s capability of tackling droughts and other disasters. We have got the difficult time behind our back and we are always to combat any danger with our own capability,’’ he said. Since Ethiopia is found in drought prone zone, 7.8 million people need aid this fiscal year. Out of this number, 6.8 are drought affected. Commissioner Kassa underlined that to alleviate drought once and for all, Ethiopia has designed a policy which could ensure sustainable development.
‘‘To combat drought in a sustainable manner, various activities have been accomplished. Ensuring potable water, implementing water and soil conservation tasks, expanding irrigation projects, and undertaking reforestation activities are among the mechanisms being applied to fight drought and climate change catastrophes.’’
He added that these activities have been implemented based on the 2002 Rural Development Policy and Strategy designed by the Ethiopian government.
Another very important issue would be utilizing surface and ground water properly. As the nation is rich in water resources, government and non-governmental organizations should work together for wise and mechanized exploitation of water. This would help for tackling droughts caused due to lack of rain. Taking this into consideration, Ethiopia has portrayed encouraging results. Many rivers were diverted to irrigate farmlands and several rural livelihoods have experienced a turnaround .
‘‘Small scale irrigation has brought tremendous changes in the livelihoods of low-income farmers in Tigray State. In addition to this, the state has been awarded globally for its water and soil conservation and environmental restoration activities,’’ he said, adding, ‘‘the same is true for Somali state. The resettlement activities being undertaken in Gode should be scaled up. It has to ripple to other places. The people in Gode has been diverting Wabi Shebele River for irrigation endeavors.’’
Furthermore, irrigation works are underway in Dubti, Afar State, to combat drought. The Awash River is contributing a lot in the state. Pastoralist societies have started permanent life style engaging in various agriculture activities. Besides, the use of modern fertilizers and hybrid-drought-resistant crops is increasing from time to time.
To sum up, the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) policy is being implemented successfully. The nation’s drought vulnerability is decreasing dramatically. However, still many tasks remain to sustain the changes being maintained. Water and social conversation, environmental restoration, small scale irrigation and empowerment of rural livelihoods should be the mechanisms which are fundamental for combating drought once and for all.
BY TSEGAY HAGOS
Giving birth is a woman's natural gift. Every girl could regret missing the chance to be a mom. But in developing countries moms face a lot of challenges while giving birth. Back in the years, out of 100 thousand mothers in the nation, about 1500 of them used to die.
Ethiopia is pressing ahead with down sizing maternal mortality rate and sticking out. Now the number of mothers that face such a tragic end out of the same number is cut down to 412. The nation has succeed in crystallizing a lot of changes pertaining to reducing the maternal mortality.
This achievement makes it exemplary to developing countries but in light of the plan it set out to achieve, there is still a lot to be desired.
In 2013, all countries had agreed to slash down mothers' death by 75%. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluation, Ethiopia has achieved 72% of the set goal proving the leader of developing countries.
“It is safe to claim that we are successful. But this should not open door for complacence. We are striving hard to fully translate our plan, which aims at parrying maternal mortality, into a laudatory achievement worth emulating. However, still it is not few who are dying when giving birth,” Zenebe Akale Mothers' and Youths' Health Group Coordinator for Maternal and Children Directorate within MoH told to The Ethiopian Herald.
The public has been using only the traditional medication for giving-birth and still such kind of medication are available in most places specially within rural areas. That means still the people didn't have enough awareness.
Erimias Kasahun is a health officer here in Addis, he agreed that the maternal mortality rate is making a nose dive.
He said specially in urban areas, as spouses have enough awareness about preempting possible complications they keep on dropping at close by health institutions starting from day one pregnancy is known.
“This does not mean that there is no women who does not pass away while giving birth. But as a trend, most pregnant women continuously seek pieces of advice, to spare themselves pregnancy related complications. Happily, in traditional coffee ceremonies and when they cross roads they advice women in the family way to follow suit,” he added.
It is a laudatory move on the part of the government that the service is given without payment. This encourages impregnated and financially constrained women to come to health institutions without harboring fear, Ermias appreciated. Those who can afford visit private health stations, mushrooming specially in big towns and alleviating the delivery burden.
The most dangerous reasons for maternal mortality are attributed to bleeding and blood pressure. MoH is working hard to circumvent these challenges to turn its plan almost a complete hit.
As a national level, focal attention is placed on containing bleeding, a formidable factor for the increment of mothers' mortality rate. Various training are tailored to address the challenge. Efforts are underway to import equipment, which helps to control excess bleeding that occurs when mothers are referred to hospitals from health stations, as Zenebe mentioned.
As the Publication of the National Blood Bank Service indicates, in concert with National Blood Bank networks are put in place to ensure that accessibility of clean and safe blood and blood components from hospitals down to health centers. It as well highlights as the catch phrase of the nation is “No mother must die while giving birth!”It sure is good citizens voluntarily give blood.
The other challenge is creating a strong system of interlinking health stations with hospitals. This system could allow the hospitals to support and strengthen the former.
Currently, MoH is communicating with about 100 hospitals . In this regard, when the ball gets rolling, the hospitals could click with more health stations. Gradually the move will ripple across the nation, the coordinator said.
We loses a number of mothers on the road when they are going to the health stations, which obviously could be far from their environment. The expansion of health institutions and facilities helps to increase the change for the better in the sector. The number of health stations is increasing dramatically and now at least one ambulance is available at each wereda.
In collaboration with stakeholders, works are underway to make the training geared towards averting bleeding vibrant. So if the plans get going fully, more changes will take shape, according to MoH.
Still not limited mothers give birth without health institutions. Out of the 3 millions pregnant women in Ethiopia only close 70% of them give birth in health stations.
MoH envisages to bring down the number of mothers who breathe their last while giving birth to less than 199 by 2020.That will be a great success.
So aggressive sensitization works including far flung corners of the country and hard work are expected from pertinent bodies at large.
BY GENET FEKADE
The recent history of Ethiopia shows that it has not had the fortune of democracies across the world which periodically experience peaceful and voluntary transition of power. A smooth change of leadership at the highest levels is crucial for the continuation of any nation in its trajectory. Episodes of unrest, anxiety and at times even violence and bloodshed have characterized many of these transitions in our country.
In most cases our historiography shows that there are very often intrigues and showdowns behind any authority and more so during a transfer of power. This was probably because we were never blessed with the basic idea of a strong, representative and accountable system of government chosen directly by citizens. We probably may have had our own native sense and understanding of democracy in various other manners, but not necessarily the same as what the world intends it today.
Unfortunately, coups, counter coups or attempts of the same were also among the features of our recent history. Violence or use of force has never constituted a scandal either. It has always been the winner who took the comman ding position and dictated things. When in 1974 the last emperor was ousted by the popular movement of Ethiopians, composed mostly of workers, students and the armed forces, there was no pre-established and reliable manner of replacing the monarchy. Hence, what followed was a gap filling dictatorship, meant provisionary at the beginning, but later on resulting permanent. It took seventeen years of struggle to overturn and replace it with the current establishment. Ethiopia hence had to pass through another transition that had very little of peacefulness and tranquility.
When the movement headed by EPRDF managed to depose the military junta they replaced it with their own system and their own understanding of how to use the power they had grip on. It could be said that it was probably more of a matter of luck and coincidence that the new administration managed to occupy the National Palace without bloodshed particularly in the final days.
Few pockets of violence and few explosions apart, the transition was largely peaceful also because Ethiopians have a certain discipline and faith and do not normally resort to violence restraining themselves. Even the dismantled army with their weapons did not resort to violence, using their weapons or loot and kill. Instead they were seen resorting to begging people for alms.
So much about the past but now, one can say that this time around Ethiopia has been lucky enough to experience such peaceful transition of power that everybody craved for when Dr Abiy Ahmed replaced the former prime minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.
When on April 2, 2018 the new prime minister took oath and promised to open a new chapter in the history of modern Ethiopia, there was an air of relief and hope among citizens across the nation.
To begin with, the first speech he made was a true sign of renaissance in the political landscape. The tone and presentation as well as the content were all admired and appreciated not only by party supporters but also by the neutrals and opposition perso nalities.
Many remarked that in one speech he had managed to harness the attention and emotion of the people. His very simple and straight forward language appealed to all Ethiopians. His apparent, deliberate avoidance of the language of ethnicity and nationality, perhaps orchestrated too much to certain levels during the past three decades in the attempt to emphasize the diversity of the country has gained him appreciation. For many observers, too much focus on the idea of nations and nationalities, had undermined the unity of the country and its identity was being eroded with consequent risks. Doubtless, the existence of a united country is a prerequisite to protect and fulfill the rights and expectations of nations and nationalities, components of the sovereign entity, Ethiopia. To them the risks of pushing towards narrow nationalism needed to be countered and avoid disputes and violence motivated by nationality-motivated ego.
Hence, it was in this sense that people were acknowledging as the first success of this new prime minister where he introduced a new approach towards the idea of a united Ethiopia, a country that has had a long and respectable history and dignity for which millions had sacrificed their lives. His insistence on this point and underlining its maximum significance, preaching the idea of unity and not division and the strength that originates from such reality won him support. His injection of certain spirituality in his addresses is also an unprecedented move in any rhetoric of his party. Mentioning his family as a source of strength for him as well as for any one in our country amplified the role of women. This appealed to the sentiments of people attributing him credit for the recognition. The centrality of family values was underlined and these were things that introduced the man in to the hearts of citizens, a precondition to accept him as an authority, a leader.
Dr Abiy’s next move was to consolidate the sense of unity and purpose he mentioned earlier in his speeches and meet people of various nationalities by travelling to their localities. He offered the chance to representatives of the public to interact with him in places such as Jigjiga, Ambo, Gondar, Bahir Dar, Assosa and Robe. It was in a way reminiscent of the American system of staging rallies in search of popular support when they enter their election cycles. This was indeed a success.
Acknowledging that what had happened between the Ethiopian Somalis and the Oromo around the eastern border as deplorable and not to be ever repeated, he made his first internal visit there. He tried to defuse the pressure and inject some reassurance on the part of his government. Not only did he express his regret over the occurrences, he also promised support to the victims and change. Recognizing that mistakes could unfortunately be committed here and there, he vowed they would not be repeated.
Talking about policy matters, he promised that no one would be persecuted just because they had a different idea than what the government may uphold. Everyone was welcome to the table of discussion and exchange of ideas based on clear principles and rule of law, he noted.
His idea of ‘one Ethiopia’ for ‘all Ethiopians’ on an ‘equal basis’ was perhaps what most wanted to hear from him being articulated and underlined. After all it was the issue of bad governance that had triggered the forces of change which culminated with him taking the lead in government.
Dr. Abiy’s face to face encounter with the large public was a success full of gratification from the public who had the opportunity to present their questions. There was an air of festival wherever he appeared and his speeches were underlined by enthusiastic applauses and cheers. This by itself represented a form of democratic process and this brought some form of enthusiasm among the people.
Observers were commenting that the air of enthusiasm he brought to the political landscape by itself was a victory to the system. It dawned a new day they argued. The future cooperation between the people and the government appeared promising. The level of confidence and trust that had gone dwindling along the years appeared to be restored. Crucial in this state of affairs could be the personality of the new premier and his approach towards power.
Dr. Abiy has been riding the horse of popularity and his rate of acceptance by the public has been increasing.
The other issue he focused on was to find and meet the leaders of Ethiopia’s neighbors. He traveled to Djibouti as it is a key outlet for the economy and then went on to Khartoum, another key neighbor. Then he visited Kenya where he was welcome with much pomp and ceremony. In all three cases he struck very significant deals, capitalizing on the long standing relations with these nations. After all, their vicinity and their vital influence on matters in Ethiopia are incontrovertible.
The path that Dr. Abiy traced and moved on seemed very well planned and the results seem excellent. New ideas of collaboration with all three important neighbours were forwarded and apparently accepted and the future could only be more and more promising. Ethiopia needs to be reassured that it will not have problems with its neighbors. It intends to move to more economic and political integration than any time in the past, and this is a critical beginning.
Two outstanding points that many were heard suggesting were the homework to be accomplished regarding our neighbour in the north and the key issues pertaining to the Grand Renaissance Dam. If the new prime minister manages to settle these issues, then we could say that the premiership of Dr Abiy Ahmed could only be rated as complete success and any challenges that may crop up in the future could only be better tackled.
The public’s expectations for a restructuring of the government in line with the fight against corruption and bad governance constituted another point. More accountability and transparency in government was every one’s desire. The strengthening of the so called independent democratic institutions such as the Electoral Board, the Human Rights Commission, the Judiciary, and the Media etc. are also among the priorities in the expectations of citizens which the prime minister will take time to address.
BY FITSUM GETACHEW
Enduring serenity and ever-thriving Chemistry are the decisive ingredients that allow a developing nation harness its bountiful natural resources for effective utilization to bid farewell to debilitating penury and surge ahead on the avenue of growth.
But towards their furtherance, the ingredients presuppose unity of purpose and thought,which obligate an open discussion to straighten out knotty issues.
It is in cognizance of the aforementioned fact ,Prime Minister Abiy Ahemed had been crisscrossing the country to streamline disarrayed sentiments and enthuse citizens to keep on lending hands to the developmental thrust the country is envisioning. In converging hearts and minds, his visits have turned out fruitful.
Unless reinforced by tranquility in the neighborhood, the peace within could be but anomalous, for the disturbance of peace in the neighborhood one way or another could have a spillover or a domino effect.Here, it is worth to take a stock that Ethiopia is ensconced in a volatile horn region. Still, some instance of instability are apparent in some quarters that could mar the tranquility of the east African region. To parry the specter of such a tragic unfolding, clicking with neighboring countries is a sagacious move.
Moreover, forging vibrant ties in the socioeconomic and cultural fronts with neighbors helps a nation like Ethiopia,all-out to actualize a rapid socioeconomic deliverance, benefit a lot by way of back scratching. All the more so, as the nation, which abounds in natural resources and that aims at joining the ranks of middle income countries making a leap into industrialization, is a landlocked one.
Via a win-win approach, finding ways how it could develop and manage its own port for a swift conduct of transit and transaction allows the nation easily materialize its long-cherished dream of hitchhiking its development.
Raw materials that feed its industries, mushrooming through out the country, could easily elbow their ways to hinterland. Conversely, export items, the semi and fully processed ones and commodities inclusive ,could find their way to the global market.
As Ethiopia handles an elephantine segment of its foreign trade through Djibouti's port, if it develops and manages it own port there it will render its trade system vibrant to emerge more efficient. By way of mutual benefit, Ethiopia could invite the latter involve in Ethiopia's telecommunication, airlines and electric power sector.
Also it is cognizant of this fact the premier is on a visiting tour to neighboring countries. The state visit and the agreement signed among peaceful neighboring countries has a huge implication specially in fast-tracking growth. IGAD member states' ties are a wide-range ones— historic,cultural,economic and political. Thus the significance of the clicking with each other goes without saying as it takes the aforementioned backdrops into account.
There is no gainsaying that fostering economic cooperation goes a long way in to facilitating political integration, much decisive to the volatile region. For countries having time tested people-to-people relation political integration will not be a hard nut to crack. If we take Ethiopia and Djibouti, the glaring historical, cultural and economic ties between the two countries could afford them set an exemplary integration to countries of the continent.
As Ethiopia could have easy access to the port Sudan, availing itself such an opportunity will help the country spearhead its economic growth on top of reinforcing its diplomatic ties with the latter.
It has been years since Ethiopia turned out to be an investment hub. Developing and managing ports therefore will give a kiss of life to the flow of Foreign Direct Investment,showing an upward swing in the country in the course of the past two decades. It as well buttresses the push towards better yields,efficiency and effectiveness. Simultaneously, the trend will allow the country zoom its eyes to untapped but beneficial resources.
Aside from breathing life into infrastructural facilities that link neighboring states,the economic integration will promote taxation and import and export trade. Had Ethiopia not been hamstrung by a constraint of ports, it could manage by itself, it could have doubled the developmental feat it showcased in the economic front.
Mindful to the common growth they could crystallize if they close ranks, regions of the horn are expected to display Chemistry. Prime Minister Abiy's move towards this end is laudatory.
ADDIS ABABA-For the past ten years now, 4000 people go to different health centers with Hansen's disease every year.
Yet the incidence is considered by the World Health Organiza tion(WHO) as business as usual and not a big deal.
Approached by The Ethiopian Herald Dr. Shimelse Niguse, Derma tology and Venereal Diseases specialist at AlERT Hospital said, over the past ten years, 4000 new patients annually visit different health centers. This number is constant year after year. “To the best of my knowledge, the awareness level of people towards the disease is extremely low as much has not been done pertaining to arresting leprosy. The disease can unquestionably be cured since extremely valuable and risk-free drugs for the treatment is accessible free of charge,” he added.
He went on to say, transmission result from close and long-drawn-out contact with untreated and infected person. Indirect transmission is very improbable. As the bacteria proliferate at a snail's pace, leprosy is not exceedingly transmissible. I would say, the cause behind the increasing incidence of leprosy in Ethiopia is not placing much attention to Hansen's disease. Quite the opposite, if we go to various parts of the country and do a physical examination, the number will unquestionably increase.
“Unless people witness symptoms, they do not dare go to any health institutions. From this fact, we can conclude that much has not been done on the disease. When people experience loss or the dwindling of sensation in the skin patch, lack of feeling or sense itching of the hand or feet, suffer excruciating pains on nerves, inflammation in the face, simple injuries on the hands or feet, they do not have to rub their eyes for a fraction of a second from going to a close by health center. At the moment, much attention is given to fatal diseases such as Tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS, malaria, among others. But they do not think of being physically challenged. The existing number concerning leprosy does not have to be seen easily. The number is not insignificant,” he added.
He further noted, to get to the bottom of this problem, trainings must be offered for professionals by allocating a large amount of capital. The number of physicians in the area should increase every so often. If you look at the rule, people with Hansen's disease can get treatment in any health institutions of the country without charge. Furthermore, patients with the disease do not have to come to Addis Ababa for receiving treatment. They should be able to get treatment at their respective areas.
“It is said that Hansen's disease has been declining. As for me, it is difficult to accept this bold claim as we observe constant figure year on year. Yes, the number may seem small in terms of the population of Ethiopia. As for me, our focus does not have to be on the number. Research should be done on the new ones as well. The disease, which causes mutilation and mayhem, can be cured easily. Sadly, people with leprosy come to our hospital, after their legs and hands had been already damaged. When citizens observe the symptoms, they should go to health institutions almost immediately,” he concluded.
BY ADDISALEM MULAT
ADDIS ABABA-Ethiopia and South Africa are working to boost trade and investment, integrate their economies, says Ambassador Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam.
Ambassador Dr. Shiferaw, approa ched by The Ethiopian Herald, said that the total trade volume between Ethiopia and South Africa stood at more than 166 million USD in 2016, a figure much lower in relation to the potential. “Growth in bilateral trade exchanges of Ethiopia and South Africa has not seen concomitant increase both in terms of volume and capital,” he added.
According to Dr. Shiferaw, in terms of FDI flow from South Africa to Ethiopia in the past years, until September last year Ethiopia had licensed 58 South African investment projects with a total capital of more than 1 billion Birr. Some of the companies operating in Ethiopia are PPC (Cement), Tiger Brands (Packa ging Materials), Mckinsey and Company (Industrial Technical Consultancy service), Group Five Construction (General Construction), and Standard Bank (representative office).
The Ambassador mentioned that the two countries had signed a Declaration of Intent in March 1998 and a General Co-operation Agreement in March 2004.Also they had managed to stage five Senior Experts’ Meetings and three Joint Ministerial Commission Meetings.
Hence, getting the best out of signed economic related agreements and exploring more areas of cooperation in this sphere is a timely agenda in the bilateral relations of the two countries. “In terms of setting priorities, both countries need to cooperate in the areas of energy, education and science and technology.”
There are also joint interests to elevate the Joint Ministerial Commission forums to Higher Level Commission forums where leaders of both countries will play a guiding role in terms of shaping and strengthening relations and laying the ground in a bid the people-to-people relations gain momentum, as per the Ambassador.
Given South Africa's immense experiences in mineral extraction, Ethiopia has initiated a draft agreement on Exploration, Mining, Geology and Mineral Beneficiation Cooperation between the two countries. Upon entering into force of this agreement, which is expected to be signed in the next couple of months, the bilateral cooperation in the sector is expected to exhibit qualitative changes.
BY HANNA ZERIHUN