AWiB Updates News The first International conference on Women in Science and Innovation for Developmet from April 10-12/2017.
09 May

The first International conference on Women in Science and Innovation for Developmet from April 10-12/2017.

The international conference on ‘Women in Science,Innovation and Development’, the first in Ethiopia was hosted by Mekelle University from April 10 to 12 at Mekelle University in Mekelle, Ethiopia. The conference was a result ofMekele University’s appreciation of the disproportionate share of women inscience,research and leadership in the country and globally. The conference, therefore, was aimed at shedding light to the challenge and provide opportunities for young female scientists to communicate and network withwell established professionals around the globe and provide a platform where female scientists communicate and share theirideas,experiences and challenges. High profile women professionals,dignatorymemebrs of the community,federal and regional ministers( H.E Mrs. Demitu Hambisa,Minister of Women andChilderenAffarirs; H.E Mahbuba Adem,Stateminster of justice;H.E Kedisan Nega from Tigray regional state council) gender focal persons and academicians from all the 33 universities in Ethiopia, renowned scientists,humanitarians, innovators and entrepreneurs were cordially invited to give their key messages at the event.

The office of Vice President for Research and Community services(VPRCs) of Mekelle University; under the leadership of professor Fetein Abay (a professor in Plant Breeding and Seed in the Department of Dry land crop and Horticultural sciences and also a Vice president for Research and Community services at Mekelle University) took the first intiative to organize the event. The organizing committee chaired by Dr. Mulubrhan Balehegne (an assistant professor of range land ecology and pastoralism; a research and publication officer at Mekelle University); the organizational committee’s involved female academicians from agriculture,computational science,health,social sciences and humanities,engineering along, gender experts and logistic staff of Mekelle University.

Dr. Kindeya Gebrehiwot, President of Mekelle University officially opened the conference; and Professor Fetien Abay, the Vice President for Research and Community services started her speech by welcoming the guests.

Following this; H.E.Mrs. Hambisa; Minister of women and children affairs, and H.E. Mahbuba Adem ; gave their speeches focusing on the constraints and current institutional and political landscape for strengthening women professionals.




A total of 400 participants comprising of women ministers(H.E.Mrs. Hambisa; Minister of women and children affairs, and H.E. Mahbuba Adem Minster of ministry of justice from the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Worksemo Mamo Deputy speaker from the Amhara regional state council), 28 renowed inetrnational women researchers, 8 highly estalished women enterprenuers, 11 men and women delegates from the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA),30 junior and senior female researchers from the 33 universities in Ethiopia and 3 delegates from the university of Karthoum attended the three day event; proving the exisitng unity and solidarity bettween the two nations.  


Formal opening of the exhibition was later made by Her Excellency Mrs. Demitu Hambissa and Dr. Kindeya G/Hiwot. The exhibition mainly comprised of women entrepreneurs, innovators and humanitarians who are doing a marvelous job in areas of agriculture, development and human welfare. Mis Hermela Wondimu; a previous student at Mekelle University who established a humanitarian organization ‘A help for a drop of water’ and Mekelle University’s Mekuamiya; a rehabilitation center displayed their work to the wide audience.

The first day panel discussion was held by Prof. Yalemtsehay Mekonen from Addis Ababa university,Dr. Ambassador Genet Zewdie; a General director,Women strategic development center at Addis Ababa,Kebe Nigussie from UN women and Prof.Meaza Demisse; a deputy director at Addis continental institute of public health discussed on challenges faced by women in academics leadership and on the ways to success.

The conference was made more festive and interactive by later visiting Mekelle University’s Mekuamiya; a rehabilitation center located at the hub of Mekelle city.

Later at the evening, top ranked management officials from the university, directors and deans made their way to the high level networking dinner looking forward to interact and discuss on major national and global issues with the invited guests at planet hotel. Apart from exchanging views and ideas the dinner was also meant to introduce the eminent culture of the region and the nation in general. The ‘Ashenda girls’ showed their cultural dances of the Tigray,Amahara,Gurgae,Oromia,Afar and Somali tribes to the wide audience.

On the following day; the plenary sessions continued by focusing on the main cross cutting issues involving agriculture, climate change, food security, health, education and women empowerment.  In addition; a brief was given as a side event by Dr. Hewan; a secretariat on the Ethiopian Women in Agricultural Research and Development (EWARD) by incorporating major objectives, mission and goals of the association.

 The second panel discussion was later made by panalists like Professor Fietien Abay (Vice president for Research and Community services, Mekelle University),W/ro Firealem, Mrs. Etenesh Wondimagegnhu (owner and CEO of Birhan lehitasanat), Mrs. Aster  Mesifin (a founding member of Enat Bank) and a veteran fighter W/ro Roman G/Selassie and Mis Hermela Wondimu (the founding member of ‘A help for a drop of water’). Short video clips of panalists was shown to the audience. The panel was chaired by the Mrs. Nahusenay Girma (the founder and CEO of AWib (Association of Women in business).

On the final day of the conference; the guests departed to the buses early in the morning to visit major cultural, religious and remarkable spots in the region. Among which Abrha-Atsbha village with its indigenous soil and water conservation practices, Atsbi and DSS sites (Shewit see producer cooperatives) and the Abrha-Atsbha church and the Negashi mosque.

The conference was concluded with anonymous appreciation to Mekelle University and the organizing committee and with strong recommendations to increase such venues for engaging young as well as experienced women scientists and leaders and proposals to establish the Ethiopian Women Academic forum, Gender resource/excellence centers, being the main ones. Mekelle University; has reaffirmed its commitment to continue the momentum and host such international conference every year during the popular northern Ethiopia's women festival- the Ashenda-celeberate for one on mid of August every year. 

AWiB would like to proudly acknowledge its partners for the year.