Event Recap

As always, the last month of the year meeting was bid farewell with the gathering of our phenomenal 2017 Women of Excellence (WOE) nominees W/o Ellene Mocria, W/o Lidya Tafesse, Professor Yalemtsehay Mekonnen and the 2017 WOE Titleholder W/o Anna Getaneh. It was a cosmic event not to be missed, with an intimate set-up where all attendees got to personally interact with our titleholder and nominees.

We were divided into four groups with each group having one of the 2017 WOE as their focal point. You could hear laughter, see admiration behind the thoughtful questions being asked as each group interacted with our honored guests. Each honored guest got to rotate and meet eagerly awaiting attendees within each group. Below are some of the interesting questions that our 2017 WOE were asked:


15 November 2017 Written by

Menelikish men - ReCap

AWiB hosted another wonderful, thought-provoking and entertaining monthly event entitled “AWiB’s Menelikish Men: Men who Support Women”. The panelists shared their personal and professional experiences on the issue. The presentation was really a cohesive conversation between the speakers and the audience. Elements of culture, religion, leadership, child rearing, maternity and paternity leave, policy and self-evaluation were all touched upon, wholly revolving around various aspects of women lacking adequate support on all levels of their personal and work life.

First panelist, Dr. Mehret Debebe, is not only a consulting psychiatrist but also an author and a motivational speaker. With a focus on mindset change and personal development, Dr. Mehret provides various corporate trainings, has published two renowned novels widely read by the Ethiopian public and is also a regular radio guest as an advisor on personal development matters. He started off by saying that we are all born with “infinite possibilities to be either selfless or selfish” and that is what determines whether a man can truly support a woman. Dr. Mehret believes that in order for a man to truly support his counterpart, he must first understand and be in tune with himself as an individual; he must essentially love himself first. He made a clever analogy stating that men and women are but hardware with different software and as such should be approached accordingly with patience and respect and most importantly with the notion that “the concept of support” cannot be forced unto anyone but better yet trained.


This year marked the 6th anniversary of AWIB WOE. The annual Gala Dinner kicked off with the arrival of three out of the five nominees as two were unable to attend. Upon arrival Anna Getaneh, Ellene Mocria and Professor Yalemtsehay Mekonnen were greeted and welcomed by the many attendees. Shortly after, there was an informal Q&A facilitated by the MC of the evening, Metasebia Shewaye Yilma. The dynamic Q&A session gave both the men and women in attendance a chance to ask thought provoking and humorous questions all at the same time. The session ended with the MC taking a selfie with nominees and inviting the guests to take a snapshot with the nominees and to get to know them up close and personal. 


Have you ever thought of art as anything else but art? Is it just something you thought is pleasing to look at as in great works to be appreciated, or men and women to be recognized for great talent; or have you ever thought of it as going beyond the art and the artist itself? Going beyond the work, beyond the individual behind the work, but actually to the immense influence it has on self-awareness and societal mindfulness at large? Well, AWiB definitely did when it hosted its monthly event entitled “Art as a Tool for Transformation” this October, with two renowned artist as their guest speakers. 


The 4th and final seminar in the Dearth of Women’s Leadership in Ethiopia seminar series took place on September 15, 2017 at Sheraton Hotel. The seminar hosted in collaboration with AwiB and Earuyan Solutions, and supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation was titled “The Approach to Gender Equality: Service or Disservice to Promoting Ethiopian Women’s Leadership?” The seminar was designed to examine gender equality approaches incentivizing the participation of women in leadership and decision-making.

The event started with an opening by Ms. Nahusenay Girma, Director of AWiB, who gave a brief recap of the trajectory of the series from its first seminar to its fourth and final. She took a moment to thank Ms. Billene Seyoum, founder and Managing Director of Earuyan Solutions, who was commemorating her birthday, for her immeasurable contribution to making the series happen. Ms. Nahusensay also thanked Ms. Selome Tadesse, who has moderated all four seminars, for her fearless interrogations and seamless facilitation of the series. 


The AWiB monthly lead and moderator, Sewit Haileselasie, opened the session by welcoming participants, thanking AWIB partners and the work of AWIB team. She further highlighted the Women of Excellence 2017 and their stories, featured on the AWiB website, informing the audience tickets sales have started for the Galla dinner that celebrates and appreciates these extraordinary women on Sunday October 29th, 2017 at the Sheraton Addis.

Members were then given the stage to introduce their businesses or say few words about what they do or what they are up to. In the September monthly event, Meron Nega introduced her startup business; Earth Soap, a handmade organic soap which is due to be launched on September 25th at the Medhanialem mall.


The program started with an AWiB Member, Asefach Haileselassie presenting her organization Bezna Training Institute, working on capacity building trainings. Another guest, Elleni presented a call to support her project on training street dogs to work as support dogs for the blind.   The monthly lead, Semhal Guesh, AWiB Board member, then introduced the speakers for the evening Biruktawit Tigabu, CEO of Wiz kids, Fitsum Kidanemariam Deputy Manager of Gift Business Group and Metasebiya Shewaye Yilma, Incoming president of AWiB and a media personality, were all invited to the stage.

Biruktawit Tigabu, who had just landed and headed straight from the airport along with her kids, introduced herself as Birkti, mother of two, author, founder and CEO of Wiz kids. She says she has been blessed to have a calling in teaching children, which she fell in love with in her first experience as a teacher. She recalls her three years of experience as a teacher, when comparing the performance of children from wealthy families that have been to kindergarten versus those that have not. She started asking herself how that gap can be bridged.


On June 30, 2017, AWiB and Earuyan Solutions presented a seminar on the involvement of Ethiopian women in leadership—“Ethiopian Women’s Reluctance to Visibility/Leadership? Fact or Myth?” The seminar, 3rd in the Dearth of Women in Leadership in Ethiopia seminar series and supported by the Austrian Development Agency, aimed to examine the factors that deter or propel women into key leadership positions and make meaning of facts and myths used to explain their absence. 

The session opened with an introduction by Ms. Billene Seyoum formEaruyan Solutions of the moderator, Ms. Selome Tadesse, founder of Emerge Leaders and Consultancy. Ms. Selome summarized the core questions of the session and revisited a question addressed by a previous seminar on the Dearth of Women’s Leadership in Ethiopia: Is it elitist for Ethiopian women to ask to share power? This question, according to Ms. Selome, had led them to ask what responsibility Ethiopian women have to level the playing field. Consequently, this forum investigates whether we as women want to be visible, whether we want to come to power or, according to the commonly held assumption, whether we are reluctant to assume such positions.


Change and Consequences was the title of the round table discussion (RTD) that took place on Saturday 10th June 2017 at AWiB’s Resource Center (ARC). Eight participated in this RTD facilitated by Meti Shewaye Yilma, AWiB’s President Elect.

The discussion was kicked off with introduction and what participants feel about change. The response was mixed. Few think of change as positive, one as negative but most of them have mixed feelings about change.

Change is perceived as positive or negative depending on the situation and circumstances. The terms we associate with change differ based on our experience during change; we call it growth when we enjoy it and hardship when we endure. We label change as negative when the consequences seem insecure, unpredictable, unsafe and unknown. We recognize it as positive when we feel we have more control over the consequences.


AWiB’s June monthly seminar was a descriptive look at the main bodies in government directly related to investment, trade and taxes. Each bureau, as listed below, plays an essential part in one’s decision to invest in Ethiopia. Individually each institution provides support as well as encouragement to anyone aiming to start a business in Ethiopia, invest with foreign institutions and contribute to the country’s economical development.

Although the bureaucratic ordeals are many, the fruitful success of the end goal of investing in Ethiopia is well worth the struggle. One must understand first and foremost that Ethiopia being a developing country carries its own set of obstacles, as the country is aggressively rearranging its government bodies and private institutions to better suit the willing and able domestic and foreign business investor in all sectors. Of the many topics covered during the seminar, the most imperative point that all the invited speakers wanted to convey was just that. 


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