Embracing Authentic Self as a Woman

“Dear Sister, do not let either those who manipulate you or those who act like a guardian of your right define how you live!”

Shortly after graduating, my best friend tied the knot. Her dream had always been to become a wife and a stay-at-home mom, raising as many children as her health and finances would allow. We, her friends, were rooting for her and wishing her the best in whatever she chose to do. As for the rest of us, one of our friends became successful in business, another gained recognition as a leader in a non-governmental organisation, and I pursued a career in the media.


Ethiopia is working hard to tackle the many difficulties that its people are experiencing. Conflicts, evictions, and displacements are now common topics in Ethiopian news. These issues pose a significant impact on an already struggling economy. In response to these extraordinary challenges and their consequences, people and organizations are uniting to mobilize resources. Ethiopia has seen a wide range of fundraising strategies, from individuals and groups that collect items for vulnerable communities, to digital platforms that mobilize financial resources from around the world. In this piece, EBR’s Lidya Tesfaye examines the expanding practice of charity fundraising.


Eng. Belachew Chekene [PhD] Co-Founder, Wegenfund

Belachew Chekene (PhD) is a licensed chartered engineer with over 20 years of diversified academic and business expertise. He earned his BSc in Chemical Engineering at Addis Ababa University, followed by an MSc at Leeds University in the UK and a PhD from the University of Huddersfield, also in the UK.
Belachew has collaborated closely with cutting-edge industries while working in prestigious research facilities, and has published more than 45 articles in prestigious journals and conferences. He has held positions as a technical advisor for modeling, data validation, data management, and system development at UK’s major auto and power system companies. In Ethiopia, Belachew is the founder of Ethiopia International Professional Support for Abay (EIPSA), which is a volunteer professional association that has been working on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) since June 2013 with more than 270 professionals across the world.


The most common type of armed conflict worldwide at the moment is intra-state warfare – the kind that has been rocking Ethiopia for years. The violent clashes are a terror for innocent civilians, a threat to public infrastructure and private business, and a disaster for the economy. The stench of conflict lingers long after the final bullets are fired, repelling the possibility of rebuilding through investment. Still, it is possible to encourage capital to flow into war-torn places with the right mix of government support, the restitution of the rule of law, as well as collaboration with civil societies and local organizations. In Ethiopia, too often, instability is accompanied by finger-pointing at the private sector, accusing it of collaborating with perpetrators or insufficient support for the administration. In times of conflict, private businesses are expected to raise funds for pro-government forces and not much else. It is high time to recognize the potential the private sector has in building and maintaining peace. EBR’s Lidya Tesfaye showcases an initiative that is attempting to do just that.


Kebour Ghenna served as President of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce for four years beginning 1997; and as President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce. He also founded and still serves as the Executive Director of Initiative Africa (IA), a non-governmental organization known in recent years for organizing the Addis International Film Festival, Ethiopia’s annual week-long event showcasing documentary films from around the world.

Kebour is also the Executive Director of the Pan-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He ran as a candidate for a prominent political party during the sixth national elections last year but withdrew from active membership soon after. Kebour is never hesitant to participate and partake in issues that he thinks matter and have the potential to bring about a change in Ethiopia. He has had a front-row seat to the developments and challenges of the private sector for over two decades and regularly reflects on the sector and overall development endeavors in the country on social and mainstream media platforms.

Now, as Ethiopia is eagerly searching for peace, he has once again taken a stance through Initiative Africa. He believes that peace is not an issue the government can tackle alone, and calls upon the business community to take part. Kebour speaks to EBR’s Lydia Tesfaye on his latest initiative, and the role private sector can play in securing a lasting peace.

Ethiopian Business Review | EBR is a first-class and high-quality monthly business magazine offering enlightenment to readers and a platform for partners.

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