Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 5, 2009 (Ezega.com) -- UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is organizing an event to launch a national campaign to promote the Leave No Woman Behind (LNWB) program initiated in July 2008. The LNWB program was developed by UNFPA and World Food Program (WFP) to address gender equality issues and women’s empowerment objectives. In partnership with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office and the Government of Ethiopia, including the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and the lead government coordinator of the program, the Ministry of Women Affairs, LNWB will be implemented over 3 years in ten districts in Amhara and Tigray regions. The program’s US$7.5 million budget is provided by the MDG Spanish Fund.
The LNWB campaign introduces a holistic vision of empowerment. The theme focuses on five major areas: HIV, Early Marriage, Safe Motherhood, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and Humanitarian Responses.
Five women from around the country will be honored as part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day on March 8, to be held at Mega Amphitheatre. The women were selected based on their contributions towards empowering women and achieving gender equality. These are women who overcame adverse circumstances to empower not only themselves but also their families, peers, and others in their communities.
“Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives” will be the key message for this year’s Leave No Woman Behind Campaign.
At a press conference, Yasir Bagersh, the Communication Manager and Campaign coordinator said, “it has been a challenge for the UNFPA to reach the target audience in an effective and unique way but we believe we have found the secret. The secret is Art. It is very powerful in terms of telling a compelling story and getting the attention of the public.”
The LNWB theme selects five ordinary women who have done extraordinary things, and five contemporary women artists to paint five painting inspired by women issues or the LNWB theme. “In addition to theatre performance, we will tell stories that will be translated to visual art by the five women artists, and stories of the five extraordinary women which will also be translated into dance choreography by Adugna Dance, the only contemporary dance studio in Ethiopia today,” said Yasir Bagersh.
Once the campaign is launched in Addis Ababa, it will move into other targeted areas across the country.
UNFPA have been using art as a medium for information for the past few years. A one hundred meter painting billboard was erected last year at Meskel Square to promote the LNWB theme. They have also traveled to three targeted regions to promote this theme: Tigray, Amhara, and Benishangul. UNFPA Assistant Resident Representative, Helen Amdemikael, told ezega.com that last year’s campaign was very successful. She said, “We have seen concrete changes in the selected regions. We see behavioral changes and practical results. It is really good and promising.”
In predicting this year’s campaign performance, Helen Amdemikael said “it is not easy to guess but we expect more results this year compared to last year.”
The LNWB campaign will actually start March 10, 2009, this year because of the long weekend in Ethiopia. “It is still women’s day,” said the campaign coordinator, Yasir Bagersh.
This article was written by Sindu Alemu reporting for Ezega.com from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She can be reached by email at News@Ezega.com. The article can be reprinted in full or in part elsewhere but only by giving full credit to Ezega.com. If posted on a website, we ask that you place this active link on your website: Ezega Ethiopian News, pointing to http://www.Ezega.com.