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Under the heading Breaking the taboo around women's rights the British Council aims to work on issues that promote the empowerment of women in Ethiopia

Women to women magazine

In March 2002 we brought out the seventh issue of our publication 'Women to women', which aims to push back the boundaries on discussion of women's rights in Ethiopia. We conducted a straw poll on readership, and learnt that over ten people read each copy. The publication was nominated for an award in a US university. We await the outcome of this process. This magazine is the first of its kind in Ethiopia. It is in two languages in Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia and English.

Political Skills training

This project started in November 1999 by the British Council holding a Training of Trainers workshop in political campaigning skills. Twenty seven women participated and went on to conduct their own workshops for a total of 386 electoral candidates(in fourteen workshops working with eleven political parties). This was a particularly exciting project, as it used the 'safe political space' available for activists working on women's issues. The third phase in the project brought trainers together to deepen experience-sharing in developing a political campaign, profiling election candidates and speaking on the radio.

The FCO Africa Command budget, funded the last phase of the women's political skills training project. In this phase four trainers representing Ethiopia's opposition parties trained just under 500 women candidates to stand for seats in regional and local elections. All participating parties have now formed women's groups who work together on a cross-party basis increasing their chances of making significant change on the political scene.

Regional Campaign

For the first time 8 British Council offices in East and Central Africa participated actively in an East and Central Africa regional campaign on women and political leadership, with a successful launch of the ECA report in March 2002.

Challenging Domestic Violence

With funding from the FCO Human Rights fund, we ran a stakeholder seminar to ensure local ownership of this sensitive project by a range of partners. This was followed by a seminar for over forty key players in this area, lead by trainers from the University of North London's Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit. The seminar led to the development of an Ethiopia-specific Zero Tolerance campaign, on the Edinburgh model. The campaign will comprise a TV drama, two radio productions and a popular song together with posters billboard etc. The campaign idea has also generated further activity for 2002/03: training for judges on how to deal with cases of domestic violence, plus a subsequent project, still to be worked up, with Police training institutions.

For more details, please contact:

Rachel Mekuria : Gender and Development Officer
Adwa Avenue, Artistic Building
PO Box 1043
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia
Telephone 251-1-55 00 22
Fax 251-1-55 25 44
Email Rachel.Mekuria@bc-addis.bcouncil.org

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