As a side event parallel to the International Conferece on Finance for Development that Ethiopia hosted, July 13-16, 2015, on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) held a mini-exhibition targeting on two sectors: hand weaving, with a focus to cotton mixed with cashmere and gemstones and jewellery. Those two sectors are part of the seven sectors that the project of the Office of the First Lady of Ethiopia is working on “Connecting 1,500 Women and Young Girls to the Export Market”, a project that CAWEE is implementing.
The mini-exhibition was officially opened with a ribbon cutting by H. E. Roman Tesfaye, the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, accompanied by other invited guests of honor (H.E. Zenebu Tadesse, Minister of Women, Youth and Children; H. E. David Usher, Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia; Ms. Arancha Gonzalez, the Executive Director of ITC; Mr. Samuel Bwalya, UNDP Country Director, Ms. Ingrid Stange, CEO of Partnership for Change and other invited guests).
In the mini-exhibition that targeted the two sectors, hand weaving and gemstones and jewelry, fourteen (14) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are project partners, all of them owned and managed by women, took part.
In introducing the mini-exhibition and providing basic information, event program and press release was prepared and distributed to all the invited guests during the mini-exhibition.
Company profiles for each of the exhibiting companies were prepared, where the six companies that exhibited their cotton and cashmere mixed products had group folder prepared and the ones in gemstones and jewelry, eight (8) companies, also had their individual company profiles prepared and presented in a folder in a group.
The hand weaving sector of the project, particularly the provision of the technical skills training to the grassroots women, was funded the by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Ethiopia Country Office, where the market linkage part of this sector focusing on SMEs targeting the export market, particularly the mixed hand woven products of cotton and cashmere was supported by the International Trade Center (ITC).
Six SMEs (Abugida Fashion, Little Gabies, Muya Ethiopia, Negist Ethiopia, Paradise Fashion and Salem’s Ethiopia), that are operating at different levels (existing, potential and emerging exporters), exhibited their cotton and cashmere hand woven products, under the brand/label: “Cott-Cashe: Made in Ethiopia”.
The gemstones and jewelry sector was financially supported by the Government of Canada, where twenty five young women were provided technical skills trainings in Baherdar, Amhara Region, this time producing semi-processed gemstones and jewelry and supplying that to SMEs involved in jewellery, that are adding value to those semi-processed gemstones and producing jewelry.
Eight (8) of those SMEs, all owned and managed by women, exhibited their jewelry products during the mini-exhibition. The catchy phrase used during the mini-exhibition to promote this sector was, ‘Gemstones: Unleashing Ethiopian Wealth’.
Once the exhibition stands were visited by the guests of honor, there was time for delivering remarks and vote of thanks by the guests of honor. The first remark was delivered by Ms. Nigest Haile, Executive Director of CAWEE, where she provided background on the project, achievements record so far and tasks on the pipe-line expected to be performed.
Nigest, Executive Director of CAWEE, first form the left, providing her remarks, H. E. Roman second from the right, Mr. Samuel first form the right, Ambassador of Canada, second from the left and ITC Executive Director third from the left
The second remark was delivered by Mr. Samuel Bwalya, Country Director, UNDP Ethiopia Office, where he expressed his gratitude to the overall project team on the success achieved so far, mentioning also the continued commitment of his office in further supporting the project.
The Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia, H. E. David Usher also provided his remarks expressing his appreciation to all the project team on the successful achievements that the project achieved so far. As an outgoing Ambassador, he expressed his best wishes to the successful accomplishment of the project.
The Executive Director of the International Trade Center (ITC) also provided her remarks, ITC being one of the partners supporting the project in market linkages. The Executive Director gave her assurance on the continued support of ITC to the project.
The founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Partnership for Change (PfC), Ms. Ingrid Stange, a Norwegian NGO which is a new partner of CAWEE, delivered her brief remarks on what PfC is doing in other countries and its plan in Ethiopia, mentioning and expressing her gratitude being the partner of CAWEE.
Finally, H. E. Roman Tesfaye gave her vote of thanks to all the stakeholders that are involved in supporting the project financially and technically. She underlined that, as this project is a pilot project showcasing that it is possible to work on value-chains and trainees can be connected to markets, all the concerned ones need to learn from this best practice and have the responsibility of replicating such an initiative in their respective areas of operations.
The First Lady, thanking all the donors and supporters of this project, she urged them for continued support, so that the project gets accomplished with great success as planned.