The Hailemariam & Roman Foundation(HRF) began training public sector officials at all levels in the West Omo Zone of the Southwest Ethiopian People’s Regional State on gender mainstreaming. The training, which will last from October 18 and 19, 2022, has reportedly been attended by senior administrators from the Meinit-Shashana Meinit-Goldia woredas, Jammu, and Bachuma city administrations.

The Chief of Programs for Youth and Women Economic Empowerment of the HRF, Ato Fekadu Tesfaye, in his briefing about the training said that the priority task is to strengthen the capacity of the leadership bodies at all levels to help women in the zone in gaining economic benefits and participating in the sector, so that gender considerations can be appropriately considered in all plans and projects that are developed at all levels. He added that the provision of gender mainstreaming training to leadership bodies is an activity that creates favorable conditions for the effectiveness of other projects implemented by the HRF in the zone.

The Chief Administrator of West Omo Zone, Ato Mitiku Tamiru on his part said that the zone is lagging behind in all development indicators, and the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation has confirmed this problem through research and has been designing and supporting various projects aimed at solving the social and economic problems of pastoralists and semi-pastoralists since 2021. He added that there are 140 types of harmful customs that have been identified in the zone among others, some of which include demanding an excessive dowry (40–80 cattle), treating a girl child as a source of wealth and preventing her from attending school, and giving a girl as compensation to the families and dependents of victims who died in a crime.

He concluded by giving the attendees work instructions: “You should put a lot of effort into educating the community about the principles you acquire through training. Between 70 and 80 percent of the harmful practices observed in the zone are gender-related, thus this training program is a great resource for the practical efforts to address the problem.

According to the participants who spoke during the interview, the training will assist them in their efforts to cease harmful practices that have not yet been resolved. They also emphasized that having law enforcement bodies, especially the relevant senior authorities, involved will be a tremendous opportunity for them.

Hailemariam & Roman Foundation

October 2022, Addis Ababa