Culture Leads the Way

Culture Leads the Way (CLTW) - strengthening and advancing the participation of culture actors in development processes through different forms of cultural expression forms in Ethiopia.

April 17th 2018 Selam Ethiopia launched its three-year project Culture Leads the Way (CLTW). The project is embedded with the overall goal of strengthening and advancing the participation of culture actors in development processes through different forms of cultural expression forms. Teshome Wondimu, founder and executive director of Selam, held a welcoming speech where he announced that the project’s specific target group is young women and men engaged in the cultural areas of music, film, media, and circus. He also highlighted Selam’s new project has a broader scope than previous Selam projects and apart from Addis Abeba administrative city it includes the regions of Oromia, Amhara, SNNPR, and Tigray.

As Teshome stated, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) is the main source of funding for Culture Leads the Way. Within the project, Selam will collaborate with partners such as the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Addis Ababa University, Circus Debre Berhan, and other key culture and media actors for project implementation.

Teshome’s welcoming speech was joined by key note talks from His Excellency Torbjörn Petterson, Swedish ambassador in Ethiopia and a representative from MoCT. Ambassador Petterson emphasized the crucial role that culture can play for social cohesion and democratic institution-building in Ethiopia. The ambassador also complemented Selam on its efforts in creating space for culture actors to engage in cultural activities with the capacity to contribute to overall nation building efforts.

The representative from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT) made a remark on the importance of civil society organizations such as Selam for their role in promoting the development of Ethiopia’s culture sector. He also commended Selam’s continued effort in creating space for culture actors for them to enhance their roles in society. In his remark, the representative affirmed the government’s will to provide necessary guidance and support to assist culture initiatives for the benefit of culture sector growth as related to the national development agenda.

Another highlight of the kick-off was the two panel discussions conducted under the theme “Roles, Challenges and Prospects of the Ethiopian culture Sector” which traded insights from key actors of government authorities, public institutions, the private sector, and CSOs. The first panelists from key government culture representatives pointed out the importance of cultural infrastructure and systems, and described some threats and opportunities for the enhanced contribution and role of the sector in development processes.

Panelists representing the private sector and CSOs took part in a second session where major challenges and opportunities for the development of the Ethiopian culture sector was discussed. In this session, the importance of partnerships, information exchange, and networking were some of the major opportunities identified. Similarly, the panelists pointed out limited engagement and infrastructural support from the public sector as some of the main challenges for culture development. The panel discussion was enriched by comments and feedbacks from the event participants.

In his concluding remark, Selam’s executive director informed that events such as cultural forums will be organized by Selam as part of the new project to enable further discussions on various aspects of the culture sector. To highlight the importance of today’s event, Selam also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with MoCT to formalize their working partnership for Culture Leads the Way.


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