The Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) held a project closing and graduation program in Axsum, Tigray on May 30, 2016 in the presence of the First Lady H.E. Roman Tesfaye, Ato Asfaw Abebe, Interim Director of the Federal Small and Medium Enterprises Agency, Ato Michael Abreha, Central Zone Governor of Tigray and Ato Kahsay Gidey the Mayor of the City of Axsum. This training was officially started on February 26, 2015.

The Office of the First Lady of Ethiopia, Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE), the Government of Canada have successfully concluded part of the project of the project “Connecting 1,500 Women & Young Girls to the Export Market” that directly benefited 50 women, who are from low income households Axsum. The training in Axsum focused on the training of 50 women in basketry using “Leha” the leaves from the local palm trees in the area. The training was made possible by the support of the Government of Canada. In addition to the trainees in Axsum, the project also provided trainings in Basketry in Bahirdar for 50 women, Gemstone Semi- Processing in Bahirdar for 25 women, Fabric Dyeing and Printing in Addis Ababa for 13 women and Gemstone Semi-Processing in Addis Ababa for 12 women benefiting a total of 150 women.

The women, most of whom have only received little or no education in their youth are housewives and were financially dependent on their husbands. Joining this project about a year ago, the women have been trained in the production of basketry products using “Leha” for local high end and export markets.

On May 30, 2016, the trainees received certificates of graduation from the First Lady H.E. Roman Tesfaye to commemorate the completion of their training and the graduation of the project.



The First Lady with W/ro Nigest Haile, Executive Director of CAWEE giving certificates to the graduates

With a budget of two hundred and fifty nine thousand eight hundred thirty seven CAD ($259,837.00), CAWEE as the implementing partner provided marketable skills to the women in a training facility that is ‘first of its kind’, as described by the First Lady of Ethiopia, H.E. Mrs. Roman Tesfaye citing the added benefit of having the women work together generating income and empowering themselves and their families economically. Also noting that challenges had to be overcome to materialize this project, H.E. the First Lady assured graduates that capacity building support will continue as the women gain greater access for their products to both local and international markets and encouraged private partner companies to continue the tireless support they have been providing to the association 0 women, who are from low income households Axsum. The training in Axsum focused on the training of 50 women in basketry using “Leha” the leaves from. 



H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye addressing graduates and invited guests

At the graduation ceremony, in welcoming the invited guests and congratulating the trainees, the Executive Director of CAWEE Mrs. Nigest Haile, highlighted the uniqueness of this project in encouraging all the concerned development partners to take part in replicating such kinds of initiatives. Providing highlights of the project progress thus far, the project manager, Ms Tsilat Yewondwossen reported that the women have organized themselves into an enterprise: Lemlem WoldeGerima and Medhin Abebe Partnership Association.

In advancing forward, CAWEE and its partners will continue supporting the women to get connected to markets, where the women have already established business linkages with companies such as Salem’s Design, Entoto Beth Artisans, Negist Ethiopia, Paradise Fashion, Little Gabies and other local and international companies.


  

Gifts presented to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment by Ato Michael Abreha, Central Zone Governor of Tigray and Ato Kahsay Gidey the Mayor of the City of Axsum on behalf of the trainees

The project was officially handed over to the Aksum Small and Micro Enterprise Development Office in the presence of the concerned guests. Following the ceremony, the trainees had a small showcase of the products that was visited  by H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye and invited guests.


  
H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye, Ato Michael Abreha, Central Zone Governor of Tigray and W/ro Nigest Haile, Executive Director of CAWEE viewing the different products of the trainees



H.E. First Lady Roman Tesfaye, trainees and other invited guests at the graduation ceremony