Africa Day 2021: Arts, Culture and Heritage



Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063 envisions ‘An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics’. This calls for an African cultural renaissance which is pre-eminent and that inculcates the spirit of Pan Africanism; tapping Africa’s rich heritage and culture to ensure that the creative arts are major contributors to Africa’s growth and transformation; and restoring and preserving Africa’s cultural heritage, including its languages.

Globally, the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) play a key role in contributing to GDP. In recognition of the importance of CCIs in achieving the Agenda 2063 objectives of regional integration, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development, the African Union declared the Year 2021 as “The AU Year of the Arts, Culture And Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.

Culture incorporates social behaviour and norms of a society as well as the language, knowledge, beliefs, traditions, arts, customs, capacities and habits of a certain community and the 2021 Theme is a declaration at a continental level for member states to invest more resources in promoting national and regional cohesion by investing in African culture and heritage as a vehicle for promoting and achieving the national economic and social development goals outlined in Africa’s Agenda 2063.

The Year of Arts, Culture and Heritage is happening at a time when the continent is still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has imposed heavy human, financial and economic costs to Africa. However, during the pandemic the Creative and Cultural Industries in Africa have played a key role in contributing efforts towards prevention and combating the spread of Covid-19 and furthermore the increased use of technology has created new spaces for CCIs sector to thrive by using digital platforms to promote their goods and services. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to re-examine the continent’s socio-economic priorities, including the role of cultural workers, towards contributing to building stronger and more resilient health and social sectors, promoting equality, inclusion, social cohesion and African Renaissance, as inspired by the Ubuntu Philosophy ‘I AM because you are; You are because I Am’.

Activities and programmes to be implemented under the 2021 Theme will prioritise the following:

  1. Arts and Culture;
  2. Health, Wellness and Post COVID-19 Response;
  3. African Languages;
  4. History and Oral Traditions; and
  5. Heritage.


Initiative Africa conducted First time voters’ education program

Initiative Africa carried out several training and discussion sessions for the first-time voters in universities and youth groups over 10 locations in different regions across the nation. The chosen locations were Diredawa, Ambo, Adama, Bahirdar, Debrebirhan, Hawassa, Gondar, Wolayta, Arbaminch and Wello.

The training focused on the importance of youth participation in the election, the basics of the election and the procedures of voting. The program was entertaining as it includes a mock -election, short play that was well accepted by the participants as the performance added the youth’s point of view and talents.
In addition, a group of 5 women were selected among the trainees and were given TOT and facilitation training on first time voter education and discussion. The women in turn cascaded the training to their peers in their community.

The trainings proved to be fruitful, and the youth shared their point of view and understanding to learn from one another and discussed through dialogue.

Happy International Mother’s Day

 In pandemic, here’s what moms can do to fight stress and fatigue
Ever since it started, the pandemic — and its resultant lockdowns — have caused stress. The idea of losing a sense of normalcy has overwhelmed people, causing emotional distress and some physical manifestations of it, too.
For mothers, especially, the period hasbeen difficult, and it continues to be so. Tasked with taking care of the house and juggling many responsibilities, mothers are often left exhausted.
And while Mother’s Day is all about making them feel special and slightly-less stressed, Dr Preeti Parakh, psychiatrist and head of power: The Centre, Kolkata, shares with some simple tips which they can put to use, to beat the stress of COVID-19.
* Routine life: Establishing a routine for everyone in the family provides a structured environment for the children and reduces the stress for parents. Maintaining regular timings for meals, sleep, exercise, games and studies can help children adjust to the new normal, and also ensure mothers get their chores done while children are busy elsewhere.
* Pandemic lessons: Explaining Covid- 19 appropriate behavior and precautions to children patiently will help ensure their compliance and reduce the pressure on the mother of keeping everyone safe. It is also important to practice the same so that children learn by example.
* Making connections: Connecting with other mothers helps form a support system. Sometimes just talking to someone who is facing the same problemsmakes one feel lighter. Connecting with the child’s teachers can also be helpful.
* Discipline: Mothers need to tactfully discipline children when they misbehave. A child throwing tantrums can be extremely stressful for a mother who has a hundred things to do. Sometimes just ignoring bad behavior helps. Distracting the child with some other activity can also help. Good behavior should always be appreciated as it motivates children.
* Family time: Shared family activities like playing indoor games, cooking or gardening together can be relaxing. This can improve family bonding and reduce stress levels for everyone in the family.
* The role of dads: Ensure the involvement of the father in parenting and share responsibilities with him.
* Me-time: Find some time for yourself. Use it to do activities that are enjoyable and relaxing. Take care of your health, eat and sleep on time and exercise regularly. After all, what is good for children is also good for their mothers.
Source The IndianEXPRESS

Mayors-Private Sector Conference

Initiative Africa (IA) co-facilitated the Mayors-Private Sector Conference which took place on May 6th and 7th which was titled ” Cities as Engines of Business Proliferation: What is Missing in Ethiopian Context?”. The thematic areas of the discussion sessions were:

  • Traineeship, apprenticeships and internship: key changes and good practices in cities
  • Changing mind-sets towards entrepreneurship – how can they be made more attractive in building businesses in cities?
  • Schemes and sources of financing and financing models for entrepreneurship in cities
  • Preserving cities while growing them
  • Leveraging cities’ potential for their growth

The conference was aimed at increasing Mayors’ understanding of their own entrepreneurship eco-system, discovering innovative policies that improve economic outcomes, and implementing those policies within their unique cities.

The conference was attended by over 50 Mayors, private sector leaders, different Chambers of Commerce and business associations, high level officials from different Ministries and other public offices and other stakeholders working in the Ethiopian Business Environment.

Panel discussion on business recovery and policies for growth in Ethiopia

On April 15th, 2021, Initiative Africa [IA] participated in a panel discussion organized by Social Enterprise Ethiopia [one of the development partners of the Innovative Grant Fund] titled “Business Recovery and Policies for Growth in Ethiopia” at Elilly Hotel.

The discussions were very lively and brought together different stakeholders. Namely, from the public sector – Job Creation Commission, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Ministry of Trade and Industry. In addition to several business operators, the discussions also included Non-Governmental Organizations which are also working on Business Environment reform in Ethiopia like the Center of International Private Enterprises [CIPE] – East Africa Regional Office and Reach for Change.