Tag: Peacebuilding


Igniting Creativity and Fostering Peace: Meleya Workshop at the Urban Center in Collaboration with Initiative Africa

On February 15, the Urban Center was abuzz with creativity and innovation as Meleya, in collaboration with Initiative Africa’s Business for Peace project, hosted an enriching workshop and panel discussion aimed at igniting creativity and fostering peace.

The event’s highlight was the presence of Ethiopian American artist and industrial designer, Jomo Tariku, who is reshaping the landscape of modern African design by drawing inspiration from the continent’s diverse elements, including its landscapes, cultures, architecture, and traditional adornments. His innovative creations offer a contemporary interpretation while deepening their roots in Africa’s rich heritage.

Tariku’s notable designs, such as the Nyala, Qwanta, and Meedo chairs, alongside the Watatu Stool series, were prominently featured in the stage design of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, showcasing his bold design approach. His work is not only recognized in prestigious museums like the Met and LACMA but also reflects his advocacy for greater representation of Black designers in the industry.

The evening commenced with an inspirational workshop led by Meleya, offering participants a platform to explore their creative potential and discuss innovative ideas. Attendees were treated to an insightful panel discussion featuring Tariku, alongside Kalkidan Tadesse, CEO of Meleya Soft Furniture, and Maheder Gebremedhin, Director at The Urban Center.

The panel discussion, moderated by Kalkidan Tadesse, delved into the importance of creativity and innovation in fostering peace and driving socio-economic development. Tariku shared his experiences and emphasized the power of art and design in shaping narratives and promoting cultural heritage. “It is about representing our local cultures” stated Tariku.

With the support from Initiative Africa, the workshop ventured into exploring new avenues for creativity and innovation, aiming to empower individuals and communities to become catalysts for positive change.

The event concluded on a high note, leaving attendees inspired and motivated to harness their creativity for the betterment of society. As Meleya’s workshop continues to unfold, the journey towards peace and prosperity through innovation promises to be both exciting and transformative.



A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Signed Between the National Rehabilitation Commission and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association

On January 16, 2024, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the National Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Association (ECCSA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The signing was facilitated by Initiative Africa (IA) as part of its Business for Peace Project.

The Business for Peace Project , which has been implemented by IA for the past two year, seeks to integrate the private sector in the peacebuilding process of the country. This MoU represents an important step forward.

Ambassador Teshome Toga, representing the National Rehabilitation Commission, and Eng. Melaku Ezezew, representing the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations, formalized the agreement during the signing ceremony.

The primary objective of this collaboration is to forge a united front in the rehabilitation and reintegration process, emphasizing the implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) program. This MoU signifies a pivotal step towards fostering peace, stability, and sustainable development in the region.

To ensure the effective execution of the MoU, all participating parties have committed to establishing a dedicated technical committee. This committee will play a crucial role in supporting the seamless facilitation of the rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives outlined in the agreement.

The signing of this MoU not only reinforces the commitment to peacebuilding but also serves as a testament to the power of partnerships in addressing complex social challenges. The combined efforts of these organizations are expected to have a lasting impact on the lives of individuals affected by conflict, promoting stability and prosperity in the region.

For more information, please contact us at info@initiativeafrica.net or call +251-11-662-2640/41


The Next Generation of African Peace Leaders for a Sustainable Culture of Peace Donates 105k Birr to Aid IDP Women Affected by the Conflict in the Tigray Region

In response to the observed consequences of the recent conflict in the Tigray region, 18 fellows from the second cohort of The Next Generation of African Peace Leaders for a Sustainable Culture of Peace, formerly known as the Business of Peace fellowship, contributed a total of 105,000 birr towards aiding 21 internally displaced women in the Tigray region.

The Business for Peace project, which commenced in 2019, aims to involve the private sector in the peacebuilding process actively, fostering sustainable development. The recent donation represents a tangible step toward realizing this goal, demonstrating the program’s fellows’ commitment to positively impacting the communities affected by conflict.

The distribution of funds ensued following an extensive field visit to the Tigray region, providing the fellows with a firsthand encounter with the profound repercussions of the conflict on both individuals and businesses. Sileshi Yilma, a fellow and the current senior manager of marketing and branding at Dashen Bank, reflected on the transformative impact of the field trip, stating, “It helped me immensely to understand the situation on the ground firsthand in comparison to the reports on social and mainstream media.” Ashenafi Dawit, owner and shareholder of Gojo Coffee and a fellow, highlighted the motivating factors behind their philanthropic efforts, expressing, “Our visit to the IDP center and interactions with struggling pregnant women inspired us to extend a helping hand to women in need.” The core focus of this initiative centered on providing immediate relief to women who had been forcibly displaced as a consequence of the conflict.

Representing various areas within Tigray, the 21 beneficiaries received financial assistance as part of an initiative to address the immediate needs arising from the conflict. The money was provided in addition to their income to help give them a head start. The allocation was conducted in a manner consistent with the Business for Peace program’s broader goal of integrating the private sector into peacebuilding efforts to foster sustainable development. Members of the interim cabinet government together with the women and children governmental office oversaw the selection process.

This generous donation signifies more than just financial aid for the 21 women; it stands as a compelling illustration of how business leaders can emerge as catalysts for positive change in times of crisis. Sileshi humbly expressed, “I personally don’t believe that the donation was something to brag about. It was only the first step and similar initiatives will follow in Tigray and other affected areas.” This sentiment reflects a commitment to sustained action and underscores the understanding that this contribution serves as a starting point for broader, ongoing initiatives. Ashenafi affirmed this commitment, stating, “We, the fellows, are currently planning ways to continue our assistance to the IDPs,” emphasizing the collective dedication to making a lasting impact beyond this initial act of philanthropy.

The Business for Peace program continues to exemplify its commitment to integrating the private sector into peacebuilding, making tangible strides toward sustainable development and community resilience in conflict-affected regions like Tigray.


Initiative Africa, National Rehabilitation Commission, and Ethiopia Chamber Pave the Way for Collaborative Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reconciliation Initiatives

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – On November 2, 2023, a meeting was convened in Addis Ababa, bringing together the National Rehabilitation Commission (NRC) and the Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) with Initiative Africa (IA) facilitating the relationship as part of its commitment to bringing the private sector into peacebuilding. This significant gathering marked a substantial step towards fostering collaborative efforts in the realm of Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reconciliation (DDR) in Ethiopia.

This development follows a successful workshop organized by IA in collaboration with ECCSA and NRC on August 11, 2023. The primary objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for open discussion, knowledge sharing, and the establishment of cooperative networks between the private sector, government bodies, and business associations. The event underscored the critical role that the private sector can play in the development of an effective DDR program, which is pivotal to sustainable peace-building and socio-economic development in a post-conflict society.

The meeting held on November 2, 2023, built upon the momentum generated during the August workshop. Representatives from the three organizations participated in constructive dialogues, exploring avenues for enhanced collaboration and the integration of resources and expertise to further the DDR initiative in Ethiopia. This cooperative spirit has laid the groundwork for the potential signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to solidify the partnership and objectives.