Center for the Rights of Ethiopian Women (CREW)
Annual Activities Report
January 2013 – December 2013
CREW has accomplished the following activities during the fiscal year, January 2013 to December 2013.
1. Organized a panel, in collaboration with an organization called Nation to Nation (an NGO which is based in New York City), on Violence Against Ethiopian Women at the 57 session of the UN Commission of the Status Women (CSW). The conference was in New York and five members of CREW attended the conference and three of them (Maigenet, Mahdere andSelam) were presenters. Abaynesh Asrat from Nation to Nation was the moderator of the panel.
2. Held the 2nd Annual conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora – March 22 and 23, 2013 at the Washington Marriott. The theme of the conference was “Ending Violence Against Ethiopian Women.” This was in line with the theme of the 57 session of UN Commission on the Status of Women. We had very good speakers at the conference. Amsale Aberra came from the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Amsale was the first recipient of CREW’s scholarship to present her research paper at our annual conference. We had an excellent workshop on conflict resolutions on the second day of the conference. The speaker at the workshop was Dr. Berhanu Mengistu.
3. We submitted a proposal to Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) to sponsor our second annual conference. ESFNA donated $1,600 (one thousand six hundred dollars) to CREW to support our second annual conference. The money was allocated to pay for the partial cost of the hall rented for the two-day conference that was held at the Marriott hotel in Washington, DC.
4 . Published the Proceedings of the First International conference of Ethiopian Women in the Diaspora. The proceedings were sold at the 2nd conference.
5 . With the support opf CREW’s friend, Kebadu Belachew, we had a mother’s day celebration honoring Mrs. Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, mother of 5 and Civil Rights Movement legend. Author Michael O’Brien who has chronicled Joan's involvement in his new book "We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-in and the Movement It Inspired” was also there. Mr. O'Brien's book also details the organizations that worked together to achieve the goals of the Civil Rights Movement
6 . Collaborated with ESFNA in celebrating its 30th anniversary in July 2013. We were encouraged when ESFNA made “Celebrating Ethiopian Women” its theme for its 30th anniversary. ESFNA has provided CREW the following during its July festival:
- Allowed CREW to share a tent with two Ethiopian-based non-government organizations that are working on women’s issues. The tent was free of charge. That opportunity allowed us to network with one of the organizations based in Ethiopia. As a result, we have established a working relations with the Integrated Family Services Organization (IFSO)
- CREW was allowed the use of the ballroom at the Sheraton hotel, the official hotel for ESFNA for the July festival. We had two activities in the ballroom. One of the activities we had at the Ballroom was a fund raising event that was held on July 4th to support our work on Ethiopian domestic workers in the Middle Eastern countries. The second activity was a workshop on conflict resolutions that was held on July 6th. The workshop was conducted by Ato Solomon Tilahun.
- ESFNA promised to give us one dollar from each ticket sold at the opening day. Accordingly, ESFNA gave us $4,500 (four thousand five hundred dollars). This was in addition to the 50% commission on ESFNA’s raffle tickets sold by CREW.
- In addition, ESFNA helped in introducing CREW to a larger Ethiopian community. We were given a platform at the Ethiopian Day gathering to introduce CREW and give exposure about our projects on Ethiopian domestic workers in the Middle Eastern countries. Meron, Hamrawit and Zebiba gave speeches.
- We were also invited by ESFNA to participate at a panel discussion that it organized. The panel discussion was on the 50th anniversary of OAU (AU now). Maigenet was a panelist and she spoke about Ethiopian women’s participation in the OAU.
7. Prepared a booklet on young Ethiopian women who have done remarkable work by volunteering for their communities. This project was initiated and spearheaded by Hamrawit Tesfa, one of our members. A committee of CREW members was instrumental in the selection process of the young women and in editing the booklet. These booklets were sold at the soccer field and at the Ballroom fundraising dinner; and the selected women were honored at the fundraising event.
8. Prepared resource guide book for women in the MDV community. The summary version of the resources (address and telephone number and a brief description of the services they provide) will be prepared and posted on our website. Genet Derbe coordinated this project. Fekerte and Aleme contributed.
9. A pilot project with IFSO. We started a Pilot Project with Integrated Family Services Organization (IFSO), an organization that is based in Ethiopia. The program is briefly described below:
- From the money we received from ESFNA we sent $3,175 dollars (60,000 Ethiopian birr) to Integrated Family Services Organization (IFSO) to start a pilot project to resettle four Ethiopian domestic workers who have returned from Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia.
- IFSO will provide them shelter, counseling and medical services for four months. It will provide them job training and help them obtain jobs. At the end of the four months period, each woman will receive a one-time grant of 4,000 Eth birr to help them resettle.
- Genet Derbe, one of our members, went to Ethiopia (on a personal trip) and saw the facilities of IFSO, met the staff members and the director. She also signed the Memorandum of Understanding between CREW and IFSO (that was drafted, negotiated and approved before she left for Ethiopia).
- IFSO has admitted four women who have returned from Saudi Arabia. The pilot program has started.
10. We have hired a webmaster to manage our website. We have updated our website and it is now running and functioning well.
11. Due to the tragic situation of Ethiopian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, CREW was involved mostly in exposing the situation to the Ethiopian community worldwide and to the international community. Accordingly, the following interviews were conducted and we also participated at a panel discussion:
- Issued press releases
- Gave interviews on VOA
- Participated at Tadias Roundtable on Ethiopian migrants in the Middle East
- ESAT television roundtable
- Gave interview on Pacifica Radio
- CREW has supported the Global Alliance, the newly formed organization to address the plight of Ethiopian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.