Meet The 2019 Women of Excellence (WOE) Nominees

Posted: Aug, 6th 2019 Contributor: Bilen Shifferaw,

The much anticipated AWiB 2019 Women of Excellence (WOE) nominees have been annouced. Every year the AWiB team celebrates outstanding Ethiopian Women who serve their communities and country tirelessly. 

The 5 women of excellence will be celebrated on October 20, 2019, at a Gala Dinner held in Sheraton Addis.  The 2019 nominees are:

Azeb Worku:  CEO of Arts TV

“I want to see a change in my country and I long to see Ethiopia a place where there is justice and sensitivity to women just as there is to ethnicity”.

Azeb Worku is a successful producer, playwright translator, actress, journalist and feminist. Azeb is best known for her character in the Dana TV series.  She stands firm on women’s issue challenging stereotyping of women. One of her major works intentionally cast a dark colour girl as the main character to defy the concept of beauty and to redefine it.

Azeb also uses her expertise, position and exposure to advocate for women’s rights.  One outstanding example was her campaign against an attempt by a popular social media activist who tried to hash a public uproar for justice for a girl who died of gang rape.  The script that she wrote to fight the injustice of society’s judgement on rape victims as if the victims had it coming, won a short movie award and got a grant from the US embassy.

Azeb works relentlessly to bring young aspiring actresses in her wing by sharing her network, mentoring and showing them the ropes of this hard to break art world.

Bethlehem Birhane: Founder of Entoto Beth Artisan – RESTORE EMPOWER CREATE

“My passion is making a difference. Making the impossible possible”

Bethlehem is a formidable businesswoman whose heart set on using her business acumen to help those less fortunate: to restore the lives of women affected by HIV/ AIDS virus through producing uniquely designed jewellery from recycled materials.  With this vision, she has been providing counselling, technical training and fair wage employment. Once the women regain their dignity and self-confidence, they are offered employment opportunities as professional artisans.  Beyond the economic benefits, employment opportunities mean a second chance at re-integrating into their communities.

Staying true to her vision, Entoto Bet Artisan has grown to be a successful manufacturer of uniquely designed jewellery. The pieces are created using lead-free beads melted from used artillery shells and scrap metal found scattered throughout the former war zones of Ethiopia. Farmers harvest the scrap metal, melting it down to be re-purposed for the jewellery, transforming destruction into beauty. Other local materials such as recycled tire thread and Ethiopian coffee beans are also used. Bet Artisan currently employs over 200 employees.

Dr.Selamenesh Tsige Legas: Founder & President of Gojjo

 “Passion, commitment and perseverance are the cornerstones of my success”

A Medical Doctor, Consultant, Pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Child Health, at 27 years old, Selamenesh has taken our city by a storm. Her resilience to reach her dream is beyond comprehension. Dr Selamenesh has accomplished a great deal at a young age but she is most known and appreciated for founding and leading  Gojjo, a  safe haven to accommodate and serve as temporary shelter for patients mostly coming outside of Addis and can’t afford a place to stay until they complete their treatment at government hospitals.  The shelter has accommodated 76,650 patients in its short four years which played a great role in healing patients from psychological and economic pain.

Dr Selamenesh also enables others to do great work by turning their dreams into reality.

Dr Selamenesh asserts for anyone to thrive and succeed, they should follow the three steps: first, have passion then commitment to make it happen and persistence/perseverance to keep going and reach the end goal.

Tigist Waltenigus: Co-Founder and CEO of YeErq Ma’ed

“I had a choice either to be ordinary or extraordinary. I picked the latter. I would rather die trying to be extraordinary than to live ordinary.”

Tigst Waltenigus is a co-founder and Practitioner Counselor at YeErq Ma’ed, a radio show where she helps families and women in psychological crises through community dialogue, counselling and forgiveness.

The mental issue is one of the most critical challenges of our country. 25 – 27 percent of the population has mental problems. Tigist with her business partner also established YeErq Ma’ed Community Support Project – ECOP–for individual and group therapy. ECOP is subsidized by the revenue generated from the radio show so those who can’t afford therapy could be treated free of charge; to date 1500 have been treated pro bono.

Her work is on education, health and media. Education through SEED, health through psychosocial support, and media through YeErq Ma’ed on Fana and YeSelam Gebeta on Bisrat FM reaching up to 10 million audiences weekly. There’s a larger audience online as well.  In the practice centre, 1,300 to 1,500 clients are treated annually.

Zaf Wolde Tsadik, CEO, Zaf Pharmaceuticals

“I am passionate about helping others using any resource at my disposal. Humanity, Kindness, hard work, commitment, professionalism and empathy are the values I live by”

Zaf Woldetsadik is a pharmacist with a heart. Zaf Pharmaceuticals founded by Zaf delivers better health care solutions and make it more accessible to the Ethiopian health sector market with a mission of meeting the ever-increasing demand of the Ethiopian pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and diagnostics market by importing qualified point of care products from all over the world and distributing them as to sustain quality and affordability.

ZAF Pharmaceuticals PLC has earned the reputation of being a major player in Ethiopia in stabilizing the market. Zaf does not only import and distribute to wholesalers but also aims to minimize the unfair added tariffs at each level of distribution that makes medicines unaffordable to many. Zaf pharmaceuticals have established a working partnership with government and private hospital pharmacies to supply all items directly. This strategy is aimed at reaching the end-user in a short period of time and minimizing the impact of the cost of sell on the end-user.

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