Friday, 3 August 2018

ኢትዮጵያችንን በተደራጀ መልኩ እናግዛት ፤ ሀገራችንን እኛ ካላገዝናት ማን ያግዛታል?


ኢትዮጵያዊነት ፍቅር ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መቻቻል ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መከባበር ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መንፈስ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ፀጋ ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት የታላቅነት ምሳሌ ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ብዙሃንነት ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ህብረት ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት የአኩሪ ታሪክ ባለቤትነትን ያካተተ ውስጡ ትልቅ ሚስጥር ያለው ነው፥፥ እነዚህንና ሌሎችን ኢትዮጵያዊ እሴቶች መሠረት በማድረግ በሀገራችን ኢትዮጵያ የተጀመረውን የለውጥ ጉዞ ተግባራዊ በሆነ መልኩ ማገዝ ከያንዳንዱ ኢትዮጵያዊ የሚጠበቅ ነው፥፥

በአለም ዙሪያ የሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያውያኖች ለሀገራችው ያላቸው ፍቅር በጣም የሚያኮራ ነው። ብዙዎቹ ሀገር ቤት በነበረው የፖለቲካ ሁኔታ የተነሳ ለአያሌ ዓመታት በየሀገሮቹ በሚገኙ ኤምባሲዎች በራፍ ላይ በመገኘት ቅሬታቸውን ሲያሰሙ የቆዩ ሲሆን አብዛኞቹም ኤምባሲዎቹ የነሱ አይመስሏቸውም ነበር።  የዶ/ር አቢይ አህመድን ወደ ስልጣን መምጣት ተከትሎ ይህ አመለካከት የተቀየረ ይመስላል። ህዝባችን የተገኙትን ለውጦች እውቀቱን፣ ገንዘቡን፣ ጊዜውን በመስጠት በተግባር ማገዝ ይጠበቅበታል፥፥ ጊዜው የመደመር፣ የይቀርታ ፤ የመቻቻልና በሀገራችን የተጀመረውን የለውጥ ጉዞ በጋራ በመሆን የምንንከባከብበትና ለዘላቂ የዲሞከራሲያዊ ሦርዓት ግንባታ በጋራ የምንሰራበት እንደመሆኑ መጠን ሁሉም ዜጋ የበኩሉን የማድረግ ግዴታ አለበት። በብዙ ሀገራት ተግባራዊ እንቅስቃሴዎችም እንደተጀመሩ ማየት ይቻላል። ይህ ተግባራዊ እንቀስቃሴ ዘላቂና ውጤታማ እንዲሆን ከመቼውም ጊዜ በበለጠ በመደራጀትና በታቀደ መልኩ መስራት ጠቀሜታው የበዛ ነው። መነጋገር ፣ መደራጀትና በእቅድ መስራት ከተቻለ ብዙ ማከናወን የሚያስችል አቅም ሊኖረን ይችላል፥፥ በጋራ በመሆንና በእቅድ መስራት ከቻልን ትኩረታችን አስፈላጊ በሆኑ ነገሮች ላይ ይሆናል፥፥ ሁላችንም ተመሳሳይ ስራ ላይ ከማተኮር በተለያየ ተባራት ላይ በመሳተፍ ሀገራችንን ሁለገብ በሆነ መልኩ ማገዝ እንቸላለን፥፥ ለሁላችንም የሚሆን የሀገር ግንባታ ሥራ አለ፥፥ ሁላችንም የሀገራችን አምባሳደሮች መሆናችንንም መዘንጋት የለብንም፥፥ አጋጣሚዎችን በመጠቀም ወደ ሀገራችን ኢንቬትመንት እንዲገባ የበኩላችንን ድርሻ የመወጣት ኢትዮጵያዊ ኃላፊነትም አለብን፥፥ 

ወደ ተግባራዊ እንቀስቃሴ ከመግባታችን በፊት የተወሰኑ ጥያቄዎችን ማየት ተገቢ ይሆናል ፥፥

1.     ሀገራችን ምን ያስፈልጋታል? ሀገራችን ምን አላት?
2.     ሌሎች ወገኖች ምን እያደረጉ ነው?
3.     ለሀገራችን ከሚያስፈልገው ውስጥ የትኛውን በተሻለና በተደራጀ መልኩ ማገዝ እንችላለን?
4.     ይህንን ማከናወን የሚያስችል ስብስብ ውይም ግሩፕ አለን ወይ?
5.     እቅዳችንን ማገዝ የሚችሉ ተቋማትና ታዋቂ ግለሰቦች አሉ?
6.     ከነዚህ ተቋማትና ታዋቂ ግለሰቦች ጋር ትውውቀና ግንኙነት አለን?
7.     እቅዳችንን እንዴት ነው ተግባራዊ የምናደርገው?
8.       እቅዳችንን ለህዘባችንና ለሚመለከታቸው ሁሉ እንዴት ነው የምናሳውቀው?
9.     የጊዜ ሰሌዳችን ምን ይመስላል?

ከላይ የተጠቀሱትንና መሰል ጥያቄዎችን በመመለስ የተደራጀ፣ ዘለቄታ ያለወና ብዙሃንን ማሳተፍ የሚችል ተግባራዊ ስራዎቸን መስራት እንችላለን፥፥ ስለ ሀገር መነጋገርና በጋራ መስራት ለሁላችንም ይበጃል፥፥ በሀገራችን ጉዳይ ሁላችንም የሚያገባንን ያህል ሀገራቸንን በተደራጀ መልኩ ማገዝ ብንችል ወጤቱ ሁላችንንም የሚያኮራና ከዘመን ዘመን የሚሸጋገር ሊሆን ይቸላል፥፥ ለመጪው ትውልድም የተሻለ ነገር አስተምረን ማለፍ እንቸላለን፥፥ በተደራጀና ሁሉን ባሳተፈ መልኩ መስራት ከቻልን ሀገራችንን በሁሉ መልኩ ልናግዛት እንችላለን፥፥ ይህንን ተግባራዊ የማድረጊያው ጊዜ ደግሞ አሁንና አሁን ብቻ ነው፥፥

ቸር እንሰንብት፥፥

Friday, 22 June 2018

Dr. Abiy, the change agent Ethiopia needs.


Dr. Abiy Ahmed brings changes to Ethiopia. He needs our support. 


The past few months have seen unprecedented but long sought changes in Ethiopia. It is all due to the new Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed who has exceeded expectations, took all by surprise and brought many on board. He has proved his doubters wrong and showed that Ethiopia is a country that only needs a leadership that can listen to the aspirations of its fellow citizens. He has showed that it only takes an honest will, courage, sheer determination and hard work to change the course. 

Yes, Ethiopia is on course thanks to this great son of ours, the people working with him and of course the change aspiring Ethiopians. These changes are the results of blood, sweat and tears (borrowing words from Churchill) of our sisters, brothers and kids. This is a once in a life time opportunity and hence it takes us all to be on the wheel of change, sustain and defend it. We cannot afford to lose this opportunity. We can, however, help Ethiopia become a successful and strong country by standing in solidarity with Dr. Abiy and his team. We need to be hand in hand and give it our utmost. High time to be in a journey together and contribute our bits. It is only us who can change the course forever and come out victorious. This is a challenge set for all freedom loving citizens. Called for action; action that should happen now.  If it is not now, then when? If it is not us, then who? 

Ethiopia on transition. 
One Love; One Ethiopia!


💚💛❤

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Behind the successful assemblies are great leaders and organisers


In the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of attending accountability assemblies across London organised by fellow Citizens UK Community Organisers and the community leaders they are working with. This was organising at its best. Fellow citizens holding politicians to account.

To see politicians being thanked for their achievements as per the promises they made last time around and being held to account for what they did not deliver was a good experience for many. That is what makes these assemblies different from hustings. It is all about organised citizens doing organised politics. The asks for the next term in office if the candidates were to be elected continue: Will you do this? Will you work with us? Will you meet with us? Tell us why we should vote for you? All sorts of properly crafted asks done in an organised and disciplined way in front of a big audience. Tough to say no in front of organised citizens.  

The assemblies are not only about what the politicians have done or should do if elected, but about leaders developed through the process, the turnout and its diversity, the music, the razzmatazz and whether it was fun to be part of. Hence organisers and leaders have a lot to plan, lots to worry about and run around to see their hard work through.

One of the assemblies I attended was the Lambeth Citizens Assembly on Thursday 26th April at Kings College. The assembly was very much organised, fully packed and led amazingly from the stage.  All being said, there was a moment which was exceptional and phenomenal for me. That is because I love stories. I believe stories change people’s hearts. They are especially great when told by those who own the stories. Hence that moment when we heard stories of welcome from a Syrian mum. A mum who a few months ago was in a refugee camp; a mum who was only resettled in Lambeth 2 months ago. Yes, that great and inspirational mum who had the courage to share her stories with humour. It was simply heart-warming to see her on stage. As soon as she was on the stage, she was gracious and full of smiles. The Syrian mum said, “Thank you Lambeth. Thank you for bringing us 2 months ago. It is my first time to speak in front of big audience….” That very inspirational woman has touched the hearts and souls of many. That was why she was accorded big rounds of applause, big cheers from the many community leaders that gathered from across Lambeth and of course a standing ovation. She should be proud of her English, should be proud of her achievements and should be certain that there are many people who really care and who are welcoming. It was a joy to be at this amazing assembly and hear such a moving story of welcome. Kudos to Lambeth. Yes, Lambeth welcomes.


Another great Assembly I saw in action was the Tower Hamlets Citizens Assembly. An assembly that was full of energy. Leaders willing to go extra miles to deliver. Community leaders ready to channel anger into action. Yes, they are ready to welcome and integrate a new family through the community sponsorship scheme. It may take time, but we will one day hear stories of welcome through community sponsorship in Tower Hamlets. Till then, folks are ready to organise themselves and do their bits. 

It was a joy to be part of these assemblies. It is also a joy to know the assemblies in different parts of London were successful and exceeded expectations. One thing for sure, behind all these great assemblies are talented organisers and passionate and hardworking leaders.  Keep organizing; it is democracy in action.  


Thursday, 22 March 2018

Churchill Fellowship – an opportunity of a lifetime


 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”- Winston Churchill

The above quote means a lot for me. I first applied for the Churchill Fellowship in 2014 and was not even invited for interview. I thought I would give it sometime and comeback. That was what happened in 2017. I remember getting an email from one of the most successful Churchill Fellows, Citizens UK’s Executive Director, Neil Jameson encouraging staff to apply. His encouragement was echoed by my ex-colleague and former Churchill  fellow Imogen Moore and Zrinka Bralo of Migrants Organise who is a seasoned civic leader with extensive links with Citizens UK and of course a former Churchill fellow. All the three mentioned that the fellowship was one of the most useful things they did and encouraged us to apply.

I kept the emails flagged and took time before I applied. I thus decided to put in application but I wanted to make sure that I gave it my best so that I would succeed this time around. Hence, I spent a few evenings doing a research and being clear on what I wanted to do. Once I submitted my application, I wanted to switch off, but I kept thinking about it. I thought I had done my bit to get the fellowship and if I didn’t get it, it would have meant that there were better candidates. Luckily, I got the email I was eagerly waiting for. Yes, I was shortlisted for interview. Loved it, but I was cautious and not celebratory. In life we don’t always win as we don’t always lose. Hence, I had to prepare for the interview and be once again clear with what I want to achieve if offered the opportunity.

Now that I am a Churchill Fellow I will travel to Canada, one of the most welcoming and beautiful countries in the world, to study about its refugee sponsorship program, especially to see how businesses and schools are engaged in sponsorship. Hence I am revisiting my plans and planning my next steps meticulously. I feel privileged to know many people who can help me organise meetings or connect me with those I am keen to meet in Canada. As a Churchill fellow, I aim high and aspire to meet some prominent figures and I very much hope I will be able to meet some of these amazing people and some good old friends.

Old and new Churchill fellows, Amanda, Neil and Bekele of Citizens UK

I still recall that very email from Neil and subsequent emails from Zrinka and Imogen. They were fellows that pushed boundaries. They were also folks who showed many of us why Churchill fellowship was a good thing. They travelled to learn and came back and inspired us. Yes, I say us as there are two of us from Citizens UK as 2018 fellows. My good colleague Amanda Walters is also a fellow this year as we keep the connection of Churchill fellowship and Citizens UK alive. The most inspirational Neil Jameson was a 1977 fellow who travelled to the US. Of the back of that great opportunity, Neil founded Citizens UK. That great opportunity Neil had and his tenacity to make a difference meant we have a strong guild of Community organisers, who are all striving to make a difference. I am a Churchill fellow now because my organising career helped me to build my confidence; it helped me to challenge established norms and see the world from different angles. Now that I am a Churchill fellow I am determined to be even more ambitious and get the best out of it. I very much hope this great opportunity, of course a once in a life time opportunity, will be useful for me, the communities I am working with and the wider public. It will also be an opportunity for me to share about my experiences in the UK.

Yes, I am fired up and ready to go. I will sometimes in the future sit down and reflect on my journey. Imogen Moore has shared the following as she reflects on her fellowship, “I cannot exaggerate how important my Churchill fellowship experience was for both personally and professionally. I visited neighbourhood based projects in Brazil and the US that were organising their communities to improve children’s health and educational outcomes. The projects I visited and the things I saw gave me profound insight into what we needed to create to give children the best start in life in Southwark, South London, where I was working as a community organiser. The people I met and the space I had to be creative and reflect gave me the impetus to come back to the UK and grow the Parents and Communities Together Project which has since grown to work with hundreds of families and it is now scaling to different parts of the UK. I have no doubts that what I learnt will continue to have ongoing importance and relevance throughout my career.”

I am ready to travel, learn and share; come back to share and inspire others to act. Churchill fellowship, an opportunity of a lifetime!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Six days of learning and sharing - Life is where we learn nonstop


It looks like yesterday that I had my first leadership training, but it goes all the way back to the late 80s. Luckily, I have had opportunities to learn the same course in different schools of thought over the past 3 decades including one at Harvard Kennedy School. The last one was, however, in early March 2018. Life is exciting and a university on its own where we learn nonstop.

4th- 9th March 2018 seem history now as they are gone and gone forever, but well spent in Markfield, England with about 45 wonderful people gathered from across Britain for Citizen UK’s National residential training. We were there as it takes us all to see change happen and work with others in the process.  Yes, we can’t afford to be bystanders. In the words of Neil Jameson of Citizens UK, “If you are a player, you make change happen. If you are an observer, you watch it happen. It is important to work with people we don’t necessarily agree with as being in action together gives people hope.” The message was clear and one that resonates to many. Nobody would have joined the training unless there was a desire to make a difference; to make the world a better place for us and the future generation. Jiten Patel, one of the participants said, “we have borrowed this world from the future generation and have a responsibility to hand it over in a better shape.”

Sometimes we feel angry when we see or hear about injustice. Good to have that anger. Anger to stand up, get counted and be the wheel of change and stuck in the change making process. When there is injustice, we are there to fight it and get it right. Carina Crawford Khan of Citizens UK, who was one of the trainers, was right to say, “when you face injustice inaction is not the option.” Action is what is needed to see change happen, but it needs to be organised. We should also be political as we live in the world as it is - striving to take it to where it should be.

During the six wonderful days together, we didn’t only learn how we can bring about change; how to build power in a relational way to see that change; but we also built relationships; helped colleagues and others in Birmingham, the youngest city in Europe, with their Common Wealth assembly and had fun. We also sung together with young and old as we are all keen to see The World in Union.

Among the highlights of the week for me was to meet new people that are ready to go extra mile and kind enough to share their stories and feelings openly; ready to engage with others; enjoying the training and making sure the training was an experience worth having.  It was also good opportunity for colleagues to help one-another, to step in when needed and share wisdom and experience in the process. Yes, we were there as a team and for a purpose. Above all to learn as we are a learning organisation. The assembly organised by Birmingham Citizens was an excellent experience for many. Those young students singing and dancing and telling the world that they  have dreams; the newly resettled little kid saying, 'Thank You’ was heart moving; the social event organised by the trainees on Thursday evening was phenomenal and second to none. These all remain in our memories for a long time. 

We were also blessed to have Elizabeth Valdez of The Metropolitan Organization and learn from her wealth of experience. And of course, yet another opportunity to learn from our very own Neil Jameson who is in the process of handing the baton. Six days well spent learning and sharing.  It is time to reflect and come back with plans for actions.  

ኢትዮጵያችንን በተደራጀ መልኩ እናግዛት ፤ ሀገራችንን እኛ ካላገዝናት ማን ያግዛታል?

ኢትዮጵያዊነት ፍቅር ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መቻቻል ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መከባበር ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት መንፈስ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ፀጋ ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት የታላቅነት ምሳሌ ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ብዙሃንነት ፤ ኢትዮጵያዊነት ህብረት ፤ ኢትዮጵ...