Celebrating Ethiopian Women: Adanech Admassu

I’m always really excited to learn about Ethiopian women who are movers and shakers. In our patriarchal culture, we tend to honor and highlight male heroes, which is fine and dandy but it’s also important to recognize the countless women who have contributed to our societies and continue to do so. Their work is great inspiration for a new generation of women doers.

Meet Adanech Admassu, filmmaker and storyteller. She is part of a group called Gem TV in Ethiopia, which brings together young independent filmmakers. They receive support and training to pursue their work from the Ethiopian Gemini Trust, a nonprofit NGO founded in 1983 to promote health, educate and welfare. Members of Gem TV make documentaries and dramas on various social topics in order to bring about behavioral change for a just and healthy society. According to the website, “These films raise awareness, educate and inspire people all over Ethiopia to change their lives for the better.” Topics include girls’ education, HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation (FGM), safe sex, forced marriage, family planning, etc.

Adanech has this to say about where she derives inspiration:

As a woman, I share the problems that a woman faces due to her gender and other cultural influences. Through film I get a chance to address these problems and be part of the solution – and this makes me happy.

Click the picture to hear from Adanech, interviewed by the BBC after winning a prize at this year’s One World Media Awards in London. Gem TV was honored with the Special Award for its film Stolen Childhood, which focuses on forced marriage.

From the Gemini Trust website:

The Special Award, which is sponsored by the Thomson Media Foundation, recognises an outstanding project working on the ground in the developing world where media activity has made a real impact on people’s lives.

Shown in the Ethiopian parliament, their film, Stolen Childhood, was a drama-documentary which addressed early marriage and told the true-life story of how a young girl from the countryside was condemned to a life on the streets.  Its searing portrayal left the members of parliament shocked and played a role in getting new legislation passed.

Congrats to Adanech and the Gem TV team! While you’re at it, watch this brief clip Adanech made about going deep into a Gurage rural community to celebrate the holy Meskel (the Founding of the True Cross) holiday. It’s a great clip, entertaining and helps us learn more about Adanech. It’s in Amharic but has English subtitles :)

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