Ajebie Selassie, 27, lives in Agalometi Woreda of Benshangul Gumuz Region. She was born and raised in Shemalo Kono Kebele in Agalometi District. She is married and has two children. Earlier, Ajebie worked with the Agalometi Woreda Finance and Economic Development Office as office girl.
Ajebe explains how her engagement with ActionAid changed her life as follows:
I was selected by the Kebele Administration to work as a member of Women Watch Group ActionAid initiated in my area. Later, I attended a capacity building training organized by ActionAid in partnership with the Woreda Women and Children’s Affairs Office. The training focused on gender, leadership and harmful traditional practices. After the training, we were advised to reduce early marriage, abduction as well as violence against women and girls that were rampant in our woreda. To this end, I and other members of the Women Watch Group began to teach members of our community about the negative consequences of the practices. Subsequently, I was invited by the Benshangul Gumuz State Women, Children and Youth Affairs Bureau to attend a regional conference on harmful practices. During the three-day conference, I had the chance to present activities of the Women Watch Group Model. After my presentation, the feedback given to me was very encouraging and gave me the strength to work harder.
Meanwhile, I was given another opportunity to share the Watch Group’s experience at a conference organized by the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs at national level. This conference was chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representative of the FDRE, Abadula Gemeda. He appreciated my presentation and encouraged me to work hard in the fight against early marriage, violence, exploitation of child labour.
After participating at the national and regional conferences, I was invited to Agalometi Woreda Administrator’s office. The Chief Administrator told me that government officials gave positive feedback on my presentations. Then he asked me to show him the presentation I delivered during the national conference. Shortly after my meeting with the official I was appointed to lead the Agalometi Woreda Women and Children’s Affairs Office. Currently, I am leading the office and also working as executive committee member of the Agalometi Woreda Administration.
Overall, lessons I acquired from ActionAid’s capacity building training programmes built my leadership skills and confidence. Hence, I am enabled to mobilize communities towards the reduction of early marriage, abduction and other harmful traditional practices.
Ajebie is now a visionary leader inspiring others against early marriage and other harmful traditional practices in the rural kebeles of Agalometi Woreda. She envisions seeing her community free from any harmful traditional practices and violence.