By Ainslee A. Robson


Last Valentine’s Day, flowers couldn’t have been put to a better use. More than one hundred young and driven volunteers worked together to arrange, sell, and deliver thousands of flowers to lovers throughout Addis with the conviction to raise funds for the Yellow Movement (YM) Scholarship Fund.


In the year 2016, they raised 168,000 ETB supporting 84 students and 2017 was even more of a success! By selling gorgeously arranged bouquets, with flowers generously donated from local flower farms, the YM raised a total of 302,000 ETB, which will directly support 151 university students (200 ETB per month, 2,000 ETB per academic year). On top of the money raised from direct flower sales and thanks to supports of the YM from the diaspora, YM raised 100,000 ETB for a female Ph.D. candidate at Addis Ababa University to help her complete her studies. The doctoral candidate also received a laptop and voice recorder for her field research in addition to the funds.


The social activists behind the YM are clear in their mission: to raise awareness for the better treatment of women and to support female university students who are in dire need of financial support. The funds these women receive from the YM Scholarship help make it possible for them to afford basic necessities (such as sanitary and stationary items) as they go through college. The YM not only provides continuous monetary support to the recipients of its sustainable scholarship but also consistent mentorship and exposure to empowering activities. In the future, YM plans to establish a shop from which profits contribute directly to the scholarship fund.


The Yellow Movement is an initiative whose roots can be traced to a group of passionate students (current alumnae) and a lecturer from the Addis Ababa University School of Law.


Established in 2011, this group of 35 core members instigates regular and provocative campus discussions tackling issues of gender-based violence and female empowerment as well as organizing an annual blood drive and Valentines Day fundraiser. The Yellow Movement is, in fact, the first student-led organization to explore feminism in the country and they are growing fast with a strong and engaging social media presence as well. Operating under the umbrella of the Addis Ababa University Gender Office, they have successfully founded another chapter of YM at Mekelle University and are already in the process of expanding to Gonder and Adama Universities.


While developing a presence in as many higher education institutions across the country as possible, the faces behind the YM are committed to drawing our attention with their bright yellow t-shirts and challenging us to manifest their vision of a brighter, just, and more inclusive future for all.


For donations, how to get involved, or any other information please contact: The Yellow Movement Crew