The now popular notion of #medemer (መደመር) that seems to underpin the political philosophy of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, appears to have far reaching implications for Ethiopia’s transformation. One of our members has the following reflections on the notion’s implication for promotion of gender justice which, we believe, should be a critical element of Ethiopia’s transformation:

“From the various speeches of PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed, may be deciphered two connotations of the word ‘medemer’ መደመር (literary translated as ‘to be added’) that appears to have implications for the promotion of gender equality. In one, the term signifies an invitation to be part of (or “to be added to”) active protagonists of the new Ethiopia or to synergize for its realization. In the context of promoting gender equality, this could imply men and women coming together on their own terms and organizing as co-workers, to transform age old barriers to gender justice. In its other connotation, ‘medemer’ መደመር appears to signify unity (or ‘being added together’) – a unity that is not totalizing, but one that respects and, more so, celebrates diversity. This calls for protagonists of gender equality to learn to not only accommodate but also capitalize on differing ideologies, world views, perspectives and approaches to gender equality in Ethiopia.

When these two connotations of medemer መደመር are read together, with PM Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s ancillary notions of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘mercy’, they call for a break from the past, the familiar and the status quo to become forward looking and innovative as we labour for Ethiopia’s renaissance. In the context of promoting gender equality, this may demand activists to be open to new perspectives and approaches. #ArifWond (#አሪፍወንድ) represents one such innovation that can fill a critical gap of limited male engagement in the emerging efforts towards gender equality in Ethiopia.”

We welcome each progressive and forward looking Ethiopian man and woman who would like to ‘medemer’ መደመር in the community of #ArifWond (#አሪፍወንድ), and contribute his/ her bit to bringing about gender equality in Ethiopia. To learn about and hopefully become a member of this growing community, email us at arifwondgroup@gmail.com.