ESSSWA’s 16th Annual Conference-Welcoming Speech Dr. Alula Pankhurst, ESSSWA’s Board Member

Dr Alula 1Her Excellency:  Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minister, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs

His Excellency    Dr. Belete Belachew Frederick Ebert Stiftung Representative

Invited Guests,

Dear Members, Partners, Friends and Supporters of ESSSWA

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honor and pleasure to welcoming you all on behalf of the Board to this 16th Annual Conference of the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists (ESSSWA).

As the name ESSSWA indicates, our professional association represents the interests of members and professionals drawn from three core sister disciplines (Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology). We joined forces believing that we have a lot in common and can best work together to further our joint interests and concerns since unity in diversity is our strength.

ESSSWA was established in June 1996 with the major objective to play a key role in tapping the professionals’ and members’ potentials and contributing to the country’s social and economic development. ESSSWA, in its 25 years of existence has played pivotal roles in research and trainings, social service workforce development, social service delivery system strengthening, in the development of Child policy and National Social Protection policy. Recently we have been engaged in the prevention and responses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, ESSSWA has become one of the strongest national professional Associations. Organizing Annual Conferences and deliberating on thematic areas of national significance is also one of the important contributions our society made.


Dr Alula 2Your Excellency,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Members,

Ladies and Gentlemen

Allow me to take this opportunity to speak briefly about some of the commendable achievements recorded in the reporting year, 2020.

This year, PEPFAR/USAID and UNICEF have continued to be strategic and reliable partners of ESSSWA. Social Service System Strengthening in Ethiopia (SSSE) is a project being implemented with financial and technical support of USAID and in partnership with MOLSA, MOWCYA, the TVET agency and TVET colleges. The project is currently operational in three regional states (Amhara, Oromia and SNNP) and Addis Ababa city administration. The main objective of the project is to improve the well-being of vulnerable citizens particularly of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS (OVC) and their caregivers through social service delivery system strengthening and workforce development interventions.

To date, the project was able to train 5,265 Para-professionals (Social Service Workers) and 2,707 trained social service workers have thus far been deployed and served in government, non-government agencies and community structures like Community Care Coalitions (CCCs). Besides, ESSSWA’s contributions in the development of a child protection and comprehensive case management framework and operation manual, guidelines, tools and in the provision of various training programs greatly helped the improvement of the existing social service delivery systems in government, non-governmental organization and community structures.

As findings from the monitoring visits, review meetings and regular feedbacks from partners show, this project is a success in meeting its objectives of addressing the needs and priorities of orphan and vulnerable children and their caregivers.

As you know, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is committed to promoting the equal rights of women and girls and to support their full participation in the political, social and economic development of their communities through its country programs. ESSSWA has entered into a partnership agreement with UNICEF to implement a project entitled: “Strengthening the capacities of TVETs and OCACCs and other Service providing institutions.” since June 2019.

The primary objectives of this project are to strengthen the social service workforce development program via providing intensified in-service training programs in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and Amhara regions and to launch Social service training programs in Somali, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambela and Afar regional governments where the social service workers’ pre-service training programs were nonexistent. Ensuring the quality of the pre-service training programs via strengthening Occupational Capacity Assessment and Certification Centers (OCACC) was also an intervention focus of this project.  Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia, UNICEF was flexible to amend its Program Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and engaged with ESSSWA in the prevention and response activities related to the pandemic, including addressing the secondary impacts of COVID-19 on children and their families.

The disrupted pre-service training program planned in this project due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been resumed and 331 trainees have now joined the training program. The project has deployed 68 professionals and provided trainings for 1505 Para-social workers and professionals drawn from government partners using both online and face to face modalities. The training programs mainly focused on child protection services through referral networks among households, communities and service providing institutions, child protection case management and supervision and mentoring.  In addition to the training programs, 169 (83 Girls) child protection cases were reported and referred to service providers and 275 children, parents and primary caregivers were provided with community based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services.

As you may remember, at the 15th annual conference in March 2019 we announced the establishment of ESSSWA’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) to review and approve research protocols involving human study participants. I am now happy to declare that IRB is bearing fruit and in the year 2020 alone it has reviewed 14 research protocols and issued ethical clearance certificate for different institutions based both in Ethiopia and abroad.

Your Excellency,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Members,

Ladies and Gentlemen

In its 15 previous annual conferences, ESSSWA has addressed a range of important emerging issues like human trafficking, harmful traditional practices (HTPs), Social and Behavioral Problems, Safety Nets for Vulnerable Social Groups, Social Transformation through Social Protection, Social Change and Culture etc. This Sixteenth Annual Conference will address important and timely concerns under the theme: ‘‘Sociocultural Issues and Practices in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.”

This important conference is made possible by the generous support of Frederick Ebert Stiftung. Seizing this opportunity, I wholeheartedly acknowledge the support extended by this organization both on my behalf and the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists (ESSSWA) Board Members.  

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the resource persons who devoted their invaluable time and expertise in preparing their presentations that are ready to be shared with us today. Also, I thank you all for making the time and effort to attend this conference.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my board member colleagues, ESSSWA management and staff and IRB members for their contributions to make the above mentioned achievements possible.

Finally, I would like to cordially invite Her Excellency Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minister, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) to deliver a speech and officially open the 16th annual conference of ESSSWA.  

Thank you!!!!

ESSSWA’s 16th Annual Conference-Opening Speech Her Excellency, Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minster, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)

Dr Ergoge 11Distinguished and Honored Guests

Dear members and partners of ESSSWA

Dear Participants

Ladies and gentlemen

It is indeed an honor for me to be with you this morning at the Opening Session of the 16th Annual Conference of the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists (ESSSWA).  Both as a member of ESSSWA and on behalf of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, I would like to congratulate ESSSWA, its financial sponsors and partners: USAID, UNICEF and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, for making this very timely and important conference that will focus on a thematic area: ‘‘Sociocultural Issues and Practices in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.”

Though you know it all, it is important to reiterate that ESSSWA is a professional umbrella association of three interlinked and sister disciplines that has been serving its members, vulnerable groups, grass root communities and the wider society for the last 25 years. ESSSWA’s founding members realized the significance of forming a unified and strong professional society than creating three weak and separate associations within the same professional family. The society, in its more than two decades existence, has been doing its level best to increase its professionals’ visibility and enhance their contributions to the country’s development via its training and research activities, social service work force development and social service delivery system strengthening interventions. It is indeed committed to improve the social wellbeing of the Ethiopian people through using knowledge and skills in Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology.

The selection of the thematic area that focuses on peace, stability, sociocultural issues and practices related to indigenous conflict resolution mechanisms for today’s Annual Conference, clearly demonstrates ESSSWA’s and its professionals critical concern and commitment for the wellbeing and security of the Ethiopian people.

As a social anthropologist, I am a strong sympathizer of ESSSWA; I have observed that it strives to contribute for an all-inclusive social development in Ethiopia. It is also important to mention its commendable achievements in social service work force development and social service delivery system strengthening programs that ultimately aims at the livelihood improvements of the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in partnership with government and its dependable donors, the USAID and UNICEF.  

Dr Ergoge 2Ladies and gentlemen

As you are well aware of, the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia has established the Ethiopian Reconciliation Commission in 2018, with the aim to "maintain peace, justice, national unity and consensus and also reconciliation among Ethiopian Peoples.” It is the government’s belief that it is necessary to reconcile the disagreements that developed among peoples of Ethiopia for years because of political, ethnic and religious differences and establish long lasting transitional justice system and sustained peace in the country.  To attain this, it is vital to identify and ascertain the nature, cause and dimension of the repeated conflicts and violation of human rights.

In this respect, today’s conference on ‘‘Sociocultural Issues and Practices in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building” is highly appreciated as it complements the government’s current reconciliation and peace building efforts in the country with the aim to prevent the future occurrence of such conflict, narrow the differences and create consensus.

Dear Participants

Although there is a great intent and action to work on reconciliations and maintain peace and transitional justice in our country, we do also recognize that much remains to be done in understanding the root causes, perpetrators and the long lasting solutions of the conflicts thus far occurred. The government, non-governmental organizations and professional associations like ESSSWA need to work together for the transformation of conflict toward sustainable peace. The role of ESSSWA is indispensable in this respect, as lack of peace affects the poor, the voiceless, the disadvantages and vulnerable groups and conflict resolution endeavors heavily rest on the well established Ethiopian traditions and indigenous knowledge and practices of nations and nationalities.

It is crystal clear that the government’s effort is not sufficient alone to bringing about sustainable peace and reconciliation given the scarce financial and technical resources as well as the existing weak institutional setups. This justifies the need for professionals’ engagement towards creating sustainable peace and reconciliation trough the establishment of transitional justice system. In all these efforts of translating the noble idea of peace building into practice, the three interlinked professions of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology would contribute greatly.

Dear Participants

Ladies and gentlemen,

In relation to this, I would like to further encourage the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists, to continue to be a stronger development partner and play a more proactive role in serving as a platform for linking policy makers, practitioners and the academics serving as knowledge hub, dialogues and actions on reconciliation, peace building and transitional justice system. It is also my conviction that this conference will serve as an important platform to cross-fertilize ideas, promote professional debates and create constructive dialogue among the various stakeholders for the peace efforts of the country. You also need to establish strong partnership with the government and NGO structures that have interest and mandates to support the country’s reconciliations and peace building efforts. This would help leverage ESSSWA’s intention and action in engaging in training and research activities and implementing projects that intend to prevent from and respond to conflict situations in the country.

Dear Participants

Ladies and gentlemen,

With this remarks, it is now my pleasure to declare that the 16th Annual Conference of the Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists Association (ESSSWA) is officially open.

I wish you all very successful deliberations.

I thank you.

The sixteenth (2021) Annual Conference and GA Meeting of ESSSWA

The 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting of ESSSWA was held on the 26th and 27th of March 2021 at Intercontinental Addis Hotel. The theme of the conference was, ‘‘Sociocultural Issues and Practices in Conflict Resolution and Peace Building.”

This Year’s annual conference was partially sponsored by Friedrich Ebert and Stiftung (FES). ESSSWA is therefore, indebted to Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) for their generous financial support.

Day One: Annual Conference

Program Facilitator: Dr. Rahwa Mussie (Board Member)

Welcoming Remark: Dr. Alula Pankhurst (Board Member)

Key note Address: Dr. Belete Belachew (FES-Representative)

Official Opening:  Her Excellency Dr. Ergoge Tesfaye, Minster, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA)


March 26, 2021 was entirely devoted to paper presentations and discussions. The following informative and thought provoking research papers were presented and discussed:

Session One: Moderator- Dr. Melese Getu

  • The Practices and the Healing Nature of Indigenous Justice System: The Case of Ambasel Woreda; South Wollo, Ethiopia.          By Seid Hassen and Getu Ambaye (PhD)
  • Present Realities and Future Prospects of Indigenous Conflict Resolution Mechanisms in Amhara Region: Some Reflections. By Dessalegn Bizuneh
  • Causes of Marital Conflict and Customary Resolution Mechanisms among Kaffecho. By Eleni G/Senbet
  • The contribution of Liberia and Burundi’s women in peace keeping: Ethiopia can take a lesson. By Shewaye Semaw
  • Peace Building through Truth Commission in Africa: A Lesson to Ethiopia. By Dawit Yosef and Marew AbebeESSSWA 1

Session Two: Moderator-Dr. Abeje Birhanu

  • The 2018 Gedeo-Guji Conflict and its Resolution mechanisms. Southern Ethiopia. By Dagne Shibru (PhD)
  • የጎጃምና የወለጋ ህዝቦች ባህላዊና  ስነልቦናዊ  ትሰስር  ለአንድነትና  ለሃገር ግንባታ ተምሳሌትነት. By Desalegn Mekuriaw
  • Borana-Konso Amicable Relations and the Post-1991 Challenges. By Dejene Gemechu (PhD)
  • Customary Authorities: Transformation of Positions and Powers among the Ogaadeen Somali Clan of Ethiopia.By Kalid Abdinasir (PhD)

 Session Three: Moderator- Dr. Ashenafi Hagos

  • Constrained Choices: Exploring the Complexities of Adolescent Girls’ Voice and Agency in Child Marriage Decisions in Pre and during Covid-19 situations.By Dr. Gudaye Emire and team
  • Unable to move and forced to return: COVID-19 and disruption of migration movements between Ethiopia and the Gulf States. By Tekalign Ayalew
  • Psychosocial and Spiritual Considerations during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Ethiopia. By Dr. Mesele Mengsteab, et al


 Day Two: General Assembly Meeting

In day two, ESSSWA’s members convened to discuss  organizational matters, endorsed reports and the revised bylaw and elected governance body. 

Elected GA Leadership:

  • Dr. Dejene Gemechu Chair person
  • Dr. Dagne Shibru V/Chair person
  • W/t Elsabet Ayalew Secretary

 Opening remark: Dr. Zena Birhanu

  • 2020 ESSSWA’s Annual Audit Report: By Soliana Certified Audit Firm
  • 2020 ESSSWA’s Annual performance report: By Sintayehu Dejene (ESSSWA’s ED)
  • 2021 ESSSWA’s Annual Plan: By Sintayehu Dejene (ESSSWA’s ED)
  • ESSSWA’s Revised Bylaw: By Ato Teshome Mengiste (Board Member)
  • Election: The GA members elected 5 board members to replace those who have completed their terms of services

 Dr Zena

Outgoing Board members

  • Ato Kebede Ayele    Chairperson
  • Wro. Ribeka Woldeselassie V/chairperson
  • Dr. Alula Pankhurst Member
  • Dr. Zena Birhanu Member
  • Ato Teshome Mengiste Member

  Incoming (Newly Elected) Board Members

  • Professor Getenet Tadele
  • W/t Kiya Gezahegn
  • W/ro Tigest Tefera
  • Ato Amare Werku
  • Dr. Ashenafi Hagos


Newly elected and former board members with their new responsibilities

  • Professor Getenet Tadele: Chair Person
  • Dr. Rahwa Mussie: Vice Chair Person
  • Ato Haddush Halefom Member
  • W/t Kiya Gezahegn Member
  • W/ro Tigest Tefera Member
  • Ato Amare Werku Member
  • Dr. Ashenafi Hagos Member

Closing Remark: Ato Belete Dagne, Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs representative




World Social Work Day Celebration-2021 at Addis Ababa University

photo 2021 03 18 11 09 18photo 2021 03 18 11 09 07photo 2021 03 18 11 09 18 3Addis Ababa University (AAU) School of Social Work organized a symposium to celebrate ‘World Social Work Day of 2021’ in close collaboration with ESSSWA and ESWPA. As decided by International Federation of the schools of Social Work,the global theme of the day highlights, ‘Ubuntu:I am Because we are-strengthening social solidarity and globally Connectedness. The day started with a key message of the concept and philosophy of Ubuntu that sounds with the social work perspectives of the interconnectedness of all peoples in-environments by AAU School of Social Work head-Dr Mesele Mengesteab. The Symposium followed by the guest speakers of AAU Academic Vice President Dr Emebet Mulugeta and Ato Getachew- from Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs respectively. Both speakers emphasized the role, contributions and gaps of Social Workers on tackling the existing social dilemmas. ESSSWA excutive director-Ato Sintayehu Dejene also forwarded key messages on establishment and contribution of ESSSWA to the national Pre and In service training of Social Service workforce development and formulation of research, training modules and teaching aid materials for social work education across different regions and areas.  

In the symposium, academician namely Dr Wasse Kebede presented a paper on Social change and social workers contributions across three different times. Dr Ashanafi Hagos also presented the historical establishment of Social Work education in Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University. The third presenter was Dr Serkalem Bekele,she presented the existing establishment of Court social work unit in federal courts;Federal Supreme court and Federal First Instance Court- Ledeta Bench. Dr Zena Berhanu, who was a moderator allow participants of the symposium to reflect ideas and raise questions on paper presented and Dr Emebet Mulugeta, facilitator of the symposium forwarded end message on the need for solidarity at all levels: among and within individuals, communities, societies at globally, regional and national levels. Finally, participants donated blood and group photo was taken.


World Social Work Day is on the 16th March 2021. It is the key day in the year that social workers worldwide stand together to advance our common message globally. This year, the 2021 World Social Day highlights Ubuntu: I am Because We Are. This is the first theme of the 2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

Ubuntu: I am Because We are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness. Ubuntu: ‘I am because we are’ is a concept and philosophy that resonates with the social work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments. It speaks to the need for global solidarity and also highlights indigenous knowledge and wisdom. Silvana Martinez, IFSW President commented:

“The theme comes from extensive consultation within IFSW and beyond. At a time when global politics has retreated into nationalism, Ubuntu is a powerful message on the need for solidarity at all levels: within communities, societies and globally. It is a message that all people are interconnected and that our future is dependent on recognizing all peoples involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future. IFSW invites all social workers, partner organizations and people who care about the future to co-brand the poster. Together we can change world for this and future generations.”

Upcoming Vital Event

As you may know, the 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting was planned to be held from March 27 to 28, 2020. However, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ethiopia, the planned Annual Conference and GA meeting was postponed.

ESSSWA’s Board, after a series of discussions, now decided to hold the 16th Annual Conference and GA meeting on March 26-27, 2021. In the planned conference/meeting maximum precautions will be made to follow the Ethiopian Public Health Institute’s Covid-19 protection protocol to keep our esteemed members safe and well protected.

The Ethiopian Society of Sociologists, Social Workers and Anthropologists (ESSSWA), is thus cordially inviting its members to take part in this important event.

The meeting/conference place/hotel will be announced shortly.

Stay safe!

Phone: +251 111 223 450
Holly Trinity Theology College Building, 5th floor Office No. 502,
Opposite to AAU Arat Kilo Campus

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