A Craft Forum, envisaged to revitalise the craft industry in Ethiopia was established at a grand inauguration ceremony held on 29 August 2017 in Addis Ababa. The forum is part of the Redefining the Craft Industry through Social Enterprise project implemented by Timret Lehiwot Ethiopia (TLHE), a partner civil society organization, under the EU-funded Support for Social Enterprises in Eastern Africa project. The forum was established by a total of thirty founding member organisations from a range of key actor groups in the domestic craft sector of Ethiopia. These include stakeholder institutions such as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), government institutions and enterprises.
When asked about the significance of the Craft Forum at this point in the history of the industry in Ethiopia, Henock Alemayehu, Director of TLHE, emphatically asserts that the Craft Forum is
A platform that will open a podium for all craft sector stakeholders to share experiences, lobby for better craft revitalisation environment and benefit the marginalised craft sector.
The inauguration event incorporated informative presentation sessions accompanied by interactive discussions covering a wide range of topics. These include aspects such as the importance of the forum, the craft industry in Ethiopia and the role of the forum.
As part of the initiative, Shega Crafts website, www.shegacrafts.com, an online platform was launched. A live demonstration of the website content architecture and functional features was demonstrated to orient and provide the members with basic skills on how to make best use of the web-based resources and tools. The website has main sections including Initiative, Shop, Get Involved, and a Contact Us page.
A business session led to framing the organisational structure and management of the forum. A Craft Forum Committee, elected by the forum members’ assembly, will lead and drive the operation of the forum. The committee of seven is assigned different roles and responsibilities to serve for tenure of 2 years. Moreover, Timret Le Hiwot Ethiopia will continue to facilitate and host the new-borne forum.
The forum is indeed a noble initiative and it will be exemplary for other sectors where such a platform is a missing link.
For more, please visit TLHE website at www.tlhethiopia.com