Congratulations to all AWiB WOE 2015

AWiB would like to announce the 2015 Women of Excellence (WOE) nominees. Every year as we celebrate outstanding Ethiopian Women who serve their communities and country tirelessly, this time around, we bring you 7 magnificent women in our Pinnacle. Their full story will be posted on October Focus and they will be celebrated on October 25, 2015 at a Gala Dinner held in Sheraton Addis.  To get closer to these women and catch their fever, we urge you to join us at the AWIB 2015 WOE Gala Dinner.

Ambanesh (Ambi) Kebede, Founder and GM of Amba Pharmaceuticals

Ambanesh Kebede is a professional pharmacist who has leveraged her training and her desire to create a safe environment and established a pharmaceutical import and distribution company.  Amba pharmaceuticals was the first to establish after the Derg Regime where all private pharmaceuticals were dismantled. Amba is the top 5 out of 60 pharma importers in the country and represents big multinational companies with revenue 100 million birr.

Ambi’s passion in life driven by a strong desire to serve is exemplified by the introduction of a brand new business model of multi-level marketing. This enterprise (her 2nd  business establishment)- ‘Prime Enguday’ is the first of its kind in Ethiopia which brings much needed medicine and health food supplement to thousands of citizens and provides income to more than 6,500 part-time distributors. She has a plan to collaborate with others to open a pharmaceutical manufacturing business in Ethiopia and to build a chain of large pharmacies throughout the country.

Dr. Aster Shewa-Amare, Disease prevention and control sub process owner, Zewditu Hospital

Dr. Aster is the force behind the creation of A NATIONAL MODEL CENTER ON HIV/AIDS CARE AND TREATMENT where many medical professionals treated and cared for thousands of HIV AIDS patients. The center not only treats patients but also provides counseling and testing services and monitors and keeps record of their progress. This center is considered as an exemplary establishment that serves as a model for other health institutions.

Dr. Aster is primarily responsible for the designing and structuring of the center and now caters to over 200 patients a day and 18, 000 ART users; it employs 5 medical doctors and 10 nurses. Moreover, it is a research institute that serves as a resource and datacenter on HIV/AIDS and TB related studies nationwide. Dr. Aster also serves as an advisor to Gandhi Hospital and 3 other health centers and reports to the Ethiopian Health Bureau on a monthly basis regarding the work activities of these institutions.

Etenesh Wondimagegnehu, Founder & GM, Berhan Lehetsanat former Handicap National

Berhan Lehetsanat works with different stakeholders targeting children in need in general and children with disabilities in particular and their families with the objective of building a stronger future generation. Etenesh also through her efforts supports young girls and women to be active actors in sustainable development of the Nation.Currently through different projects, Berhan Lehetsanat accommodates 13,668 children

Etenesh’s main focus is working in the most neglected sector of the society– to change the lives of children with disabilities. She was one of the team members who initiated Community Based Rehabilitation center in the rural Ethiopia with the technical and financial support from international organizations. As a leader of the former Handicap National, she led the campaign for the installation of building construction code that makes building accessible to people with disabilities.

Etenesh, as a conscious and a person of integrity, updates herself in the area of children, gender and disability continuously at every opportunity she gets.

Professor Fetien Abay Abera , Mekelle University

Fetien Abay (PhD), an award winning scientist, a community activist and a lecturer is serving at Mekelle University as Director Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies (IEGDS). She also serves as scientific coordinator of different community based projects.

Dr. Fetien is an associate professor in Plant Breeding & Seed, an associate editor for the Journal of Dryland Agriculture, a coordinator of the Graduate Program in Dryland Crop Science, a core team member of the Agro-Ecology in Practice Curriculum and a member of the Agricultural College Council, and is heavily involved in curriculum development for Plant Breeding and Food Science. Dr. Fetien actively involved and significantly contributed in the transformation of Mekelle University in the last 15 years from its beginning with 42 students to current large institution with 20,000 students. Fetien Abay Abera is focused on breeding barley, an important highland. Her aim is to produce varieties with improved drought and waterlogging tolerance.


Maria Munir, Founder and Director, Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD)

Maria Munir is a community activist who has dedicated her life to fighting injustice in every shape or form. One of the founders of the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), Maria has been promoting and fighting for women’s basic rights and for the protection of women against all forms of violence.  She founded AWSAD in 2003, evolved from the work of EWLA to defend and support women who faced injustice, in the recognition that women survivors of violence had little community support.  AWSAD now runs two shelters for survivors of violence, one in Addis Ababa and one in Adama, bringing hope and regeneration to the lives of many women and children.

AWSAD also supports young professional women by creating opportunities for volunteering and internship after which they often become staff members.  Maria served at the Federal High Court as a judge and known for her ethical standard that was not to be compromised.

Nigist Haile, Founder & Executive Director of CAWEE

The Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) is the only NGO working in the country providing capacity building support service targeting women exporters. For three decades, Nigist has been instrumental for many women realize their potential by facilitating every opportunity to economically empower and help them assimilate in the business world.

She started her career with the handicrafts and small-scale\’s development agency (HASIDA), later incorporated within the Ministry of trade and industry. Nigist was assigned to the women\’s affairs office promoting women in businesses. Being part of the management team, she was involved in devising policies and making decisions that changed the status of business women to date.  After a long and productive career with MOTI, Nigist decided to serve these women enterprises better by using her extensive network and her many years of experience and formed CAWEE.  Nigist Haile is also one of the founders and the force behind Enat Bank.

Professor Yeweyenhareg Feleke , AAU School of Medicine

Professor Yeweyenhareg serves at the AAU as Consultant Internist and Endocrinologist. She is a researcher and physician in the Department of Internal Medicine. She is the 2nd female professor in the entire Ethiopian higher education system and the first female medical professor. She is an advisor to the students on their research projects which she uses to develop strong health care professionals

She is the foremost advocate of a sound education and health system for the development of Ethiopia. She works tirelessly to instill strong work ethics wherever she is involved. She also served as the first and only female president of the Ethiopian Medical Association (EMA) that her tenure brought major structural changes to the oldest institution in the country.  MOH closely works with EMA and health related institutions for promotion of health and preparation of national guidelines. As an active member of these institutions, she contributes to national initiatives. She is also an author and a public speaker.