AWiB Listens: Four Pillars of Sustainability Recap

AWiB Listens: Four Pillars of Sustainability event photo

On January 4, 2024, AWiB’s Monthly event at the Hilton Hotel commenced with an engaging World Café experience. This structured format was expertly designed to facilitate open and intimate discussions, allowing participants to delve into the critical issues surrounding the four pillars of sustainability. Prior to the discussions, the event began with a networking session around 5:30 pm, providing an opportunity for AWiBers and other attendees to engage in pre-event discussions. This informal networking session set the stage for an inviting and stimulating atmosphere, fostering anticipation for the insightful conversations that lay ahead. 

At 6:30 pm, the vibrant facilitators Samrawit Merresa AWiB’s 2023 President and Yodit Gidey COO of Gidey Gebrehiwot Enterprise took the stage, introducing themselves, the Lead Sponsor Yetem Trading and Emerging Sponsor Le Chateau Import and Export. “AWiB Listens: A World Café Experience,” was the title of the event and it focused on the “Four Pillars of Sustainability” that is aligned with AWiB’s 2024 theme, “Resilience for Safety and Sustainability.” Samrawit and Yodit conveyed that the event would feature small group rounds with custom-tailored questions, facilitated by designated hosts, fostering plentiful networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities. They highlighted the importance of three essential questions that would guide the discussions throughout the event, setting the tone for an engaging and impactful experience. 

1. How do you view the relationship between plants, animals, natural phenomena landscapes, and the timing of events? Watching from a “sustainability” lens, how do you view Ethiopia’s current social, economic, and political landscape?

  • The relationship between plants, animals, natural phenomena, and landscapes is interconnected and influences seasonal events and ecological balance.
  • Natural phenomena and landscapes influence the behavior and habitats of plants and animals, shaping their interactions and contributing to the overall ecosystem dynamics.
  • Exploitative resource practices lead to economic, cultural, and social crises, shaping how we perceive the environment and impacting sustainability.
  • Negative shifts in societal life result in inefficient resource utilization and strain social cohesion, engendering discord.
  • Society’s egocentric mindset fosters a false sense of control, despite being intricately linked to nature.
  • The country has made economic strides, but resource management and social equity remain critical challenges for long-term sustainability.
  • Recognizing and addressing these interconnected factors is crucial, particularly in Ethiopia’s social, economic, and political landscape.

Participants at various tables commonly raised the idea that faith-based institutions should take the lead in balancing these interconnected elements. This notion was widely discussed and resonated with many individuals throughout the event. 

The responses to the first question highlighted the urgency of prioritizing sustainable practices, fostering social cohesion, and reshaping societal perspectives to appreciate and honor nature’s profound influence. 

2. Give examples of countries, businesses, organizations, or individuals who incorporate sustainable practices into their lives. How can each of us contribute to the sustainability of ourselves our families, our communities, and our nation?

  • UAE: Invests in youth through various programs, empowering them for sustainable innovation and inclusive decision-making.
  • Sweden: Recognized for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability on a national level.
  • Kenya: Implements a “whole of government” and “whole of society” approach, focusing on poverty reduction, inequality, justice, and peace promotion.
  • Ethiopian Airlines: Positioned as Africa’s first green airline, promoting sustainable practices within the aviation industry.
  • Groups recognized Lionel Messi, a football player, for his contributions to environmental protection and tourism development. Additionally, Abebech Gobena, known as the “Mother Teresa of Africa,” a local humanitarian. Rose Mestika, journalist, activist and an AWiB Member who was present at the event was acknowledged for her advocacy in supporting women and creating safe spaces.

As individuals we can contribute by:

  • Fostering family sustainability: Instilling sustainable practices within our families and educating the next generation about the importance of environmental conservation.
  • Advocating for social justice and sustainability: Speaking up against injustice, promoting transparency, and countering misinformation and disinformation can contribute to sustainable, equitable societies.
  • Embracing minimalism: Practicing a minimal way of life and reducing individual consumption can positively impact the environment.
  • Personal responsibility and growth: Foster a sense of responsibility for sustainability, acknowledging that change begins on an individual level.

Emphasizing the role of informed decision-making, advocating for positive change, and embracing sustainable lifestyles, all groups stressed that everyone can contribute to sustainability at different levels within their communities and nation. 

3. What Actions can AWiB take to create awareness about the pillars of sustainability?

After a deep exploration of the third question and recognizing AWiB’s potential for significant impact, the groups passionately engaged in discussing potential responses. Following thoughtful deliberation, they generated actionable suggestions for AWiB to consider and potentially implement. 

AWiB can create awareness about the pillars of sustainability by:

  • Fueling sustainability through engaging workshops and trainings across all pillars to empower and raise awareness within the community.
  • Cultivating knowledge transfer to younger generations through enriching mentorship programs and skill-building workshops to ensure a sustainable legacy.
  • Establishing dynamic platforms for open dialogues, including panels and community forums, to ignite meaningful conversations and drive impactful change.
  • Empowering women through focused workshops, skills training, and advocacy to propel gender equality, ensuring a pivotal role in sustainable progress. 

This was an electric event with the palpable enthusiasm of the participants who reflected on the diverse and inspiring group of women, turning it into an engaging and informative session. A unanimous sentiment resonated through the conversations, underscoring the importance of continuing this initiative and sharing the opportunity with others. As ideas and thoughts intermingled, there was a collective commitment to taking proactive steps towards promoting sustainability, mirroring AWiB’s mission to drive positive change and meaningful impact. It was a thrilling testament to the power of collaboration and shared visions for a more sustainable future. 

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