Selam Ethiopia’s Initiative to Support and Strengthen Cultural Infrastructure

Selam Ethiopia
This measure was reported by civil society.
Describe the main features of the measure/initiative: 
Selam Ethiopia has been able to connect experts and stakeholders in the culture and social affairs to advocate and share solutions for the occurring problems through a discussion platform entitled “Selam Culture Forum”. These forums have been used as spaces to discuss and debate key cultural issues. A Forum was jointly organized by Selam Ethiopia, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MoCT), and the Ethiopian Film Producers Sectoral Association (EFPSA) that brought together a wide range of stakeholders from the Ethiopian film industry to discuss the implementation mechanisms of the Ethiopian Film Policy ratified in November 2017. The policy envisaged creating a sustainable local film industry that can competitively produce films focused on traditional thematic values of the country. It also covers various issues of capacity building, production technology, distribution, innovation, artistic freedom, cultural diversity, and intellectual property among others. The Forum marked a new milestone for the Ethiopian film industry as participants started taking practical steps to implement the policy, where the expected outcomes are: Creating shared understanding through familiarization of the policy to stakeholders, the formation of a task force or another entity as required that shall develop an implementing instrument: such as drafting clear rules, regulations, and procedures to be published in the form of a guideline or a manual among other benefits, the expected instruments shall: Identify priority areas within the film sector that need support and the investment define and clarify technical terms and specifications. Participants were also acquainted with the experiences of Nigeria by Mr. Fidelis Duker, Festival Director and Filmmaker of Fad Productions Ltd who elaborated: the Nigerian Film Policy and implementation; film distribution techniques; and how the Nigerian film sector managed to create an industrial film company and survive from being dominated by foreign-made films. Another Forum in Addis Ababa. Representatives from key political parties have expressed culture as an integral part of their political programs. However, participants and political party representatives have emphasized the need for explicit culture policy in their political programs. Besides, the political parties have promised to come up with their respective culture policies and present on the forum if Selam would be able to organize a similar discussion form for the future. Approximately 48 participants from political parties, artists, diplomats, and journalists attended the panel discussion on this culture forum. A continuation of this forum was organized in Addis Ababa, as it was held with the aim of creating a platform for discussion, share experience on culture policy development and advocacy. It was started with the presentation of culture policy documents produced by the EPRDF; ruling party and Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (ኢዜማ). The latter presenter has pointed out that most of the political parties, including the incumbent party, did not consider culture as a key component of their political programs. The forum participants representing different political parties have also reflected similar ideas and stated that they are in the process of developing explicit policy documents for culture. Finally, Selam has affirmed its commitment and promised to take the initiative to organize a national forum to sensationalize the issue and give the opportunity to political parties and culture actors to discuss and advocate cultural issues. After conducting a situational assessment and having a series of discussions with different circus teams in the country Selam has revealed the existing problems the sector has been suffering from on a culture forum held in Addis Ababa. The most significant problems of the sector identified are ranging from awareness to structure; astonishingly, the sector lacks governmental institutions mandated to register and provide support to circus teams. Given the paramount importance and untapped potential of Circus has been exhibited by the performance of Ethiopian Circus teams that have managed to present their work at different international stages and honored their country. Circus has not gained considerable attention and remained to be looked at by the government. In light of this, Selam Ethiopia has taken the initiative and intervenes on the matter through awareness-raising platforms such as prepare panel discussions and organize circus showcases which are believed to help major actors to take legal actions in the governmental systems. The forum was organized with the aim of highlighting the major challenges the sector is suffering from and create a platform for circus teams in the country to work together towards strengthening the sector. Besides, the program has been used to practically show the extraordinary talents and untapped potential that Ethiopian circus teams have. About 158 participants; Circus Professionals from different Circus teams, and Federal and regional government authorities; Culture and Tourism, Sports Commission, Youth affairs have taken part in the forum. The program has played a significant role in raising awareness of stakeholders about the challenges of Circus in Ethiopia.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?: 
Measures were taken to establish different associations. For example, a circus association is being established in different regions. - National task force was established to follow up on the implementation of Ethiopian film policy. - Awareness was created for sectoral actors and government bodies about the new Film Policy. - Government bodies and other stakeholders are advocated on key transformational issues for the culture sector. - Calls for an integrated and responsible action for cultural actors and decision makers were made.
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)