World Cerebral Palsy Day observed

World Cerebral Palsy Day, 6 October, was observed at the national level in Asmara.

Indicating that Cerebral palsy is a disability caused by brain injury or problem and is one of the common physical disabilities affecting the most vulnerable, L/Col. Berhane Bokretsion, chairman of the National Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, said that as a result of the sustainable awareness-raising activities the understanding of the society on disability is growing from time to time.

L/Col. Berhane also called for putting in place infrastructure of the development of teaching and learning process for the victims, expansion of rehabilitation centers for the disabled as well as for the increased role of government institutions and stakeholders for the well-being of the disabled nationals.

World Cerebral Palsy Day is being observed for the 3rd time at a national level and for the 10th time globally.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

Eritrean “Girls Trip”

When I first watched the Hollywood-produced movie, ‘Girls’ Trip’, I and many friends of mine were convinced that if we ever get to organize a trip, the only way to do it was the same as it was portrayed in the movie. Recently though, I had the chance to take part in a trip organized by the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), which ultimately made me believe that the Eritrean way of girls’ trip is more meaningful and memorable.

Eritrea is a nation known for its hard-earned independence and its policy of self-reliance. For many years, its path to development has been halted by different circumstances and its policy of self-reliance was always debatable, yet it never failed to showcase the result of its fortitude and that trip was the reflection of that policy and the final answer to the debate.

The trip began from the NUEW headquarters in Asmara with 30 members who are part of a program called equality of gender. The first destination of the trip was Halhale Agricultural Dairy Farm. Mr. Tekle Legese, production manager of dairy and dairy products gave us a tour of the farm and introduced us to the pilot project in a detailed manner. The project was initiated targeting various objectives that are aimed at introducing advanced dairy processing systems to the country, supplying quality and cost-effective products in addition to exporting dairy and dairy products to foreign markets.

What has been achieved so far is commendable which can be seen from the modern milking machines that have a capacity of milking 60 cows at a time, which in turn is expected to ease challenges of milking and creating comfort, and bringing about much productivity. The milking machine is very advanced and is managed with chips and transponders which helps in uniquely identifying cows that are in heat, that is sick, and thus under veterinary treatment as well as in testing viscidity of the milk, and above all unregistered cows would not be milked by the machine.

The milk is tested for its quality and goes to the processing machine. While the infrastructural capacity has been expanded to accommodate more and more dairy cows, the center has also been empowered with human resources and is now ready to be expanded to other areas of the country. Besides, more graduates have gained the required technical know-how that enables them to run similar projects independently. The manure of the dairy cows is daily collected and used as compost to give additional fertility to the animal feed farms in Halhale and Adi-halo as well as Adi-Guadad.

The next destination was to Mslam Dam, located in the village of Gergera. The area around the dam is known for its beautiful scenery and marble statues depicting the story of the revolutionary struggle of Eritrea, which makes you realize the importance of our armed struggle and how far we have come and accomplished.

After Gergera, we headed to Mendefera sub-zone, where we enjoyed a warm welcome by the NUEW branch there and according to the program they planned we were directed to head to the sanitary pad factory. When we reached the factory, we were briefed by Mr. Daniel Habte, an electrical engineer and machine operator at the factory. He began his briefing by explaining how the pad factory was formed and its development till now.

The first Eritrean sanitary pad factory was formed in the early 1970s at a place called Fah by the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) during the armed struggle with special help from Eritrean women in Italy and a special purpose of supplying the female fighters. After independence, the machine was brought to Mendefera and has been functioning till recent years, and with the help of the Eritrean women living in Italy, the factory was later equipped with new and upgraded machines. Also, the quality of the product has been standardized with the international market thanks to the introduction of the new machines.

The final destination was a tour to the beautiful building headquarters of the NUEW branch in the region and by the end of the day, the members of the equality of gender program shared their experience with the members of Mendefera NUEW.

In the words of the equality of gender program members: Lidya Amanuel, the political science graduate, currently working at the ministry of foreign affairs stated that she has been a member of that program since 2019, and added, “The main goal of the program is to empower women, conduct research on the main problems of women and enlighten the younger generation on the life of different working women in different ministries. However, this trip was organized to broaden our knowledge on the development of our nation”.

The trip was refreshing and to actually witness what I always watched on the media was fascinating, especially the fact that the park was designed and constructed by local experts made me proud. The new sanitary pad factory gave me hope for a cheaper product. Overall the trip gave me a glimpse of our country’s path for development. Hence, I advise organizations, groups, and even friends to head on this eye-opening trip.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

To Young talents “…Keep Learning, Be Patient, and Change Your Desire into Reality”

Before music, he was into football; to the extent that many of the people around him believed he would become a professional player. Besides, he grew up as a sports fan and frequented basketball and swimming as well. In the artistic world, he took a one-year course in puppetry at a young age.

Greet Meron Estifanos, aka wed-zemach, one of Eritrea’s young aspiring artists. He had his breakthrough when he became a finalist at the Shingrwa Academy, an Eritrean TV show for voice talents. Following the years of his discovery, Meron has proved to be a diva in the making. His major record hits include ‘kemfqadki’ (his first official hit), ‘kelo giena’, ‘yhalfeley’do’, ‘ayzanen’ye’ … the list goes on. So far, Meron has been performing at big events, done various collaborations, covers, and not to forget his movie soundtracks. We had a nice talk with him, here are the excerpts.

• Can you please briefly tell us about your childhood and educational background?

First I would like to thank you. My name is Meron Estifanos, I was born in 1991. I attended my pre-school, elementary, junior, and High School in the port city of Massawa. Then I went to Sawa to complete my secondary education. After sitting for the matriculation exams, I joined the Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT) and did my first degree in Educational Administration. Parallel to my music, I also teach at Barka Secondary School and I am a member of the ‘Kewakbti Rim’ musical troupe.

• Who was your biggest inspiration for music?

Of course, growing up in a family of musicians has its own impact. I believe the way I was nurtured has influenced me a lot in directing me towards music. I can recall now that my mother used to study and practice some musical instruments. But then again, being one of the renowned artists in the country, my father’s influence on me to become fond of music is indisputable. Indeed, I have learned a lot from him in every aspect of my living. Besides, my father is also the main inspiration for my reading habits. To your surprise, however, my biggest inspiration for music is Temesgen Gebreslasie (Taniqo).

• When did you realize that music is what you wanted to do most?

I can reminisce now that my father was very hesitant, at first, of me getting involved in music activities. I remember, at one point in time, shortly after I joined music school to play the flute, he made me quit. He was so determined at guiding me to pursue my education successfully and helped me hold on to my academy seriously. I believe his persistence worked out well. Coming to the point, it must be around the year 2013; some of my friends would often take me to their music practice at EIT. I already had an insight into music, but I was not fully participating. I would occasionally suggest adjustments during their rehearsals. One thing led to another and luckily, inter-college competitions were on the way. I took the chance and with the help of my colleagues, we produced an audio entitled ‘Collegey’. After that, I started reading music books frequently, and then came Shingrwa.

• How do you describe the experience of Shingrwa, biggest takeaways?

Honestly speaking, it wasn’t as easy as it seems. The fact that my father was there all the time as one of the judges in the academy made it a bit harder. This made it obvious that I had to make extra effort to prove myself. However, the overall experience was thrilling, and I really enjoyed every bit of it. The platform granted me great publicity; I would not have been here if it was not for Shingrwa. I personally got to meet great instructors and role models such as Barnabas Mebrahtu, Mohammed Salih, and many more. To wrap it up, I would say it was a leapfrogging event.

• Public reaction to your works of music?

Oh! What can I say, Fantastic! I get different opinions and compliments every now and then, and by this, I would say is the way I gauge the publicity I have been honored with. It is an indication of how much music the general public admires and how much the fans are into music. So far, the public reactions are encouraging and will always play a leading role in helping me reach the summit of my artistic capacity.

• Principles you follow in your music?

Personally, I have three major principles in my list of making music. First, I consider substance, which includes depth and content, as a vanguard for my work of music. The second is the crispness of my music; I try to employ every procedure to be artistically competitive and the third is trying to make my music in a way that can be enjoyed by all age groups. I do my level best to incorporate and reflect these three principles and more in the works I pick.

• Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Musically speaking, I have a lot in my mind. Currently, I am working on singles, but of course, an album is inevitable and it’s on its way. Five years from now, I see myself doing much more. I am trying my best to progress every single day; hopefully, I intend to present my music on continental or international stages. Yes, help me, God! I have a list of points in my resolution and I believe I am working hard towards that end.

• Major difficulties you encountered in your music career?

I strongly believe that in doing music, we should serve the needs of the public. In doing so, one must make good use of every bit of a second. Time is a major factor and fruitful music needs all of it. I have told you that I am also a teacher and sometimes things may seem inflexible and can hold you back, but I am managing it all together. I know there are many talented citizens out there in quest of better attention, platform, and a chance to seek and reach more. Certainly, hard work is important in any sphere and I believe the future holds a lot better for us all.

• Any message you would like to give to young and aspiring talents?

The note that I would like to leave for young talents, especially those musically passionate, is that they should first and foremost stay academically well equipped, learn more, be patient and take as much time as they could to develop their skills, tune to more and variety of music, bear in mind music is not to be taken lightly, and last but not least they ought to alter their ambition into action.

• It was a pleasure talking to you; I hope you realize your dreams!

Thank you very much.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

Facebook Group Looks to Turn Tide on Burkina Faso’s Image Problems

Burkina Faso has been making headlines for an Islamist insurgency that has created one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises. But one man is showcasing what the country has to offer beyond conflict with a group he created called “Burkina Faso est Chic” (Burkina Faso is Chic).

Since conflict began six years ago, tourists in Burkina Faso have become a rare sight. The U.S. State Department advises against all travel to the country due to the risk of terrorism, kidnapping and crime.

Ben Nombre, a local web developer, is doing what he can to turn the tide on the country’s image and showcase the good the country has to offer.

“Burkina Faso est Chic” was an idea he came up with in 2019, says Nombre. When he started to notice the number of [terrorist] attacks he saw that Burkina Faso’s image was being tarnished. He points out that for a long time, Burkina Faso was a country where there were a lot of tourists coming in, before many of them were lost in recent years.

“Burkina Faso est Chic’s” Facebook page has attracted almost 24,000 followers. It posts regularly, highlighting a range of topics from lively nightspots to nature and wildlife.

The West African country has a rich equestrian heritage, but one local business that had catered to tourists wishing to ride horses is struggling, says the owner, Siaka Gnanou.

“It’s been affected a lot, it’s been affected a lot since 2016. It’s like, you see, at one time in such moments here it was full of people but since the terrorism it’s affected a lot,” Gnanou said.

The government says that as international tourist numbers have dropped, they are looking at aiding businesses in the tourism industry.

Élise Foniyama Ilboudo Thiombiano, Burkina Faso’s minister of culture, arts and tourism, says “we had a lot of money coming in from tourism, but we saw a considerable drop of more than 28% of that income. So there was a negative impact, at least at the beginning.” Now, she says, it is necessary to develop domestic tourism instead of foreign tourism.

Phillipe Yameogo, the manager of Squash Time, a recently opened club, which offers visitors the chance to play squash before drinks and dancing, says that when Nombre made a post about the club on “Burkina Faso est Chic,” it transformed their business.

He says it boosted their business to the point where they were forced to turn people away on the weekends. They are now in the process of extending the building to accommodate more people because they were so overwhelmed. “I really take my hat off to Mr. Ben,” says Yameogo.

Even in the midst of conflict, some aspects of Burkina Faso still thrive.

Source: Voice of America

Burkina Faso’s Soldier-Singers Promote Security Forces

Burkina Faso’s war against Islamist militants has seen security forces criticized for human rights abuses. Now, the battle to win hearts and minds has moved to a new stage, with soldiers using their singing talents to promote the armed forces.

Police Sergeant Yacouba Sourabié, known by his stage name “General Yack,” is one of 15 Burkinabe soldiers who sing about battlefield life, loss, and fighting the enemy.

In a cramped recording booth in Ouagadougou, Sourabié sings into a microphone about heading to war and leaving family and friends behind.

Singing soldiers, like Sourabié, hope their music videos will win public support in the war against Islamist militants and put the military in a better light.

He says, the song is dedicated to our soldiers, our defense and security forces, who are on the frontlines and even those who have lost their lives. He says, we have dedicated this song to our soldiers, to make them understand that they are our heroes, they are valiant men of the nation, and for their families to be encouraged because families have lost their brothers and men on the frontline.

Burkinabé director San RemyTraoré was motivated to make music videos with security forces because his brother is a policeman.

He also wants to encourage greater confidence in the military.

He says, the first priority is to show the force of the soldiers on the terrain in this battle. But it’s also to assure the population so they understand they can count on the people on the battlefield, who are there to defend the national cause.

But critics say security forces should focus less on promoting fighting and more on respecting civilians’ rights.

The Collective Against Impunity and Stigmatization of Communities (CISC) documents abuses committed by the armed forces, like the alleged killing of 180 civilians around the northern city of Djibo documented by Human Rights Watch. The government said it would investigate the incident more than a year ago.

Daouda Diallo of CISC acknowledges that soldiers have faced heavy losses in their battle against militants.

And this kind of music can boost the morale of the troops, he says. But on the other hand, he adds, one must also consider human rights and the respect for social cohesion between the community and all Burkinabé citizens.

For gendarme duo LaCrew, their latest song, The Patriot, is about all of society fighting terrorism.

“We invite all our brothers in arms,” says LaCrew. “All the population to come to together, to be strong to overcome this evil. It’s a song of encouragement that puts adrenaline in the blood of one and all to claim victory against this evil.”

The final refrain of the song is, “we will not move, we are here.”

And it seems Burkina Faso’s soldier singers are here to stay.

Source: Voice of America

Meskel Holiday celebrated nationwide

“Meskel”, which commemorates the Finding of the True Cross, was celebrated today, 27th September at St. Mary’s Church within the confines of COVID-19 Guidelines.

At the colorful celebrations that were broadcast live on Eri-TV, His reverend Abune Qerlos, 5th Patriarch of Eritrea’s Orthodox Tewahdo Church, led prayers followed by religious hymns around the Damera torch.

Sunday school youths presented religious songs depicting the occasion.

On the occasion, Memhir Simon Beyene gave a briefing on the historical background of the Meskel Holiday.

His reverend Abune Qerlos, 5th Patriarch of Eritrea’s Orthodox Tewahdo Church, and Mr. Fessehaye Haiule, Governor of the Central Region jointly lit the bonfire or “Damera” at the premises of St. Mary’s Church.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea

World Tourism Day Observed

September 27, World Tourism Day 2021 was observed at a national level in the Anseba and Southern Red Sea regions under the theme ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth.’

In the commemorative event that was held in Keren, Anseba Region, a number of owners of social service provision institutions, heads of the Ministry of Tourism branches, representatives of the Municipality of Keren, and other stakeholders took part. Participants conducted extensive discussions on strengthening the Anseba Region Tourism Service Provision Association.

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Association, Mr. Fikreyesus Berhane stating the tourism services the member institutions provide and the employment opportunities they create, expressed conviction that the Association will strengthen effort in promoting tourism potentials.

Mr. Fessehaye Habte, head of tourism resources research and supervision branch at the Ministry of Tourism branch in Anseba Region on his part stated that the people and Government of Eritrea are working on promoting Eritrea’s tourism potentials and making the country a tourist destination.

The Director-General of the Department of Tourism in Anseba Region Mr. Salem Ali Salem on his part commending the effort the Regional Association of the Tourism Service Rendering Institutions conducted during the era of the COVID-19 expressed conviction that the department will exert effort to alleviate challenges the association is facing.

In a similar commemorative event held in Assab, Southern Red Sea region, Mr. Abdela Hizam, from the Department of Tourism in the region highlighted the significance of the tourism sector in the overall development task and underlined the collective efforts need to be exerted so as to take Eritrea’s tourism sector to a higher level of standard.

Mr. Biniam Teame, chairperson of the Regional Tourism Services Provision Association called for the organization of training programs aimed at enhancing the tourism sector in the Southern Red Sea Region provides.

Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea