“ALL CITIZENS HAVE A DUTY TO MAKE THEIR COUNTRY A BETTER PLACE”

It was my great pleasure to lead a series of workshops and discussions with high-school and university students, Mandela Washington Fellows, journalists, editors, community leaders and YALI Network members in Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa on civic engagement and leadership around Ethiopia during the week of October 14-20th. We focused on the necessity to identify the problems in our communities both in the United States and Ethiopia, the discernment of knowing what to do, our willingness to act and finally taking the responsibility to follow through.

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Brian MacHarg, Doctor of Education and the Director of Civic Engagement at Appalachian State University, U.S.A.

We also discussed the variety of ways that we can address problems within our communities.  Using Minnesota Campus Compact’s “Social Change Wheel”, we noted that civic engagement ranges beyond political activism to a wide array of activities including philanthropic giving, advocacy, charitable service, social entrepreneurship, community-building, and other forms.  We sometimes focus on a narrow response to problems while there are many ways we can engage the problems faced by our communities.

Additionally, we talked about our personal responsibility as citizens to address complicated problems.  It is not sufficient to rely on experts or the government or those who are better positioned to solve community issues; rather, all citizens have a duty to make their neighborhoods and country a better place.

 

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Brian MacHarg, Doctor of Education and the Director of Civic Engagement at Appalachian State University, U.S.A.

Ethiopian participants seemed very interested and expressed a deep concern for the future of Ethiopia.  It was evident that those in attendance sought to improve their communities and also wanted to lead others in making positive contributions to the flourishing of both their local neighborhoods, and the country as a whole.  Many young people in attendance expressed a great interest in taking the reins of the country and acknowledged the need for strong servant leadership as they moved into increasing responsibility for the future of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is at a crossroads. Given the enthusiasm and interest in civic involvement in the participants I met, I am confident that the country has the right resources to see the nation flourish if its citizens take responsibility to make contributions to the common good.

(Brian MacHarg is a Doctor of Education and the Director of Civic Engagement at Appalachian State University, where he teaches classes on service and civil discourse and focuses on how civic participation can promote democratic values and facilitate learning. He has led workshops on civic engagement, participation, and civic leadership, in USA and in countries around the world, including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Cuba, Taiwan, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Myanmar, Niger, and Benin. He also has expertise in curriculum development.)

(The views and opinions expressed in the blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government)

 

ሀገርን የተሻለ ማድረግ የዜጎች ድርሻ ነው

ከጥቅምት 4-10 ዓ.ም. ባለው ሳምንት በኢትዮጵያ በነበረኝ ቆይታ፤ በማህበረሰብ ተሳትፎ እና አመራር ርዕሰ ጉዳዮች፤ በባህርዳር፤ ድሬዳዋ እና አዲስ አበባ የሚገኙ የከፍተኛ ሁለተኛ ደረጃ ት/ቤቶች እና ዩኒቨርስቲ ተማሪዎች እንዲሁም ጋዜጠኞች፤ አርታኢዎች፤ የማህበረሰብ መሪዎች፤ የማንዴላ ዋሽንግተን ፕሮግራም ተሳታፊዎች እና የያሊ (YALI) አባላትን ያሳተፉ ተከታታይ ዎርክሾፖች እና ውይይቶችን በመምራቴ ላቅ ያለ ደስታ ተሰምቶኛል፡፡ በኢትዮጵያም ይሁን በአሜሪካ የማህበረሰቡን ችግሮችን የመለየት፣ ስለ ሥራዎቻችን ያለን ግንዛቤ፤ የትግበራ ዝግጁነት እና በሃላፊነት ስሜት እስከመጨረሻው የመከታተል ሁኔታ በውይይታችን ትኩረት የሰጠናቸው ጉዳዮች ነበሩ፡፡

የማህበረሰቡን ችግሮች ለመቅርፍ የሚያስችሉ የተለያዩ መንገዶችም በውይይታችን ተዳስሰዋል፡፡ የማህበረሰብ ተሳትፎ ከፖለቲካዊ እንቅስቃሴም በላይ እንደሆነ እና በጎ አድራጎትን፤ ቅስቀሳን፤  ነፃ አገልግሎትን፤ ማህበራዊ ሥራ ፈጠራን፤ የማህበረሰብ ግንባታን የመሳሰሉ የተለያዩ እንቅስቃሴዎችን እንደሚያካትት፤ በሚኒሶታው ካምፓስ ኮምፓክት “ሶሻል ቼንጅ ዊል” አማካይነት ለመገንዘብ ችለናል፡፡ ማህበረሰቡ የሚገጥሙትን ችግሮችን መፍታት የሚያስችሉ በርካታ መንገዶች ቢኖሩም፤ አንዳንድ ጊዜ ችግሮችን የመፍቻ መንገዶችን አጥብበን እንመለከታለን፡፡

በተጨማሪም፤ ውስብስብ ችግሮችን ለመፍታት እያንዳንዳችን እንደ ዜጋ ስለሚኖረን ድርሻ አውስተናል፡፡  የማህበረሰቡን ችግሮች በየዘርፉ ለበቁ ባለሙያዎች፤ ለመንግሥት ወይም ለሌሎች በተሻለ የሃላፊነት ደረጃ ላሉ ሰዎች መተው በቂ አይደለም፡፡ ሁሉም ዜጋ አካባቢውን እና ሀገሩን የተሻለ የማድረግ ግዴታ አለበት፡፡

ኢትዮጵያውያን ተሳታፊዎች በዝግጅቶቹ ጥልቅ ፍላጎት፤ እንዲሁም ስለሀገራቸው መፃኢ ሁኔታ ትልቅ ስጋት እንዳላቸው መገምገም ተችሏል፡፡  ተሳታፊዎች፤ የማህበረሰቡን ሁኔታ ለማሻሻል ፍላጎት ከማሳየታቸው ሌላ፤ በበጎ አድራጎት ሥራዎች ለአካባቢያቸው እና ሀገራቸው አዎንታዊ አስተዋጽኦ በማበርከት፤ ለሌሎች ምሳሌ የመሆን ፍላጎት እንዳላቸው ግልጽ ነው፡፡  በርካታ ወጣት ተሳታፊዎች በሀገራቸው ጉዳይ የመሪነት ሚናን ለመጫወት ትልቅ ፍላጎት ያሳዩ ሲሆን፤ በሀገራቸው የወደፊት ዕጣ ፈንታ በሚኖራቸው አስተዋጽኦ፤ ጠንካራ የአገልጋይነት ስሜት ያለው አመራር አስፈላጊ እንደሆነ ይቀበላሉ፡፡

ኢትዮጵያ መስቀለኛ መንገድ ላይ ነች፡፡ ነገር ግን የዝግጅቶቹ ተሳታፊዎች፤ በህዝባዊ ተሳትፎ ጉዳዮች ያሳዩት ጉጉት እና ፍላጎት፤ ዜጎች ለበጎ አስተዋጽኦ በሃላፊነት ቢንቀሳቀሱ፤ ሀገሪቷን ወደ ብልጽግና የሚያንደረደር አቅም እንዳላት እርግጠኛ ነኝ፡፡

(ዶ/ር ብሪያን ማክሐርግ በአሜሪካ የአፓላቺያን ስቴት ዩኒቨርስቲ የሲቪክ ኢንጌጅሜንት ዳይሬክተር እና መምህር ነው፡፡  በአሜሪካ፤ ማይናማር፤ ባንግላዴሽ፤ ኢንዶኔዥያ፤ ኩባ፤ ታይዋን፤ ዶሚኒካን ሪፐብሊክ፤ ኒጀር እና በቤኒን ዎርክሾፖችን እና የዜጎች ተሳትፎ ሥራዎችን መርቷል፡፡)

(በጦማሩ የተካተተው ሀሳብ እና አመለካከት የአሜሪካንን መንግሥት አቋም አያንጸባርቅም)