|Reproductive Health and Communication at the Grassroots - Experiences from Africa and Asia - Proceedings, 1997, Ethiopian Red Cross society training institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (IIRR, 1997, 292 p.)|
|I. Closing ceremony|
WRO. Tadelech Haile Michael
Minister of Women Affairs
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
It gives me a great pleasure to be among you at the end of your successful conference on Reproductive Health and Communication at the Grassroots: African and Asian Experiences.
Although more than 180 countries have endorsed reproductive health as a new vision essential for human welfare and development, it has not been easy to translate this vision into action. I like to congratulate/the conference participants and organizers for taking this global vision forward and translating it into action.
Poverty, by its very nature, is inter-locking problems of ill-health that cannot be addressed in isolation to those of illiteracy or livelihood. Poverty, social and gender inequalities influence population growth and its structure. Your focus on reproductive health will undoubtedly enable countries and communicties to address both health and population issues with an emphasis on women's health needs.
This conference is significant in many ways.
First, this took place when Ethiopia is in its early phase of implementing its first and most comprehensive and integrated population policy. This conference serves as a motivation.
Second, it has translated into action the often talked South-South exchange and information sharing.
Third, it is brought various development actors (government, NGOs and grassroots practicioners) to work together for common goal which primarily affect women. And I am pleased to note that the majority of the conference participants are women. Your effort to explore alternative and non-traditional media forms to communicate such sensitive issues and integration of indigenous knowledge systems is very creative. I am particularly pleased that this conference has dealt with different approaches for effective communication at the grass root level regarding reproductive health. I believe that the success or failure of our development effort rests on how effectively we communicate with the masses at the grassroots who hold the key to our development endeavour.
Fourth, I am informed the this conference is unique in that it has provided all of you with a framework to document, analyze and abstract successful grassroots experience from Asia and Africa which will be published and shared widely.
Fifth, the organizers, the Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), have successfully demonstrated the ability of working together for a common goal. Development efforts can not be sustained without mutual collaboration between local, regional and international organization working hand - in hand to solve common problems. I commend the exemplary partnership between FGAE and IIRR.
I am confident that the valuable experience and knowledge that you have exchanged in this conference will be used for the enhancement of the well-being of the poor and in particular to empower women in your respective communities and nations. This conference can alternatively be named as "Conference on Empowerment Through Information".
Finally, I like to thank the two organization - The Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction for organizing this important conference and choosing Ethiopia as a venue. I also like to thank all of you, conference participants from various countries, for choosing to come to this conference and I hope you have enjoyed your stay here in Addis Ababa. I wish you a safe trip to your countries and destinations.
I now declare that the conference is officially closed. Thank you.