, 30 June, 2020 / 9:45 PM
The leadership of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia is collaborating with some of the country’s musicians in a campaign dubbed Zim Alilim, which aims at creating awareness about the challenge of domestic violence, which has worsened in recent times because of COVID-19 lockdown.
Initiated by some of Ethiopia’s popular artists following an increase in violence and cases of abuse, the Zim Alilim campaign means “I won’t keep quiet.”
“The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat hosted various collaborators in a meeting held recently with the view of finding ways to respond to the violence against children which has emerged as an issue in the COVID-19 lockdown period,” Vatican News reported Tuesday, June 30.
According to the report, the discussion between the Church leadership and musicians “focused on the increase of violence against children, women, girls, and sexual abuse during the lockdown and sought to find ways of addressing the challenges.”
The Ethiopian Press Agency recently reported that cases of domestic violence including rape and sexual assaults have been on the increase in the East African nation since a lockdown was put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. Early marriages are also on the rise as a result of the closure of schools.
The musicians and members of the Catholic Secretariat agreed to focus on “providing awareness-raising workshops and programs, which focus on attitude change,” Vatican News reported.
The parties agreed to help parents become fully involved in the development of their children, the report added.
At the meeting, members of the Catholic secretariat and the musicians also highlighted the role of religious leaders in building “a society founded on spiritual, moral, social, and intellectual values.”
Going forward, their collective activities will include “initiating, organizing, conducting capacity support programs and ongoing training of key personnel in the Archdioceses, Eparchies, Vicariates and Prefectures.”
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat’s Child Nurturing and Protection office has been assigned the responsibility of overseeing the overall implementation of the program.
Meanwhile, protests have erupted in the East African country following the shooting to death of the popular musician, Hachalu Hundessa in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on Monday, June 29.
On Tuesday, June 30, youths who were enraged by the killing of the musician known for his protest songs blocked roads, burned tyres during demonstrations in Addis Ababa and other towns.
Hachalu, an Oromo former political prisoner aged 36, rose to prominence during the anti-government protests, which propelled Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, also an Oromo, into office in 2018.
Abiy's rise to power ended decades of political dominance by ethnic Tigray leaders in this multi-ethnic African nation.
The late musician focused his music on the rights of the Oromo ethnic group. His songs became an anthem that led to the resignation of the previous Prime Minister in 2018.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed expressed his condolences saying that the country has “lost a precious life.”
“I express my deep condolences for those of us who are in deep sorrow since the news of the death of the shining young Artist Hachalu Hundesa,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
He added, “We are expecting full investigation reports of this evil act. Let us express our condolences by keeping ourselves safe and preventing further crime.”
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa