From March 21-23, 2011, AGYA Co-Founder and Executive Director, Divinity Barkley Matovu, visited Ethiopia where she met with several youth living in Addis Ababa, the urban capital of Ethiopia. While there, Divinity was hosted by 28 year old Robel Alawi, a native of Harar, Ethiopia who works part-time as a travel guide for international visitors. Robel also works with an organization that provides basic care for orphans, street children, and homeless youth who live in abject poverty in Addis Ababa.
Above: Divinity & Robel have lunch at Ethiopia's National Museum in Addis Ababa while discussing potential solutions to the challenges facing urban African youth.
Below: Divinity Barkley Matovu, AGYA's Executive Director, outside of Addis Ababa University's Institute for Ethiopian Studies - the former site of Emperor Haile Sellassie's Main Palace.
After conducting an informal needs assessment with Robel and observing the lifestyle of several young people living in urban poverty, Divinity strongly believes that Addis Ababa is a viable location for a new AGYA Community Center. Our goal is that, by 2020, AGYA will be operating 5 additional community centers in major urban African cities that will train and mobilize 10,000 youth to use performing and media arts as a platform to advocate for education, economic development and social change in their communities.
In order to explore this opportunity further, Divinity will return to Addis Ababa in June 2011 with AGYA's Uganda Country Director, Abraham Matovu to conduct a formal needs assessment and meet with several youth, NGO, and community leaders whose support, linguistic skills, and knowledge of local trends will be instrumental to the decision to expand AGYA's model in Ethiopia.