The Kojo Show Reports From Ethiopia

The Kojo Show Reports From Ethiopia

Our mission at The Kojo Nnamdi Show is to connect your neighborhood with the world. This January, Kojo and two of our producers traveled to Ethiopia to explore the many cultural, political and economic ties between Addis Ababa and Washington, D.C. With many expat Ethiopians living and working in the Washington area, the connections run deep.

Our mission at The Kojo Nnamdi Show is to connect your neighborhood with the world. This January, Kojo and two of our producers traveled to Ethiopia to explore the many cultural, political and economic ties between Addis Ababa and Washington, D.C. With many expat Ethiopians living and working in the Washington area, the connections run deep.

Kojo and producers Michael Martinez and Tayla Burney conducted dozens of interviews that we hope to use in our programming in coming months. They talked with American officials, including the U.S. ambassadors to Ethiopia and the African Union, and Ethiopian-Americans who are back home after living in D.C. They explored poverty and food security with a variety of non-governmental organizations. And they posted interviews, photos and observations here on our website.

Throughout their nine-day trip, The Kojo Nnamdi Show aired live as always, with guest hosts filling in for Kojo. We didn't broadcast live from Ethiopia, but we look forward to sharing programming with you that draws on the insights and interviews from the trip. We invite you to keep an eye on this space to follow Kojo's time in Africa. For more updates and anecdotes from Ethiopia, follow us on Facebook.

Editorial Note: The Kojo team traveled to Ethiopia with a group of public officials and journalists on an educational trip arranged by CARE, an international development organization and sponsored in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

From The Frontlines Of Conscious Consumerism

Serawit "Cherry" Friedmeyer on Ellilta Women at Risk and Ellilta Products.

More about conscious consumerism.

U.S. Diplomatic Ties To Ethiopia

U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Patricia Haslach on U.S.-Ethiopian relations and the role of women and girls in reaching development goals.

Listen to the full interview.

The Future Of International Food Aid

The massive farm bill signed by President Barack Obama in February isn't purely a domestic matter. It includes food aid provisions that affect communities like this one visited by the Kojo show team in Eastern Ethiopia. Some farmers and food aid recipients travel great distances to receive their aid. The new farm bill, meanwhile, changes the rules for how local and regional food resources in countries like Ethiopia can be used in aid programs.

Listen to the show about Foreign Food Aid And The Farm Bill.

Encouraging Investment In African Infrastructure

Zemedeneh Negatu On Building A World-Class Economy In Ethiopia

During our visit to Ethiopia, Kojo interviewed Zemedeneh Negatu, managing partner for Ernst & Young in Ethiopia and head of transaction advisory services for Eastern Africa. Zem, as he's called for short, still maintains a home in the Washington region, even though he has returned to Ethiopia to work for EY. He talks about what EY does in Addis Ababa, from managing transactions by international investors to advising Ethiopians on setting up companies. Zem also explains why he encourages members of the American diaspora community to come to Addis and invest their talent in Ethiopia's economy.

Construction Projects Thrive In Addis Ababa

Listen to the interview.

Tracing Coffee Around The Globe

From Ethiopia To D.C., The Life Cycle Of A Coffee Bean

Few countries are as synonymous with coffee as Ethiopia, which is said to be the birthplace of Arabica coffee itself. A few years ago, Ethiopia mandated that its coffee farmers sell their crops through a commodity exchange -- a plan designed to help many of the country's low-income farmers fetch better prices on the market. But that plan's come under criticism from some who feel it's ended direct trade for single origin coffee there and diluted the country's brand. Kojo explores the links between the coffee American consumers drink and the economic fortunes of the farmers who grow it.

Listen to the interview.

Sounds From The World Of Ethiopian Coffee

Kojo Nnamdi Show Producer Michael Martinez shares the sounds from Ethiopia's commodity exchange trading floor and a warehouse where coffee is sampled and graded.

Solomon Edossa Of The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

Kojo spends a moment with Solomon Edossa, who helped launch the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange and continues to serve as one of its technical advisers. He also maintains close ties to the Washington, D.C. region.

Sampling Coffee At The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange

The Kojo Show team watched a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and learned about the commodity exchange system through which the Ethiopian government requires coffee farmers to sell their crops.

Ethiopian Voices: Blogging For Democracy

Conversations about Ethiopian politics are often complicated by internal and external factors. The country is a strong U.S. ally in a tumultuous region, but after what critics termed a "very tightly controlled" election in 2010, several opposition leaders and journalists have been jailed. Still, activists in Ethiopia feel it’s important for their voices to be heard at home and abroad. Kojo sat down with three pro-democracy bloggers during his recent visit to Ethiopia, including Zone9 bloggers Soliyana Shimeles, Befekadu Hailu and Abel Wabella.

Listen to the interview.

Exploring Economic Opportunities For Ethiopian Women

The Art Of Handwoven Traditional Scarves

The Kojo Show team spent time with women in Addis Ababa who weave products that make their way around the world. The work is part of a program run by Ellilta to create more economic opportunities for women who are trying to leave the country's sex trade. Here, a woman weaves colorful fabric into a scarf that will be sold by fashionABLE, a nonprofit that creates sustainable business in Africa.

(Michael Martinez/WAMU 88.5)

Making Scarves -- And Opportunities -- On The Weaving Loom

From spool to scarf, walk through the process of weaving and dying fabric into a product that simultaneously can be sold for a profit while empowering local women.

Addis Ababa From The Air

Team Kojo gets an aerial view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from the small plane they flew east to Dire Dawa. It's one of two chartered cities in Ethiopia (the other being the capital, Addis Ababa).

(Michael Martinez/WAMU 88.5)

Celebrating The Festival Of Timkat In Addis Ababa

Sights And Sounds Of Timkat Festivities

Kojo and crew were fortunate to arrive in Addis Ababa during the Festival of Timkat, one of the holiest days in the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian calendar. It's a celebration of the Epiphany, a commemoration of the baptism of Jesus. During Timkat, each local church brings its replica of the Ark of the Covenant to a central location where they stay for the evening. The congregations then lead a parade back to each church after a ceremony. The processionals included songs, dancing and beautiful vestments.

Traditional Timkat Processional

During the holiday, churches march their own models of the Arc of the Covenant to a place called Jalmeda. The Kojo Show team witnessed the part of the celebration when churches were each bringing their respective "tabot" back from Jalmeda.

(Michael Martinez/WAMU 88.5)

Dispatches From Ethiopia: U.S. Ambassador To The African Union

Reuben Brigety On Violent Conflicts In Africa

With violence flaring in South Sudan, peace talks are under way in Ethiopia to try to negotiate a cease fire. Kojo spoke with Reuben Brigety, the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union, about South Sudan and the African Union's challenges on the continent. They also explored the U.S. role in Africa and its participation in efforts to end other violent conflicts there.

Listen to the interview.

U.S. Ambassador To The African Union
U.S. Ambassador to the African Union Reuben Brigety giving Kojo a tour of his residence in Addis Ababa.
(Tayla Burney/WAMU 88.5)

Reuben Brigety's Personal Family Diaspora Relics

Amb. Brigety discusses the story of a tea set his family keeps on display at their home in Addis. Brigety's wife is Ethiopian-American. Her family fled from Ethiopia in the 1970s.

Brigety's Personal Family Diaspora Relics
A silver tea service that has been in Ambassador Brigety's wife's family for generations.
(Tayla Burney/WAMU 88.5)

Kojo Show Team Arrives In Addis Ababa

First Day Scenes Of Addis

The team took in the landscape, explored the foods (and drink!) of Ethiopia and began reporting on issues connecting Washington's local communities to the Horn of Africa -- which we'll share later in our travels.

Over A Traditional Meal, The Sounds Of Addis

The Kojo team dined on Thursday night at Habesha, a traditional Ethiopian restaurant inside the city. Dancers and musicians entertained the dining room throughout the evening.

(Michael Martinez/WAMU 88.5)

The Kojo Nnamdi Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.