Ethiopia remains a source of hope for other African countries that were colonised by Europeans and still feel effects of it today. However, for all the positive programs and initiatives in the country, it is evident that there is a societal ill that discourages tolerance, shared values, progressiveness and dynamic work culture.
Research conducted in San Francisco helps us understand how teacher expectations can affect the performance of the children they teach. The overall recommendation of the study was that beyond the curriculum and teaching materials, a new way of thinking on the part of teachers is necessary to change the outcome of students.
The same approach ought to be followed to combat societal ills prevalent in Ethiopia; a new way of thinking at all levels of society. There should be dialogue and initiatives to encourage critical thinking at government institutions, organisations, schools and charities.
There should also be change at the individual level. We ought to be open, positive and engaged in matters not directly tied to our professional or personal lives. We must encompass virtues and must not compromise. There is a sinking ship or a plane under heavy turbulence and we are on board.
Do we sit and complain about it or become the change we want to see instituted? Do we take the initiative for such change or do we wait for it to come knocking at our doors?
At the organisational level, as part of other policies companies have, each ought to create policies that enrich employee values around issues that are vital to society and enforce them with tenacity. No organisation should allow any form of discrimination and must be burdened to uphold periodical engagement in conducting employee awareness of such policies in mandatory training sessions.
It would also help to have an open door policy to higher officials for customer inquiries that otherwise creates a ring of unprofessionalism and underhandedness that hinders development.
Scientific approaches will similarly play a crucial factor, where sociologists, psychologists and psychiatrists can be encouraged to initiate a process of understanding and communicating the why and how of social behaviours and interactions. The initial process of healing is always carefully mapping and understanding the path that brought us to our current state.
Perhaps, the most vital initiative that deserves priority is the cultivation of tolerance and curiosity in children during the early ages of their development. This process requires the importance of improving education policies with the objective of making them encourage critical thinking and innovativeness.
Though the current state of our country is disillusioning and threatens to cloud the good things already in place in the country, it is wise to reflect on the contemporary. Such experiences ought to inform curriculums in elementary schools instead of solely bombarding students with matters that bare little to no resemblance to everyday life.
Media outlets also have a significant part to play, in informing the public, drawing caparisons, being progressive and challenging the status quo instead of playing to its tune. Despite the relative freedom that they have in the country today, they are unfortunately ruining the opportunity to rise to the challenge.
To understand and address our social ills, it will take nothing less than such a nationwide and comprehensive movement. Strong and autonomous institutions are important but creating an informed public aware of its rights and duties, is inquisitive and thinks critically is not a duty that can solely be undertaken by the government.
We need to open our eyes and approach with an open heart to search for solutions and address shortcomings. I am hoping such a national movement will get not just the attention of the government but be supported by international non-government institutions with the capacity to put the necessary resources into its execution.
Such a national effort may help initiate and communicate support in finding hope for our seemingly hopeless state and encourage citizens to see the hope that a mother under labour expects to see after delivery.