Addis Ababa launches the C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Programme

Addis Ababa launched the C40 Women4Climate Mentorship Programme on January 22nd to Empower the Next Generation of Women Climate Leaders. Addis Ababa becomes the latest city globally and the first city in Africa to participate in the groundbreaking Mentorship Programme which will match promising young women leaders from diverse fields with established women leaders from across the city, business, government, NGOs and civil society. C40 is a network of the world’s 94 megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change. The City of Addis Ababa has been a member of C40 Cities network since 2007.

Hosted by the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection & Green Development Commission, the mentorship programme was launched on January 22nd, 2020 at Sheraton Addis. Commissioner Alem Assefa for Environmental Protection & Green Development Commission congratulated the 17 up and coming women leaders and their mentors for their ongoing work to accelerate action on climate change and sustainability issues. “These emerging and pioneering leaders represent the public and business sectors, international organizations and members of civil society and are working on innovating climate and sustainability projects. Empowering women is key to creating cities and communities that are clean, safe and economically vibrant.” Commissioner Alem said.

Selected by a panel of judges made up of distinguished women leaders, the 17 mentees represent an impressive array of profiles and projects including a focus on Urban Agriculture and Urban Gardens, Green Infrastructure, the Protection of Urban Public Spaces, Recycling, Medical Waste Management, Climate Policy in Agriculture, Environmental Education and Community Mobilization, Energy, Transportation and Sustainable Fashion.

The 17 mentors include leading and influential figures committed to climate action and sustainability in Addis Ababa. Rahel Shawl, Founder and Director of RAAS Architects and one of the mentors of the Addis Ababa Women4Climate Mentorship Program highlighted, I have the knowledge, God has given me a purpose, I am in my community, and I am in my own country so I open up and provide the space for everybody who wants to learn. This is my attitude so my office has become a free space for many people.”

She added, “To inspire we need to be inspired ourselves, we need to be passionate about what we do, we need to do it well and eventually life itself will give you that space where you can now give back. I feel that it is a process but also needs to come from inside.  You need to have the heart. If you don’t have the heart then it becomes a mechanism, oh I need to meet my mentee, oh when am I going to meet her, it cannot be like that. We need to share from the inside and then, of course, we need to be intuitive, we have to know about our mentee, what do they need and not force ourselves on them.”

Gifti Nadi, Deputy Director for Africa Region at C40 Climate Leadership Group remarked, “As a mentor myself, I call on all distinguished mentors here today to contribute in removing the obstacles for the next generation of women leaders. We must give them the tools they need to carry forward the work we have started. Women face different barriers all over the world and cities are spaces where we want EVERYONE to thrive. I am therefore ready to do my part to contribute to this initiative and hope that you share my conviction and passion.”

The 10 month mentorship is designed to enable a non-hierarchical relationship between two people and allows mentees to boost their professional and personal development.  Mentors guide their mentees in their development through regular one-to-one meetings, group mentoring and organized training on advocacy, communications, leadership, resource mobilization and other subjects to help with ongoing and planned activities.

The mentees and mentors of the Addis Ababa Mentorship program:

  • Aynalem Geite Gismie ( Food for Life and Seedball method) mentored by Sarah Assefa ( Country facilitator at AgriproFocus)
  • Bethlehem Mengistu Eshete ( River Side Restoration for Urban Resilience) mentored by Rahel Shawl (Founder and Director of RAAS Architects)
  • Ejigayehu Shiferaw (Promoting green infrastructure for resilience of a city) mentored by Mintewab Bezabih (Phd) ( Senior researcher at Environment and Climate Research Center)
  • Fantu Kifle (Greening urban river banks via multipurpose indigenous trees nexus carbon sequestration and Phytoremediation: Implication for urban heat island regulation) mentored by Tibebu Assefa (City Adviser at C40 Cities)
  • Filagot Tesfaye (Ethiopian Women in Energy network) mentored by Kidanua Abera (Energy and Low Carbon Development Analyst at UNDP)
  • Gelaye Deyas ( Gelan Handicrafts, green bags and recycling) mentored by Hortense Mbea (Founder and Creative Director at Afropian Addis)
  • Hirut Jifara ( Step Up Addis - Beautification and protection of urban public space -100 steps) mentored by Meskerem Tamiru ( Architect and former Chief Adviser to D. Mayor of Addis Ababa)
  • Hiwot Damtew (Wise Women Herbal Garden) mentored by Meskerem Asseguid ( Environmentally conscious artist, curator, anthropologist and Founder of Zoma Museum)
  • Lidya Ayalew (Transforming local evidences to inform gender-inclusive climate policies and program/projects design) mentored by Gifti Nadi ( Deputy Director for Africa at C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group)
  • Mahlet Mezmur (Medical waste management) mentored by Aziza Abdulfetah (Architect, Landscape designer and Educator)
  •  Makda Dejene (Clean Ethiopia address the environmental crisis by using youths as actors) mentored by Tigist Alebachew (Director of New millennium hope development organization)
  • Meseret Cheru ( Urban Forest/ Indigenous species) mentored by Almaz Demessie (Director for Early Warning and Response Directorate at National Disaster Risk Management Comission)
  •  Nura Mohammedata (Coordinator of the Addis Ababa W4C Mentorship Program and Application of Green Building Principles in Addis Ababa) mentored by Nicola Demme ( Senior programme manager at GIZ)
  • Regatu Solomon (Safe cycling program) mentored by H.E. Dagmawit Moges ( Minister of Transport, Ethiopia)
  • Salem Gulilat (The Green Icon dry waste bin design) mentored by Seble Samuel ( Communications and Knowledge Management Officer for the CGIAR)
  • Shewanesh Wendimu (Food waste to animal feed) mentored by Amakelech Lulu ( Pharmacist and CEO of Gishen Pharmacy)
  • Yididiya Zeleke ( Sheba Threads aiming to produce bamboo threads) mentored by Mahlet Teklemariam(Founder and Organizer of  Hub of Africa Fashion Week)


For more information about C40 Women4Climate mentoring program visit and to join the Women4Climate community on Facebook and Twitter.

By Nura Mohammedata