Meron Menwyelet

Meron Menwyelet (Kinawataka Women's Initiatives - KIWOI): Meron was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and grew up in Colorado. She graduated cum laude from Colorado State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and studied abroad in Amman, Jordan. Prior to graduate school Meron worked in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the U.S. Department of State. At the time of her AP fellowship, Meron was pursuing a Master of Science in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, with a concentration in international development. She also served as president of the Africa Forum at Georgetown. After her fellowship, Meron wrote: "The field experience I gained was very valuable and relevant to my academic focus on women's empowerment; economic empowerment; and civil society capacity-building in sub-Saharan Africa. I saw first-hand the challenges of operating a local NGO in a developing country and was inspired by the persistence and dedication of my host organization to achieve their goals. I definitely learned a lot about myself."

A Welcomed Return to the Motherland

13 May

It’s hard not to develop an affinity towards a part of the world when it has played such a large part of your personal narrative – at least that’s been my experience with the continent of Africa. What I find to be even harder though, is not falling in love with the unique sights, sounds and smells that characterize this region, especially as I get to experience it more and more.

Streets of Kampala

Now, that will probably come as a surprise to many, especially those who view Africa as a desolate place where people live in trees and roam with lions (yes, people have actually said that to me). Then there are those who view Africa as a stagnant place, where technology and innovation are absent, and the notion of progress unfeasible. I’ll never forget the time when I was recommending an Ethiopian beer to someone and their response to me was, “Ethiopia makes beer? How civilized!” (I promise, I’m not making this stuff up)

So when the opportunity presented itself to serve as a Peace Fellow with the Kinawataka Women’s Initiative (KIWOI) – a dynamic group of women who discovered an ingenious way to transform discarded plastic straws into beautiful handicrafts – I felt compelled to apply. While much attention has been paid to issues of African poverty, hunger and disease, I wanted the chance to project a different image of Africa this summer – one that captures the resilient spirit of marginalized and vulnerable people (especially women) who are devising solutions to their own development challenges.

Over the course of my fellowship this summer, my aim is to discuss not only the successes of my organization, but also their challenges. I hope to use this platform as a means to spark a dialogue not only about the range of development problems that exist in Africa, but the different ways that community-based organizations like KIWOI are making a social impact.


Posted By Meron Menwyelet

Posted May 13th, 2013

1 Comment

  • Dreama

    March 10, 2017


    To think, I was coeufsnd a minute ago.

Enter your Comment


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *