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The World Population Day and the 16th anniversary of the official launching of the National Population Policy of Ethiopia was celebrated on 10 July with a half-day symposium held at the premises of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED) here in Addis Ababa.

The international theme of this year's celebration, "Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice," is an alarming reminder regarding the key role of women in furthering the economic and social development of their respective societies. Investing in women and girls during the global financial crisis will help set the stage for economic recovery and reduce inequality and poverty. A national theme was also chosen this year titled "Small, Happy, and Prosperous Family" through the implementation of the National Population Policy.

H.E. W/ro Frenesh Mekuria, State Minister of Women's Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, noted in an opening remark on the occasion that unless due attention is accorded to enhancing of women's participation in all spheres, the efforts being exerted in the country to reduce poverty through sustainable development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals will not bear fruit.

On his part the Mr. Fidel Sarassoro, Resident Coordinator of UNCT, remarked that "investing in women promotes gender equality, which allows women to realize their full potential and contribute to economic and social development."


A presentation was made on the in-depth analysis of the Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey of 2005 on the issue of Gender Inequality and Women's Empowerment which was followed by discussion. Stage drama and group music were also shown conveying message on "Small, Happy and Prosperous family," and life testimony was also presented.

The half-day symposium was organized by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Integrated Family Health Programme (IFHP), the German Foundation for World Population (DSW), Consortium of Reproductive Health Association (CORHA), Family Guidance Association of Ethiopia (FGAE), and other partners.

The symposium was attended by H.E. Ato Mekonnen Manyazewal, State Minister of MoFED, and other high level officials of the government as well as representatives of government bodies, members of the diplomatic corps, international institutions, and Non-Governmental Organizations.