Ethiopian Feminist Commune

How a village in Ethiopia has come to serve as a model for the rights of women, children and the elderly.

The village center of Awra Amba. (All Photos: Zac Crellin)

Tucked away between the rugged gorges and valleys of the Ethiopian highlands is an egalitarian commune that defies the norms of traditional society. Awra Amba, founded in the utopian mold 44 years ago, has managed to thrive where so many other attempts have failed.

Awra Amba could be described as communist, puritanical, pantheistic, feminist, or even cult-like, but its 450 residents are wary of such descriptors. They believe their philosophy, as dictated by the community’s soft-spoken founder Zumra Nuru, is too easily distorted by cultural and linguistic differences to be labeled accurately by outsiders.

Nevertheless, four tenets do underpin the community’s way of life: respecting women’s rights, respecting children’s rights, caring for the elderly and vulnerable, and avoiding antisocial behavior. Today Awra Amba is governed by 13 democratically-elected committees, which cover everything from education to conflict resolution, taking care of orphans to village security.

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7 thoughts on “Ethiopian Feminist Commune

  1. Problems with the WordPress reblog function again???

    I am using Firefox on my Mac, signed in from my WordPress account. On my screen your post content is obliterated by the sharing/rating buttons, etc.. I took a screen shot I’d be happy to send your way if you’ll shoot me an email and let me know where to send it.

    I did hop over to read the article – which was truly fascinating and most uplifting. Thanks for letting me know about this site.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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