Siiqqee Women’s Development Association (SWDA) was founded in 1997 by a committed Ethiopian woman with the strong conviction that poor women can control their livelihoods and their futures when assisted in their self-help efforts and ultimately empowered. With time, other men and women sharing the same vision have voluntarily joined the Association.
Siiqqee is a secular not-for-profit organization working for the welfare of marginalized women and children. It received a certificate of Registration from the Ministry of Justice in 1997. According to the new legislation of societies and charities in Ethiopia, SWDA was re-registered as Ethiopian Resident Charity in October 2009 and obtained registration certificate #0081.
The name Siiqqee comes from the Oromo language meaning stick. In traditional Oromo culture, the Siiqqee is given to a bride by her mother as a symbolic “shield” to protect her from any kind of mistreatment in her new community and family. Possession of a Siiqqee demands respect within the Oromo community If a woman possessing it is mistreated. She takes her Siiqqee and cries out, Neighboring women, seeing her walking with her Siiqqee, join her with their own traditional sticks. The procession of women grows as they walk towards a tree, where the women wait until their husbands come looking for them. In this traditional African form of democracy, the elders hear issues raised by the women and mediate through the traditional council. Hence, the organization decided to take up the name to symbolize that it would carry forward this traditional empowerment initiative and be an advocate for women under suppression.
Vision and Mission
- Vision – To see women live with dignity and security
- Mission – To enable disadvantaged women, girls and children improve their social and economic well-being and develop their capacity as active, productive and respected members of their communities
- Fostering women’s capacity for self-help and enhancing their participation and ownership of development initiatives/program
- Providing girls with access to education, training and critical awareness on basic social services
- Providing women and girls with access to economic /income generating and self-employment opportunities
- Facilitating and strengthening our core client group’s links with external actors and partners
- Promoting programs that foster the productive and sustainable use of the environment
“Siiqqee” is an Oromic word meaning rod. It is attributed to one of the symbolic components of the Oromo culture denoting a sign of protecting one’s own right among the Oromo women. In traditional Oromo culture, a mother gives the “Siiqqee” to her daughter on her bridal departure to use it as a “shield” to protect herself from any kind of mistreatment that she might encounter in the new community and family she would join. Possession of a “Siiqqee” demands respect within the Oromo community. In case if a woman is mistreated, she would take her “Siiqqee” and cries out for companion of her procession. Neighbors and other villagers heard her cry, would join her holding their “Siiqqee’s”. The number of procession grows until they find a tree, where they would sit under the shade and wait their husbands come to look for them. Then the guilty husband would apologize his wife for his mistreatment in front of the assembly of the neighborhood’s elders. In this traditional African form of democracy, the elders hear issues raised by the women and mediate through the traditional council
SWDA took this “expressive” word to nominate itself acknowledging the wonderful Oromo women’s symbolic element, “Siiqqee” with which they react at any mistreatments to claim their own rights. The name is believed to symbolize the traditional empowerment initiatives used to be an advocate for Women under the yoke of malty suppression