Our first pilot project targets the Mohammedali building in the Arada Historic District. In many ways, the Arada Historic District is a microcosm of the dramatic history of Addis Ababa and modern Ethiopia. Theodore Zeldin once said, “One must form a new view of the past in order to have a new vision of the future.” Believing in the need to give the good past a promising future, a group of concerned community leaders have come together to form Addis Woubet, a non-governmental organization focused on historic preservation and economic and cultural revitalization in Addis.

The urgent need for leadership in this effort is undeniable. The population of Addis Ababa has grown from about five hundred thousand, fifty years ago, to an estimated four million today. The city has grown haphazardly in all directions. Various city leaders have tried to manage this growth, developing eight different master plans over the years. Unfortunately, not one of them adequately addresses the issue of the preservation of historic buildings and sites.

Unless immediate action is taken, our city’s cultural heritage is threatened, and the historical assets that should be anchoring economic revitalization efforts will be lost. The first step in this effort is to raise the awareness that these tremendous assets exist and have value. The remaining buildings from Menilik’s era are disappearing from view behind large construction projects. Many of the city’s residents and even some city leaders are not even aware these buildings exist!

Addis Woubet aims to draw out the hidden faces of Addis – to bring out these treasures and rediscover cultural identity. The importance of cultural heritage is vital in any society that wants to preserve its identity. Continuity in the history of a city is very important.

Addis Woubet’s Arada Historic District Revitalization Project will enhance Arada’s main characteristics as a tourist, commercial, historical and residential centre while maintaining its existing character. Two important results will be poverty reduction through the revitalization and preservation of the community’s livelihoods, and the assurance that greater Addis Ababa will preserve its status as the diplomatic capital of Africa.

Addis Woubet plans to accomplish this by creating awareness of the cultural heritages and the historical treasures in the Arada Historic District by engaging both the public and the private sectors.

Addis Woubet believes this vision of returning Arada to its historical glory by enhancing the ambiance of the city centre will help the community attract tourism, bringing prosperity to the city of Addis in general and to the community of Arada in particular.

Telephone: 0911127123 | email: addiswoubet@gmail.com
Address: P.O.Box 204, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia