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05DJIBOUTI237 2005-03-06 11:59:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
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061159Z Mar 05
					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 000237 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: Public Diplomacy funded the Self-Help
Program with end of year grant money to host an exposition
and sale of locally made arts and crafts. The Self-Help
Program has funded many Associations that teach women and
girls the skills of sewing, as well as their traditional
crafts. This exposition was the first of its kind to bring
together women from all the districts of Djibouti to
showcase their work, and to provide a venue for sales. At
the conclusion of the event a roundtable discussion was held
which allowed each woman the opportunity to express the
challenges they face, as well as to discuss solutions and
the future of their industry here in Djibouti. End Summary.

2. (U) Prior to the opening of the exposition Self-Help met
with representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and
Industry, and from the Ministry of Tourism. We had many
opportunities to convey the message of the ongoing
commitment of the US to the development and strengthening of
the arts and crafts industry of Djibouti as well as our
commitment to fighting poverty at all levels.

3. (U) Ambassador and the Director of Tourism Mohamed
Abdillahi opened the exposition on the 22nd of February at
10am with speeches. Other dignitaries in attendance were:
Ambassador Ahmed Abelwahed Zein of Egypt, Ambassador Ismail
Abdel Dafie of Sudan, Ambassador Abdoulaziz Bin Mohamed al-
Aifan of Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Abdourab Ali Al-Salafi of
Yemen, Ambassador Philip Selz of France, Ambassador Kamal A.
Gazzaz of the Palestinian Authority, Honorary Consul Alain
Martinet of Great Britain, Ambassador Alexander Bregadze of
Russia, and General Helland of Combined Joint Task Force -
Horn of Africa (CJTF HOA). There was significant media
coverage by television RTD, and a great deal of positive
feedback from dignitaries in attendance. The event continued
through the 24th of February and was closed with remarks by
Ambassador, Director of Tourism Mohamed Abdillahi, Minister
of Commerce and Industry Salaman Omar Oudine, and two
association presidents Amina Idriss, and Fatouma Hassan.

4. (U) At the conclusion of the closing ceremony, a round-
table discussion was held with Dr. Mayoub of the Association
Bender Djedid as moderator, and Mohamed Abdillahi leading
the talk. The purpose of this discussion was to give
representatives from the associations in attendance the
opportunity to voice their opinions about the challenges
they face in craft production and marketing, and to discuss
solutions to these challenges. There was a helpful exchange
of ideas, and a consensus on a need for more collaboration,
and a great need for technical as well as financial help to
improve the arts and crafts industry to bring it to a level
competitive with other African countries.

5. (U) The Self-Help Program also had a promotional exhibit
on display to expand public knowledge of the program. This
included pictures of past projects, and information on how
to apply for future funding. This was well received; we
answered many questions about the program and how to submit
proposals for future projects. We are optimistic that this
exposure to the public will result in a greater number and
variety of project proposals for the 2005 funding cycle.

6. (U) The Public Diplomacy Section also displayed Black
History Month posters during the exposition. We received
feedback that the posters were a nice addition to the event.
Total PD funds spent 775,900.30 DF (4,383.62 USD). This
amount included the hall rental, advertisement, drinks,
food, and miscellaneous items.

7. (U) This event was a great service to the associations
that we have funded. It gave them an excellent opportunity
to display and to sell their handmade items. They were able
to explain their ancestral craft, and show to the public the
skills required to make their products. All the
participating associations expressed their gratitude to the
US Embassy for sponsoring this event. This event was well
attended by the community, and well received. Self-Help
hopes to encourage the associations to repeat this type of
event in the future.