MHC's Woyneab Habte ’17 featured on BBC

Woyneab Habte ’17 won numerous social entrepreneurships awards for the business she started while a student at Mount Holyoke.

By Xiomara Núñez '20

In its attempts to tackle unemployment, Ethiopia is potentially hampering its citizens’ human rights, says Woyneab Habte ’17.

Habte was speaking on a recent edition of BBC’s World News Africa program about new economic strategies her country has adopted.

“She balances economic growth with freedom of speech and democracy,” the BBC said of Habte’s comments.

Democracy does not have to be sacrificed in order to improve the economy, Habte said. “Economic growth is a means towards democracy — it’s a path for democracy, it’s a path for freedom of speech, because if there is no education in the country, if people are still hungry, what are they going to speak about?”

Habte graduated in May and has returned to Ethiopia as a graduate student at Hawassa University. As a Mount Holyoke sophomore, she founded On-Her-Own, a copy shop at the university that empowers women students by giving them jobs so they don’t have to sell their bodies to pay for their education. She was an economics and international relations double major, with a Nexus concentration in global business.

Watch the BBC video or read a transcript.