Her Excellency Roman Tesfaye has been the First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia since September 2012. A well‐educated and active First Lady, Roman Tesfaye holds a degree in Economics and a master’s degree in Leadership. Prior to her position as First Lady of Ethiopia she was a lecturer of Economics at Arbaminch University in southern Ethiopia, and held senior management positions in different organisations including the United Nations Development Programthe Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, the Regional Bureau of Finance and Economic Development, Regional Secretariat for the National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Preparation, and the Bureau of Plan and Economic Development. Roman also served as an active member of the Southern Nations and Nationalities Regional State Parliament for two terms.
First Lady Roman is a strong advocate of women’s economic empowerment towards positive social transformation. Since establishing the office of the First Lady; which is the first in the country’s history she has been working relentlessly on building economic opportunities for Ethiopian women through varies level intervention targeting skill development, creating enabling environment as well as networking and facilitating access of women entrepreneurs to local and export markets.
In her role as a First Lady, Roman Tesfaye is also actively engaged in making cancer treatment and care services accessible and affordable to all Ethiopians. In addition to forming the First National Cancer Committee which she co-chairs with the Minister of Health, Roman also played a leading role in initiating Ethiopia’s national cancer strategyand the building of five advanced and specialised cancer treatment hospitals in different regions of the country.
The mother of three daughters, First Lady Roman champions for child education and nutrition in Ethiopia. Parallel to advocating for and mobilising support to the implementation of the country’s national nutrition programme; The First Lady also launched a school feeding programme in all primary public schools of the capital city, Addis Ababa in order to help children exposed to serious food shortage access nutritious food in their school premises. The programme enabled more than 20,000 children from poor families to stray in school and to improve their academic performances.
Through her active membership of regional and international networking platforms and initiatives such as the Forum of African First Ladies against Breast and Cervical Cancer which she chairs and the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) First Lady Roman Tesfaye contributes to the continental and global effort of addressing and promoting broader agendas of women economic empowerment, health, nutrition and education.