The Yellow Movement

Overview of the Yellow Movement


The Yellow movement is an initiative taken by students of School of Law of the Addis Ababa University and their lecturer. It was established in 2011 with the aim of creating continuous discussions on issues of Gender-Based Violence and empowering women. Even though student-led clubs are common in many higher education institutions, this initiative is the first of its kind in the country. The initiative has over 35 core members, both male and female, and many more volunteers that engage with the team online as well as offline.

Our Goal

  • engage students in taking responsibility for the change they want to see on their campus, city and ultimately their nation
  • raise awareness for better treatment of women
  • support female students who are in dire need of financial support to afford basic necessities as they go through university.

Basic principles

Two basic ideas inspire and guide our initiative. First, we understand that many great social changes and movements were started by a small, committed group of people. Second, we believe that the most important resources needed to do this work are time and passion, and at the Yellow Movement, we make time and we have plenty of passion.

Affiliations and collaborations

The Yellow movement works under the umbrella of the Addis Ababa University Gender Office. It also collaborates with the Addis Ababa University Communications Office, School of Law and Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations (NEWA).


Why the Color ‘Yellow’?

Initially, the core team was referred as ‘the volunteers’, and had decided to do some work and build team spirit before selecting a name. In its early days, as the team was discussing ideas for its table day stands, a few of its co-founders chose the color ‘Yellow’ and explained why it is the best color for the team. It is bright, hopeful, it is the color of the sun and it draws attention. We want people to notice us and to ask questions as we campaign on campus, and we want them to feel inspired and imagine a better future for women as they talk to us. In short it symbolizes a hope and belief in a brighter future. That is why we chose ‘Yellow’.

Who can be a member?

Anyone willing to invest time and energy to create a safer world for women and children can be a member/volunteer of the Yellow Movement.

Weekly Table Day Activism – This is our most important method of activism. It is very simple and effective. It is our response to the question, “who speaks up for women on the days between major International Events and large national conferences?” We see ourselves as the small but consistent voice that speaks up for gender equality, a voice that challenges accepted but harmful practices on dispute resolution, ideas of violence, gender roles and social expectations on sexuality, success and performance (of women’s specifically) to mention a few topics.

Every week the team selects a topic, often after an intense and exhilarating debate, prepares fliers and sets up tables at different locations on campus to engage the university community and passersby. Table Day events take place for two days a week and ten weeks in a given semester.

Blood Drive (Bi-annual Blood Donation Event)

This is one of our two major events in a given academic year and a commitment the Yellow Movement team has made to do its part to raise awareness on maternal health. It is a sad and well-known fact that Ethiopia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and many mothers die as they lose blood during childbirth. Hence, the Yellow Movement team mobilizes University students to donate blood under the theme “To save a mother’s life”. Our last blood Drive event drew the largest number of blood donors in recent history of our Campus.

Valentine’s Day Fundraiser

Valentine’s Day fundraiser is our second and most fun producing annual event. It is organized to raise funds to support female students who need financial assistance to cover their basic needs and expenses in college.

As part of the fund raising activity, we sell flowers and other small items on Valentine’s Day. We sell flowers at different locations on and off campus and deliver to businesses and individuals upon order. All funds collected from the sales and donations are handed over to the Gender Office through the scheme of our scholarship fund.

Social Media

The Yellow movement has a Facebook page ( and is well represented on twitter by members and supporters. Most of our table day events are matched by a facebook posts/discussions and a twitter conversation under the hashtag #YellowMvt. In December of 2013, the Yellow Movement team with the support of many dedicated human rights activist on twitter organized a weeklong campaign on Ending Gender Based Violence as a contribution to the 16 days of activism celebrated internationally. It was a great experience that brought many people together and showed the potential of social media for activism in our country.

Famous Online Campaigns

#FillTheShelf – the campaign worked on filling the shelf of AWSAD’s empty library with books donated by supporters and students all around. AWSAD provides a shelter to survivors of GBV, usually mothers and their children and at times minors who have survived GBV attacks. Hence to support the educational facilities of the shelter, our movement worked on providing books and stationary materials.

#JusticeForHana – Shading light on the case of Hana Lalango when no one gave attention to the issue at first before a member of the movement shared the small corner article featured in a local magazine in different social media platforms.

The Yellow Movement Book Club

The YM Book Club is started with the intention of creating an army of women who read. The club is open to everyone but the majority of members are women. It is to challenge ourselves, to reflect and to understand the community we are serving. As we speak, we seek to change and focus on what is outside of us. It is imperative that we also look inward and grow intellectually and emotionally.


In 2016, we have established a sister chapter of the yellow movement in Mekelle University and we hope to expand the same concept to Adama and Gondar Universities in the year 2017/18.

Plans for the future

Our long-term plan is to start Yellow Movement sister chapters in at least six universities around the country. In few weeks, we are going to spread out to two other campuses in Addis and mentor and train new members.


The Yellow Movement in Action: Poster of the Scholarship fund launching event, pictures from our outdoor love shops and handing over the proceeds to Gender Office Addis Ababa University, an official scheme which will let us manage our funds and select beneficiaries legally.