Meet Ruth Negash an Eritrean American with big dreams of contributing to develop talents of the workforce for efficiency. After teaching over 15 years from Kindergarten to College Levels in various subjects and managed many development programs, properly managed Training and Educational systems has become her specialty. She says her passion is producing goal-oriented and result-driven human resource development in the workforce.
- -Let’s us start with a brief introduction about you.
My name is Ruth Negash and I was born in Asmara. I immigrated to the USA after completing Middle School. Fourteen years after graduating from college and working in the USA and the Middle East, I came to Eritrea to serve my country. I studied medicine for my first degree but I had a change of heart for my real talent which is teaching. I came to Eritrea and served 2010-14 in EIT, Eritrea Institute of Technology. Coordinating various campus-wide research seminars and presentations allowed me to enjoy my service immensely. Simultaneously, I conducted several workshops and trainings on empowered leadership and management topics in ministries and other colleges of the country. In 2014 I started working in Bisha Mining Share Company as Training and Development Manager. Then, in 2018, I took 8-months to travel the globe and empty out my bucket list as I observed and gained experiences to of how other people in the world live and manage their employment services and steps they take to recover their environment and national workforce after the mining industry ends it contract.
- -What was the reason behind your visit to 20 countries? All in one year!
My passion is human resources development. I wanted to see why and how countries like Japan, Cuba, Canada, Serbia and Australia are believed to have better system. Zambia was impressive. I love to see countries being developed by their own people. Many educated Zambians held high level jobs in their workplace and I met Diaspora Zambians who chose to return and work and live in their homeland. It was great to hear their resettlement stories and how their government had policies to accommodate them in the system. I like to analyze better ways through which students and employees can contribute to their countries’ development after being educated. It is an interest of mine to learn how countries implement policies in regards to reinforcing and allocating their manpower in the labor market. Serbia and Japan impressed me the most.
- -In your view, what examples do you think Eritrea can acquire from the different systems you saw in the countries you visited?
Let me start with the good things we have as a nation and a community. In Eritrea, our people are hard-working and the culture encourages self-reliance and dedication. Unlike some countries I visited, there is no Eritrean who waits for outsiders to come any build their nation. Unfortunately, some African cities I visited, the locals told me that they believe that they cannot develop their communities without the help of foreigners. The story here in Eritrea is different. If anything else, there is pride in working on your own to solve their problems. Moreover, the work ethos is extremely praiseworthy. This is a value that is built-in within the society’s tradition. That being said, with the achievement over 80% literacy rate nationally, I believe this is the right time for investors to feel secured that plenty of graduated, trainable manpower in various fields awaits to be placed in the job market. With the right policies, companies and institutions can invest safely in Eritrea knowing that disciplined, dedicated, educated and work-loving manpower exists. The spirit of the people these days is good nowadays with the hope that peace have arrived in our East African region. If we channel the people’s readiness to work and create conducive management systems for our human resources, we can leap as a nation to a fast growth. In the meantime, every person has the responsibility to recognize his/her own talent and further their knowledge and skills to become experts through further trainings. Eritrea needs experts in many fields and highly qualified managers to lead and allocate the workforce in their rightful places to drive national development. So, to answer your question, although we already have many good qualities as a society in regards to work, we can also learn from many examples of other countries about effective and efficient systems when placing our working population and supporting our manpower to become experts.
- -Have you put your observations on a research paper?
Not yet, but I have collected plenty of data and observed many workplaces to be able to share with institutions, ministries and companies who are already developing our beloved nation. My observation mainly has been qualitative; however, I plan to further my experiences and document my observations.
- -What made you choose to live here in Eritrea? You grew up and studied in America, isn’t it easier for you to live and work in America more than in Eritrea?
The praise goes to my parents, especially my mother who raised us in USA as a single mother. Growing up, my mother had strict house rules and high expectations for us in regards to education and social activities. In education, Master’s Degree was a minimum and in social matters, two services were mandatory: Sunday Church and Eritrean Community. So growing up alongside the Eritrean community in the diaspora helped me and to want to come back home and contribute. From Eritrea, my father pressed us to study hard so we can first help ourselves and then our country. The updates we got from Eritrean leaders, encouragement from our Ambassadors, connection with YPFDJ, NUEYS and NUEW played a big role in my life to come and contribute in Eritrea.
- -Are Eritreans abroad close as families and as communities?
As families, we support each other in any social issues such as graduations, weddings, death and other traditional events. As communities, we come together annually to celebrate national holidays, festivals, to raise funds, for peaceful political marches, professional workshops and seminars about homeland and more. In our second countries, we do charity works in the local communities, homeless shelters, as mentors to disadvantaged poor families, engage in the environmental protection and participate in helping natural disaster victims. Either be in America, Australia, Asia, Africa, Middle East or the rest of the world, we work in unison as one heart.
- -What are some of your best memories in Eritrea?
Regardless of the obstacles by sanctions and regional instability, I like to witness positive changes we have acquired. Especially, if you travel outside to the remote areas, one can really see ongoing developments and change. Remote communities are being educated as good as the cities and improving their day to day activities. Working in Bisha, I realized that many families in small local communities have improved their living standards as a result of finding training and employment opportunities in the mining industries. While the youth of remote communities work hard in farming, they also study hard to become mining engineering graduates! My best memories are that of our people and beautiful journeys of people.
- -We will conclude by shedding a light on your future plans.
All my future plans align with national development programs tied to the Human Resource Development and management. Mainly, I would like to work with the Eritrean youth professionals to become experts in their fields by providing and coordinating trainings to improve their quality of performance in any workplace. Personally, I prefer to work on programs with training of trainers; to introduce a program where seniors in different workplaces take the role of leadership and as exemplars to the young manpower.