Member Spotlight: CECA


Calgary Ethiopian Community Association

(December 2017)

Interviewer: Agnes Odera, CommunityWise – Practicum Student.

Interviewee: Shilemat Birhanu, Calgary Ethiopian Community Association – Head of Organization.

What is the name of your organization?

  • Calgary Ethiopian Community Association (CECA)

"Bringing Ethiopians together since 1982"

Can you summarize what your organization’s main objectives are? What is your mission/vision/value(s) that your organization abides by

  • Our main objective is sponsorship- the sponsorship of Ethiopian people and assisting them with integration.
  • Our mission is to create a sense of community (membership, ownership, and participation) among Ethiopians, and to enhance their settlement and integration into Canadian society.
  • CECA is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its programs and social services are provided without taking on political affiliation or any biases towards ethnicity, race, gender, and age.

How has your organization changed over time? In the past 35 years weave had many changes in memberships as well as leaderships.

  • Our organization is volunteer based, and we operate on a part-time schedule, thus, we are constantly evolving. In the past few years, the organization has become a liaison between government institutions, other non-profit organizations and any other interest groups, as well as members of our association.

What is it like working/volunteering at CECA? What is a typical day?

  • As stated above, we are a volunteer based organization that runs part-time.
  • We provide forums for Ethiopians to practice their cultural traditions as well be involved in matters of diversity and intercultural dialogue

What are some challenges working/volunteering at CECA?

  • Work can be hard at times due to the hours of operation. Consequently, we are trying to make CECA more productive while changing the organizational structure. Thus, we hope to see more growth in the years to come.

Are there any new projects you are working on at the moment?

  • CECA is currently working on creating networks and programs for the various age demographics of its members. We are looking at developing a Seniors Program and Youth Network.
  • We are hoping to expand into our own space where more programs can be established.

Is your organization hosting any events coming up soon that folks might be interested in?

  • The youths are currently working on some Christmas and New Year events.
  • We are also planning a celebration for our 35th year anniversary; this will be in February 2018.

Where can folks go for more information about your organization?


201 – 223 12 Avenue SW

Calgary, Alberta T2P 4J1

Operation hours: Saturdays and Sundays 2 pm to 6 pm

Personal Contact:

Shilemat Birhanu


CECA Secretary:

Tina Ashenafi

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