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Mursi performers at the Arba Minch Festival in 2004. Photo Taddesse Wolde
Back in 2003, with the aim of increasing awareness and celebrating the unique cultural and bio-diversity of Southern Ethiopia's Rift Valley region, The Christensen Fund of Palo Alto California stewarded by Dr Wolde Gossa Tadesse (Program Officer for the African Rift Valley), funded Ethiopia's SNNPRS Culture Bureau to stage the first of a series of Festivals celebrating the music and dance of the area. Events were staged in several zonal centres and in Addis Ababa helping to generate local and national interest.
In 2004 a further grant enabled the SNNPRS Bureau to organise a second series of Festivals. With the event gaining in popularity large crowds attended. Various zonal performances took place with a finale in the capital Addis Abeba.