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The Author Spotlight Interview with Agitu Wodajo

Agitu Wodajo has more than thirty years of extensive experience in women empowerment, healthcare, community/economic development and social policy. She holds diplomas in community nursing and as a pediatric nurse practitioner, a Bachler of arts in human services, an executive master of public affairs, as a Bush Leadership Fellow, and a PhD in Christian Leadership. She has received awards and recognitions from Metropolitan State University, the governor of Minnesota, the Department of Homeland Security, and KARE 11 News for her commitment to bringing about a positive change in the immigrant communities of the Twin Cities metro area.


A Purposeful Life

A Purposeful Life is the inspiring personal story of author, Agitu Wodajo, detailing her life and extraordinary accomplishments growing up in the 60s in Ethiopia, studying and working in both Ethiopia and the United States, her services to others while raising five well accomplished children as a single mom, and traveling the world. The author takes readers through her various tribulations and the incredible perseverance, optimism, and faith she sustained through it all in order to find and heed her call to empower underprivileged women to become self-reliant and bring a positive change to their family lives and their communities

Agitu Wodajo was born in Nedjo, a small rural town in western Ethiopia. During her early life, girls’ education was not common in Ethiopia, and the estimated illiteracy rate in the nation was ninety-five percent. But soon after she was born, her father accepted the Protestant Christian faith and purchased a property adjacent to a Swedish Mission School. As a result, she was able to start school at age six. However, despite that promising start, her father abandoned their family leaving her defenseless against a chain of problems: a horrific attack by a school director at the age of ten; she had traveled eighty-five kilometers by mule-back and on foot to attend high school, where she continued to face adversities. Even after she left school, tribulations followed, and she endured a very abusive marriage while fighting sexual harassment and persecution in her career. But the strong Christian foundation that has shaped her life since childhood, and the unyielding faith and optimism led her through the depths of adversity to rise above her circumstances, and make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Agitu’s story provides a bridge between the developing and developed worlds toward addressing our shared responsibility in making the world a better place. The NGOs she founded in both Ethiopia and the United States helped underprivileged women through services that build self-sufficiency, and policy-change advocacy that lift barriers. In Ethiopia, she lobbied the then new prime minister of Ethiopia in 1991 to establish the first of its kind ministry of women’s affairs utilizing the experience she gained from her study tour to the ministry of women’s affairs and social promotion in Niamey, Niger in 1990. In Minnesota, she participated in the drafting and testified at the Senate hearing of the bill that was enacted in August 2004, exempting foreign-qualified nurses in Minnesota from the CGFNS certification process and allowing them to take their NCLEX-RN exam after fulfilling Minnesota’s requirement and practice nursing. She also played a substantial role in the new rule that was officially adopted by the Minnesota Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners on May 15, 2006, exempting hair braiders from state cosmetology licensing requirements.

Agitu Wodajo has more than thirty years of extensive experience in the areas of women empowerment, healthcare, community/economic development, and social policy. She holds multiple degrees including diplomas in community nursing and as a pediatric nurse practitioner from colleges in Ethiopia, a bachelor of arts in human services from Metropolitan State University, an executive master of public affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs/University of Minnesota as a Bush leadership fellow, and a PhD in Christian leadership from Christian Leadership University. She has travelled extensively for study tours, trainings, international conferences and workshops She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where spends her time writing and serving on a non-profit board as a president.