Ethiopia is the oldest independent nation in Africa and the second-most populated. Adequate food and water supplies are continually threatened by drought, contributing to malnutrition and disease in many children. ChildFund Ethiopia focuses on child and maternal health services, nutrition, child protection, access to early childhood development services, orphan support, economic strengthening, water and sanitation, and parent and caregiver education.
During 2015 and 2016, ChildFund has addressed a serious food shortage in Ethiopia by distributing nutritious food to the most vulnerable members of the population: children under 5, lactating and pregnant women, and the elderly.
ChildFund has served children in Ethiopia since 1972. Help make a difference and sponsor a child in Ethiopia today.
Ages 0 – 5: Healthy and Secure
The health of mothers and newborns in Ethiopia is often at risk, since many women do not deliver in hospitals or receive adequate pre- and postnatal care. ChildFund’s programs encourage mothers to deliver at hospitals, reducing the risk of maternal and infant mortality. By providing better access to safe water and educating communities on sanitation practices, ChildFund also helps to reduce the spread of communicable diseases in Ethiopia.
Village savings and loan groups, supported by ChildFund and its partners, empower caregivers and parents by improving their livelihoods and increasing household income. Members use the income generated to pay for food, school materials and medication for their children, and economically empowered women raise their voices at the household level, improving their leadership roles within the family. Our local partners also work with government elementary schools to share facilities for early childhood development programs.
During the widespread food shortage in 2015 and 2016, children under the age of 5 have received food supplements to stay nourished, and ChildFund has worked with other organizations and the Ethiopian government to make sure mothers and young children receive health monitoring when they are diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition
Ages 6 – 14: Educated and Confident
Children spend time in reading rooms and also have safe places to play, thanks to intervention by ChildFund Ethiopia and its local partners. They receive tutorial support, which helps students improve their reading, writing and math skills, while also keeping them interested in staying in school. A national survey of fourth- and seventh-graders in 2015 showed that students in ChildFund-supported schools were better able to read, comprehend and retain knowledge than their unsupported counterparts.
Ages 15 – 24: Skilled and Involved
ChildFund and our local partners help address the needs of youth with regard to reproductive health and HIV through youth clubs, peer educators, counseling and testing. As a result, teens are having open dialogues about HIV and AIDS, female genital mutilation and gender-based violence. Our youth programs also emphasize building self-esteem and confidence, as well as civic involvement. By becoming leaders at a young age, youth are able to have brighter outlooks for the future.
Family-Based Economic Strengthening and Environmental Protection Project
This unique 30-month agricultural project combines protecting the environment with strengthening families’ economic outlook by developing sustainable agricultural livelihoods through effective natural resource management. The program trains 450 women in nine women-producer groups in business management and entrepreneurship, gender equity in natural resource management, and harmful traditional practices. In addition to the financial and in-kind benefits, the women experience the opportunity to develop their leadership abilities while engaging in the group activities and group management. The skills gained further enhance participation, commitment and decision-making in relation to natural-resource management amongst Ethiopian women.
Challenges for Education in Ethiopia
Education in Ethiopia has been severely stunted by three decades of food insecurity and civil war. The education system has improved since the regime change in 1991, but it largely remains inadequate or simply inaccessible for most children. Class sizes are too large, and teachers are underpaid. Impoverished families are unable to pay for textbooks, school clothes and other necessities needed. Primary school attendance rates are low, about 80 percent. With secondary school attendance rates as low as 26 percent, families are less likely to emerge from generational poverty.
Ethiopian girls face even more of a challenge in receiving a proper education. They are expected to perform housekeeping duties on top of school, and marry young. With two in five girls married by 18 and one in five girls married by 15, many never get a chance for a full education. Girls who do attend school are also more vulnerable to physical violence from teachers and classmates. Overall, social pressure puts girls in Ethiopia at a significant disadvantage for education.
ChildFund has improved access to education in Ethiopia by increasing the capacity of schools and expanded libraries with much-needed books. We also work with parents and caregivers to show them the best ways to teach their children and foster healthy mental, physical and social development. Every year, we provide more than 14,000 children access to early childhood care and support. To help ensure a child in Ethiopia has access to the educational opportunities he or she needs, consider sponsoring a child today.