Ethiopia is the oldest independent nation in Africa and the second-most populated. Adequate food and water supplies are continually threatened by natural disasters and drought, which contribute to malnutrition and disease in many children. The national infant and under-5 mortality rates remain high. About 472,000 Ethiopian children die each year before their fifth birthday.
Agriculture is the chief source of income in this landlocked country. ChildFund works to protect children and their families against disease and malnutrition. We provide access to safe water and sanitation, basic education and early childhood development opportunities. We focus on child rights advocacy, food security and income generation empowerment.
ChildFund has served children in Ethiopia since 1972.
Annually, ChildFund Ethiopia enables more than 14,000 children to have access to early childhood care and support. We focus on community and home-based approaches so that parents and caretakers are trained in child development and can support their children appropriately.
A 2004 government report shows that the primary school-level dropout rate in Ethiopia is 12 percent, and as high as 20 percent in some areas.
ChildFund has made improvements to existing schools and built new facilities where we work, also providing teaching training and student materials. Financial and tutoring services are provided to those in need. The primary school enrollment rate is up to 86 percent in the areas in which we work.
A former student shares her story: “My name is Seble. I am 22 years old. I was beneficiary in ChildFund since my childhood. Starting from grade one until I completed my college, ChildFund was beside me by supporting all the necessary materials for my education, including my cloth and shoes. ChildFund helped me very much to do many things …. Now I am able to stand by myself though I departed from the organization. However, ChildFund’s support and good work will stay painted in my heart.”
Too often, youth are forced to leave school in order to support their families. ChildFund supports youth by blending livelihood initiatives with training in reproductive health and other life skills, so that out-of-school youth can share what they learn through their entrepreneurial ventures while also contributing to their communities. For instance, an innovative, youth-run car wash venture in Addis Ababa has helped young people to use their income to support their further professional development while promoting healthy choices throughout their community.
HIV/AIDS is a serious health issue in Ethiopia, with about 1.32 million people living with either HIV or AIDS. ChildFund trains community volunteers in conducting home visits with families to ensure that the daily needs of these affected by the disease are met, including cooking, cleaning, bathing and medications. Support from these home-based care workers means that people with AIDS live with a chronic, treatable illness rather than a death sentence.
Treatment is only one piece of the puzzle. We also work with children, youth, parents and community leaders to provide HIV/AIDS prevention and testing interventions, and we make available social networks to counter stigma and discrimination. Through our Strengthening Community Safety Nets program in the Addis Ababa and Oromia areas, 50,000 orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS have received family-centered care and support. The program builds on existing partnerships with community groups and local volunteers to increase the resilience of families and community structures to support children affected by HIV, especially those under 11.
Many areas in Ethiopia face drought year after year, and droughts contribute to malnutrition through crop failure. To reverse this cycle, ChildFund works with farmers by providing them with targeted support. Drought-prone areas are revitalized with cisterns, retention dams, ponds and irrigation systems. We also provide training on modern agricultural production, including beekeeping and sheep and goat breeding, and provide seeds, tools, livestock and training. More than 13,500 farmers have been trained in agricultural techniques to improve production.