Ethiopia: Social Inclusion and Protection

© Monika Tichackova

In Ethiopia, social and health services are still undeveloped. In rural areas, which are home to the majority of the population, the main issue is the lack of health facilities. In urban areas, it is social issues that dominate the debate since in large cities, paradoxically, the inhabitants are living in far poorer conditions than those in rural areas.

In its Ethiopian social programme, People in Need focuses on two vulnerable groups – women and children. Ethiopia has a major problem with child trafficking from poor families, with many cases where children end up in a slave market instead of at a school desk. They are exposed to arduous work and domestic and sexual violence. People in Need’s programmes are trying to better their situation by improving their education via collaboration with communities, police, judges and other parts of society.

Abandoned street children and orphans, whose parents have died of HIV infection, are amongst other beneficiaries of our projects through local NGO Shiny Day Social Services Association. This particular project is focused on accessing practical education and enabling children to take care of not only themselves, but also their family members.

Poverty reduction initiatives in cities take the form of self-support and self-help women's associations which have been present in Ethiopia since 2002. Their representatives are active at the regional and state levels and participate in the formation of a national platform for social care. There is an indisputable benefit in societies where women are supported to promote their own views on the development of life in their village communities.

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Past aid programmes

Social Protection of the poorest communities in society

Social Protection of the poorest communities in society

In recent years Ethiopia has experienced a massive influx of migration to the cities, which attract rural Ethiopians by plenty of work opportunities, which are limited in the countryside. However, the majority of migrants do not get jobs as intended and are forced to live in slums. According to International statistics, up to 75% of the population of Addis Ababa live in conditions unfit for human habitation. They lack water, sanitary facilities and the unemployment rate is up to 40%. Dwellers (inhabitants of such slums) do not have access to either micro-credit nor social security, and are therefore, very limited in their ability to get out of the trap of poverty. Women self-help groups in Ethiopia have been operating successfully since 2002, hence PIN has decided to continue to support this idea.
Self-help groups usually consist of about 20 women coming from very poor households in one location and with the help of community and social workers save money together in order to support themselves in their retail business. Thanks to PIN‘s support, these women enjoy the opportunity to participate in various development trainings, which help them to gain self-confidence and the ability to solve problems they face. Successful associations are being grouped into cluster associations and federations, whose representatives are active on the regional and state level and by their engagement with local and federal officials they are involved in the decision-making process. They also advocate for self-help groups being incorporated into a national platform for social protection and other institutions that would further enhance their position.
Preventing and Combating Child-trafficking

Preventing and Combating Child-trafficking

Every year in Ethiopia around 20,000 children have been traded (these figures were taken from the research of the International Organization for Migration - IOM), which is considered to be one of the highest figures in the world. This social problem is caused by various factors: first of these factors is the lack of awareness about the critical situation in urban areas, in which people move from the countryside, in an unrealistic vision of a better life. Another two factors are limited access to education and community problems in securing livelihoods.
The PIN organization seeks to increase public awareness on the issue of child trafficking, by focusing on the actual causes and possible consequences in local campaigns through radio, group discussions in the school clubs, by shooting and screening of documentary films and organizing workshops. Another successfully implemented task was the creation of regional database system of child trafficking cases, (this database records data on trafficked children) and was firstly tested at the municipal police in Hawassa. In collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs PIN created a music video referring to this issue, featuring one of the most popular Ethiopian singers of the current times Gossaye Tesfaye. 

One way of reducing the volume of child trafficking cases is also streamlining of the process of punishing offenders, who are involved in the negotiations, transportation, harbouring children and facilitation of activities that involve child abuse. PIN activities not only focused on the actual help to victims’ families and vulnerable communities, but also focused on establishing of a cooperation on the state level, as PIN tries to appeal to officials responsible for the creation and revision of laws and regulations to fulfil its role in improving the child protection system.

How else we help