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Ethiopia got its independence
Never Colonised
% of population in multi-dimensional poverty
Amharic, Oromifa, Somaligna & Tigrigna and other ethnic languages
Year ChildFund entered

Under-five Mortality Rate (2015): 59 deaths per 1,000 live births (ranked 37 of 193). Source: UNICEF SOWC Report, 2016.

Human Development Index (HDI) (2014): 0.442 (ranked 174 of 188). Source: UNDP, Human Development Report, 2015.

37,108 Disadvantaged children supported (year-ending  June 2017)
1,049,274 Community members supported (year-ending June 2017)

Children and Community members in Ethiopia

Brief History of ChildFund in Ethiopia

Since 1971, when ChildFund Ethiopia was established, our focus has been on children. Our twofold purpose as an organisation is to help deprived, excluded, and vulnerable (DEV) children to improve their lives and become adults who bring positive change to their communities, and to promote societies that value, protect and advance the worth and rights of children. Much of our earliest work centred on working with affiliated communities in the traditional “Family Helper Projects” that contributed and ensured ChildFund’s resources were effectively and efficiently applied to the direct benefits of youth and children. However, our experience and deepening understanding of social change led us to our current strategy, in which children are at the centre of a web of individuals and institutions – parents, family, community, government and non-governmental actors – whose contributions must be leveraged if children are to thrive. ChildFund Ethiopia engages with families and communities through 13 Local Partners in four regions (Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People, and Addis Ababa), serving about 37,300 children and 300,000 families directly and over one million community members indirectly – all in an effort to achieve positive outcomes for children. In addition, as an organisation we contribute to shaping national and global policies and practices that promote the well-being of society’s youngest members.

ChildFund’s programme approach represents a substantial shift in emphasis from addressing the problems of poverty at the individual and household levels to a more collective approach at the child, family, community, area and national levels. ChildFund recognises that the benefits to enrolled children are enhanced when there is more community ownership and participation. This approach also represents a change from addressing symptoms of poverty to addressing its underlying causes.

Brief Programme Overview

ChildFund Ethiopia is working towards improving the care and development of infants and young children, providing quality learning opportunities, and enhancing achievements in basic education. In addition, ChildFund is making concerted efforts to create and strengthen an enabling environment for leadership and livelihood skills for youth. ChildFund Ethiopia’s interventions are being carried out through the life stage approach, and focus on ensuring successful transitions between infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. To bring a lasting change in the lives of children in general and that of deprived, excluded and vulnerable (DEV) children in Ethiopia, ChildFund has formulated the following six strategic objectives, which are aligned to the global strategy and the priorities of the Growth and Transformation Plan 1 (GTP1) of the Government of Ethiopia:

  1. DEV infants and young children have improved cognitive, psychosocial and physical development;
  2. The quality of education and life skills have improved for DEV boys and girls;
  3. DEV youth in urban and rural environments are engaged, safe, have applicable skills and are hopeful for the future;
  4. ChildFund is a partner of choice, building alliances and sustainable partnerships to improve the wellbeing of DEV children;
  5. There is a strong linkage between sponsorship and programme, and the sponsor relations process at all levels is improved; and
  6. The fund resources for DEV children programme is increased and diversified.

The major areas of priorities identified in relation to the three Life Stages are:

Life Stage 1 – 0-5 years old

  • Empowered and responsive caregivers.
  • Safe and caring environment.
  • Quality health care and nutrition for infants, young children, and expectant mothers.
  • Increased access to quality early stimulation.

Life Stage 2 – 6-14 years old

  • Children and adolescents have positive relationships in supportive homes and communities.
  • Children and adolescents have age appropriate literacy, numeracy, and critical life skills to make healthy decisions.
  • Children and adolescents are healthy and actively participate in community life.
  • Educated and confident children

Life Stage 3 – 15+ years old

  • Youth employment.
  • Youth sexual and reproductive health.
  • Youth change agents.


Memisa (5, r) and Mohammed (4, l) play on the playground at a ChildFund-supported early childhood development center in Fentale District, Ethiopia. May 8, 2017.
Photo by Jake Lyell for ChildFund.

2017 Programme Achievements

There are three core program areas designed to reach all infants, children and youth in the affiliated communities which are funded through sponsorship, grants and community resources. These three core program areas also guide ChildFund response to humanitarian emergency.

Ethiopia, February 2018. Photo Credit Alemtsehay Zergaw

Child Friendly Early Child Care and Development Centers

39 Child Friendly Early Child Care and Development Centers were built and renovated in 39 schools. The centres’ play grounds were renovated increasing the children’s interest to come to school and safely play in the field during their out of class time. In addition, 39 classrooms were also furnished with age appropriate equipment (217 tables and 650 chairs) respectively.


Household livelihood Improved

Household livelihood of 275 families was improved through provision of improved egg layer breeds of poultry and dairy cows to meet their food needs and improve income level.


Essential Drugs for Infants

Essential drugs and medical supplies to improve quality of maternal and child health services were provided to 18 health institutions. This contributed to the improvement of health status of 13,453 under 5 children and 10,637 pregnant and lactating mothers in 44 Kebeles (Kebele is a ‘neighbourhood’ or ‘ward’).


With the support of ChildFund Korea, ChildFund Ethiopia provided funds for the extension of water pipeline and water point construction for Kobo Health Center in Fentale

(East Shoa, Oromia) to enable the center to have access to clean water, in order to provide quality health services. The same financial support facilitated the health center to have solar energy and as a result every room (pharmacy, delivery, laboratory and Stabilization Centre rooms) could be supplied with uninterrupted electric power for 24 hours.  Currently a total of 15,169 participants/beneficiaries including children, pregnant and lactating mothers are being served as a result of this initiative.


Responsive Parenting Education

Organized trainings on parent education based on participatory methodologies and adult learning theories were given to 390 caregivers and volunteers from 15 Early Child Care and Development centers. The program enabled the trainees acquire adequate and meaningful knowledge on how to provide better service to infants and young children.


Reference Books for Schools

More than 3,745 reference books on various subjects were donated to 4 target primary schools to boost quality education and alleviate the shortage of reference books. In return, this eased teaching and learning process enabling students to perform better in their studies.


Sanitary Pads Keep Girls in School

To reduce school girls’ dropout and absenteeism induced by inability to manage hygiene and sanitation during menstruation periods, training on the production of local re-usable sanitary pads was provided to teachers in 10 targeted schools. This training was cascaded to 1,560 students.


Inclusion in Education

18 primary schools were made inclusive and disability friendly through the construction of ramps in the school compounds aiding 108 children with physical impairment. In addition, assertive devices such as teaching aids and models for autistic children were provided. The construction of ramps has resulted in increased school participation of children in the new academic year. Besides, autistic children have materials to play with, targeting access to touch, assemble and disassemble aimed at enhancing their psychomotor development in course of time.


Music as an instrument to enhance English Language

This learning skill is being used through World Voice Intervention program. This intervention has resulted in increased teachers’ capacity to motivate children and their teaching   skills, made English learning class fun and enhanced children’s motivation to learn the language and lastly it improved their achievement.


Safety skills in School

Safety skills were taught to school children by traffic police and road and transport authority to provide lifelong benefits. As a result, trained members are teaching the community in their areas on how car accidents have become a serious problem in the area and how to cross roads.


Youth Change Agents

78 peer groups were organized in 52 project Kebeles which created opportunities to increase the youth’s self-discipline, self- esteem and made them gain positive stature in their community. This also helped them to have broader career choices and a better understanding of diversity. The main issues addressed during the peer education sessions include awareness raising on Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV/AIDS prevention, stigma and discrimination as well as life skills development.


Employment Opportunities

A youth Economic Empowerment project was implemented reaching 2,156 youth of which 50% were girls, in 40 intervention Kebeles through various awareness raising and responsiveness of the concerned duty bearers. 863 youth were empowered to create an enabling environment for employment and awareness on their social, economic and participation.


Youth Inclusive Environment Project

This project engaged the youth in responding to challenges of drought vulnerability. As part of this, 143 youth forum members from eight Kebeles planted 6,800 seedlings in schools, youth recreation centers, and in afforestation sites/areas.

Girls in colorful outfits pose together in Fentale District, Ethiopia. May 5, 2017.
Photo by Jake Lyell for ChildFund.


Market Based Technical and Vocational Skills

These skills were taught to foster access to income and jobs opportunities for the participants from vulnerable groups consequently addressing a skill gap in the labor market. This provided 481 target youth with market based vocational skills training. The youth completed short-term vocational skills training (i.e. computer, mobile maintenances etc.) making them ready for potential jobs.

The provision of an occupational skills training scheme to engage unemployed young mothers in different income generating activities was also undertaken. One-month vocational skills training on fast food preparation was provided to 208 young mothers and guardians of orphan and vulnerable children (OVC) enabling them acquire basic fast food preparation skills, motivating them to start small scale businesses from their own generated income.


Energy Saving and Rocket Stove Production

A total of 2,041 energy saving stoves were produced in Boset, Dugda and Tesfa Birhan woredas, enabling women producer groups to earn a total of ETB 217,200 (USD 9,050). This boosted the economic and social benefits of women participants in addition to promoting environmental protection. The stoves improved the health and safety of women and their households by reducing indoor air pollution and severe health risks from smoke inhalation.


Bio-Energy Greenhouse Gases

52 biogas systems were created in North Shoa, Dugda and Boset. The systems were used to create bio-energy, thus reducing greenhouse gases by lessening the need to use fossil fuels. Biogas has also created access to a fairly cheap source of electricity for target households, avoiding cutting down of trees and damaging of other plants.


Emergency Response


ChildFund Ethiopia commenced its emergency response efforts in May 2015. To support the prolonged emergency, ChildFund Ethiopia has employed different interventions; emergency WASH (drilling of boreholes, rehabilitation of water schemes and training), community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) including distribution of CSB++, child wellbeing in emergencies (CPiE) and general ration food distribution including edible oils with own, Alliance and institutional donors totalling close to USD 3.5 million. It is estimated that over 20,000 participants have been reached through the different interventions. The CO continues with its emergency response that currently includes 3 projects scheduled to end by April 2018 with possibility of acquiring additional grants.


Health and Nutrition

Community Management of Acute Malnutrition intervention (CMAM) project funded by UNOCHA was implemented targeting children under five and pregnant and lactating women (PLW). Under this project 43,634 beneficiaries were addressed through health and nutrition interventions and the following was achieved;


  • 77 health posts and 17 health centers were provided with technical support to strengthen healthcare provision.


  • A total of 32,023 under 5 children and 8,211 PLWs were screened during life of the project.
  • Awareness raising activities were conducted such as Health Education on exclusive breast feeding, completely feeding, family planning, sexual and reproductive health, hygiene and sanitation was given to 5926 PLWs with their children and 379 men.


WASH Interventions

ChildFund’s drought response in Ethiopia includes the installation of new clean water collection points such as this one in Adama District. Here, Kula (9) takes a drink of clean water. Adama District, Ethiopia. May 4, 2017. Photo by Jake Lyell for ChildFund.

Through the emergency WASH project funded by UNOCHA, ChildFund reached 55,345 severely drought affected community members in Boset and Adama woredas. Some of key achievements of this project include;

  • Improved access to safe water supply for 27,015 drought affected people.
  • Improved sanitation for more than 55,345 drought affected individuals through awareness creation, education, community conversations and community mass campaign supported by IEC materials.
  • Improved public health awareness and hygiene promotion for more than 54,110 drought affected community members and other stakeholders.


Similarly, ChildFund Ethiopia implemented another emergency WASH project in Fentale and Adami Tulu Jido Kombolch woredas with funding from IRC/ECHO Emergency Response Mechanism.

Through this project, 4 water schemes (including cattle troughs) were newly constructed and 5 existing were rehabilitated. Additionally, drought affected members were reached through the distribution of 1,733,590 water purification chemicals and 3000 water containers, capacity building support for water management committee members, and hygiene and sanitation campaigns.


  • Improved access to safe water supply for drought affected 25,507 individuals in Fentale and 22,050 Adami Tulu Jido Kombolcha.
  • 126 committee members and 38 operators were trained in basic operation and maintenance of water schemes.
  • Improved hygiene and sanitation of 48,150 drought affected people in Fentale and Adami Tulu Jido Komblcha woredas through awareness creation, education, community
  • Conversations and a mass campaign supported by IEC materials and community dialogues.


Child Well-Being in Emergencies: Interventions

ChildFund implemented Child Well-being in Emergency response in Wonago and Kochere woredas of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People Region and Siraro and Fentale woredas of Oromia Regional state with funding from UNICEF.


  • 21,735 community members were addressed through child wellbeing interventions in emergency situations and activities included community mobilization for in and out of school children. The intervention focused on trainings given to parents/ caregivers, teachers/principals, and strengthening child wellbeing committee members.
  • 60 Child Friendly Spaces (CFs) were established in 20 implementation Kebeles.
  • Peer education (mentor – mentees) activities were also integral interventions


Distribution of Supplementary and General Food Ration

  • A total of 31,491 under five children, pregnant and lactating women and elderly were supported with supplementary food provision (Famix and edible oil) by Fentale, Boset, Dugda and Siraro Woreda.
  • ChildFund also reached a total of 34,911 drought affected community members with general food ration and supplementary food provision in Dugda and Fentale woredas for three months from November to May, 2017.


Other Emergency Response Interventions

  • ChildFund supported a total of 1,430 food affected community members in Boset Woreda with the distribution of general food ration and supplementary food. In addition ChildFund reached 3,604 flood affected community members in Siraro Woreda through local partners with the provision of supplementary food and non-food items.
  • ChildFund also responded to needs of internally displaced population in Mi’esson Woreda, west Hararghe with the distribution of non-food items for 1000 households.
  • 40 households affected by the landslide tragedy in Addis Ababa were supported through food assistance. In addition to food items, non-food items such as household utensils, clothing, blankets, school uniforms, scholastic materials, sanitary supplies were provided for the affected children and adults.


Local Partners Response

A total of 31,142 people (children under five and pregnant and lactating mothers) were reached with supplementary food in integration with five local partners (Boset, Fentale, Dugda, Belaya and Sodo Buee). The partners diverted 25% of their budget to address drought emergencies occurred within their operation areas.



Why Sponsorship is Important

“Letters changed my life!”

Melkam writing a letter


Imagine losing both of your parents as a child. This is Melkam’s story. By the time she reached 4th grade, she had lost both of her parents—a pretty lonely time for her, and she felt as if she had no one to rely on.

Melkam was enrolled in ChildFund’s sponsorship programme in 2003 and was sponsored by Mr. Frederic Burdy who lives 3,416 miles away in France. Her sponsor became part of her family and vice versa. Letter writing made a big difference in the relationship, as well as being an excellent opportunity for Melkam to learn basic letter writing skills and how to express her ideas through writing.

Through exchanging letters with her sponsor, Melkam learned a great deal about her sponsor’s family, his personality as well as his personal interests and attitudes, especially those around work and career. Melkam said: “His words of encouragement and advice are my guide for my academic success. I’m able to learn more English words which greatly impacted my formal education and performance. I also had the opportunity to share my country’s culture, celebrations, historical heritages, current affairs and other things with my sponsor.”

Melkam said that her sponsor is a hard working person and he usually advises her to focus on the big picture. She explained: “without his fatherly encouragement, constant follow up, and support, I wouldn’t be able to succeed in my academic and personal life. I have also got the passion to support others. He teaches me compassion and responsibility. Because of him, I dream to change children’s lives—to help them grow with their needs met, and to become successful in their education. I also had the opportunity to learn the French language while we were corresponding with his family. He has helped me to join the French Language School in Addis, so that I can write in and read French.” Melkam said communicating with her sponsor positively affected her life, and she appreciates the material and financial support.


Melkam talks about her sponsor: “His words of encouragement and advice are my guide for my academic success. He teaches me compassion and responsibility. Because of him, I dream to change children’s lives – to help them grow and become successful.”

“My sponsor—my role model”

Sponsorship communication engagement between children and sponsors enhances children’s skills in reading and writing, and builds self-esteem. In addition, it gives children and sponsors the opportunity to learn new cultures and traditions.

Tayech is a sponsored child who has benefited from this unique nature of sponsorship. She is among the enrolled children in the southern part of Ethiopia. Tayech was born in 2003 in the Gurage Zone Sodo District in a rural village called Ketero, which is located southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Tayech and her sponsor Alicia have shared several letters. In addition to the support she gets from her sponsor, Tayech has used the opportunity to develop her writing skills, reading habit and self-expression, which has helped build her self-esteem. This may hold true for many other children as well.

Pertaining to the difference sponsorship makes, Tayech said, “I used to be very shy and afraid to communicate with others, even for greeting—before I enrolled in the project and started communicating with my sponsor. I believe it is the result of my community’s assumptions towards girls. Now, that’s history. I am confident enough to communicate with any individual in any position and I’m able to persuade others.”

Tayech in an event in the community

Tayech (left), 13, is now an executive committee member in the Child and Youth Forum in her town in the Gurage District of Ethiopia.

Tayech is also performing well in her education. She is ranked number three in her class in terms of performance. Because of her continuous involvement and confidence, she is an executive committee member of the Child and Youth Forum, representing her village. On top of this, she is an Ambassador for her village on sponsorship activities. In recognizing the sponsor’s role through correspondence, Tayech explained: “I have a plan to achieve my vision of taking my dear sponsor as a role model and applying the advice and suggestions she provides through our communication.”

Financial Report
Ethiopia Report for year ending June 2015
Sponsorship Expense $5,914,128 62%
Grant Expense $1,247,192 13%
Contribution Expense $410,477 4%
Operating Expense $2,038,585 21%
Total Expenses $9,610,382 100%
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