Homeless Children in Ethiopia Ethiopia, especially in its capital city of Addis Ababa, is experiencing a growing homelessness crisis. Young adults and children leave the countryside to try and find work and education in the country’s urban areas, but the cost of living and housing is often unaffordable. Here are seven facts about homeless children in Ethiopia.

7 Facts about Homeless Children in Ethiopia

  1. Forty-two percent of Addis Ababa’s homeless population is under the age of 18. An official survey in 2010 counted 12,000 homeless children in Addis Ababa alone but some NGOs have estimated that the number is much higher.
  2. Family problems are cited as one of the main reasons that children leave their homes and end up living on the streets. Approximately 46% of street children in Ethiopia live with people other than their birth parents because of death, divorce, or separation.
  3. Residential shelters exist for homeless children in Ethiopia, but they must pay their way into them and continue to make money in order to stay there. Shelters are small and fit fewer than 20 children at once. For about 20 birr (57 cents in USD) children can pay to have meals and a bed for a night. One particular shelter, Hold My Hand, has been serving at-risk homeless boys by providing them food at Addis’s largest school, Bole, or by reuniting them with lost family members. Though the shelter’s capacity is small, they have been able to reunite five families with their lost sons and continue to feed children through the Bole Project.
  4. Homeless children in Ethiopia are often exploited. Human trafficking networks have a large presence in the country’s crime rings, and often young girls that are experiencing homelessness in Ethiopia fall victim to these syndicates. Once in Addis Ababa, these girls are forced into slavery-like working conditions in domestic service. Close to 400,000 humans were trapped in slavery in 2016. Retrak Ethiopia helps businesses learn more about the people they employ and then tries to rescue homeless children in Ethiopia from human trafficking.
  5. Many homeless children experience addiction or substance abuse. Glue-sniffing is a popular form of drug abuse among homeless children in Ethiopia because the substance is inexpensive and easy to obtain on the street. Street children sniff glue in order to try and ease the pain of hunger and exposure to the elements.
  6. Ethiopia’s government does not offer any type of public funding for homeless children and has instead relied on a heavy police presence to try and contain the growing crisis in cities. One method used by the police is apprehending children and forcing them back to their hometowns, but this effort has been largely unsuccessful.
  7. Ethiopia’s newest prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has charted a new path for the way the country addresses its growing homeless youth population. His new stance is the “Children on the streets have a right to live” which is a far cry from mottos of the past like the one in 2017 that emphasized “Cleaning Addis Ababa’s streets of children.” Now, Ethiopia’s government involves more conversations with on-the-ground NGOs. Habitat for Humanity has opened an Ethiopian chapter to try and rebuild old housing units and provide new ones for the country’s homeless population. Sanitation services in Ethiopia are unavailable in 80% of urban areas, so Habitat focuses on creating communal points of access for water distribution and hygienic purposes in cities like Addis Ababa.

-Grace May
Photo: Flickr

Feed The Future in Ethiopia

USAID began assisting Ethiopia with improvements to food security and nutrition after the country was devasted by a famine-causing drought in the 1970s. Under the Feed the Future program — designed by the Obama Administration — further initiatives have been implemented to ameliorate hunger and improve the economy. Here are five facts about Feed the Future in Ethiopia.

5 Facts About Feed The Future in Ethiopia

  1. Feed the Future symbolizes a commitment to help Ethiopia become a self-sustaining nation. The organization is committed to a detailed short-term plan that is expected to minimize extreme poverty, malnutrition and hunger in the long-run. The plan will assist Ethiopia in its endeavors to become a lower-middle-class country within the next six years.
  2. The plan focuses on agricultural development in Ethiopia. Feed the Future provides farmers with updated “technology and practices,” which encourages productive and sustainable farming in the agriculture-based country. This includes the implementation of a Farm Service Center Project from 2015-2017 to aid in credit access, food security and gender equality. Thanks to the program, 100,000 farmers are able to deploy new, innovative technologies from 20 new private retail farm service centers.
  3. Coffee is a key crop. From January 2018 to April 2019, the organization helped Ethiopia send 6,000 kilograms of dried coffee to Germany and Japan. Feed the Future is focusing on increasing coffee seedling profitability by investing in “wet mills and sun-drying facilities” among smallholder farms. These investments can improve the quality of the seedlings in coffee-producing regions like Amhara and Oromia.
  4. Government cooperation is critical to success. The organization’s improvements to Ethiopia’s agricultural sector complements Addis Ababa’s new Growth and Transformation Plan to improve agriculture and industrialization. Addis Ababa is also partnered with other organizations like the Gates Foundation to further agricultural development.
  5. The organization is helping to reduce poverty. Feed the Future reports a 12 percent decrease in poverty in the areas where the organization has been active over a two year period (2015-2017). Feed the Future programs target efforts in regions where the poverty rate is 35 percent, on average.

Feed the Future is an American investment. Helping another country boost its economy can result in gains for the United States. Today, 11 of the United States’ top trading partners are previous recipients of USAID and hopefully owing to the efforts of Feed the Future and other organizations, one day, Ethiopia can also join these ranks.

– Rebekah Askew
Photo: Flickr

Drought in EthiopiaOn May 13, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, USAID announced that it will be giving an additional, much-needed $128 million in humanitarian aid to the country to help mitigate the impact of the drought in Ethiopia, the worst in 50 years.

Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Affairs Thomas H. Staal and Commissioner Mitiku Kassa of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission jointly announced the additional aid. Kassa said that the Ethiopian government had contributed $381 million to relief efforts. The U.S. has contributed $705 million in humanitarian aid to Ethiopia since October 2014, and $211.5 million in USAID money to Ethiopia was spent on humanitarian assistance in 2015, specifically.

The most recent addition to the U.S.’s humanitarian aid is intended to provide relief food assistance, safe drinking water, nutrition services and mobile health clinics to help with the huge impact of the drought in Ethiopia. Due to recent rains, USAID is also sending seeds for food production during the expected upcoming rains.

According to NPR reporter Gregory Warner, this drought has not conjured up the typical images of African famine, such as pictures of starving children with distended bellies. Ironically, this has caused some trouble for Ethiopia’s fundraising efforts, said Warner, as there has not been as much media attention given to the drought. Of the $1.4 billion necessary to provide both food and nonfood amenities for the 10.2 million affected people, the country has only secured 54 percent, with the U.S. as its principal donor.

The drought in Ethiopia is the result of El Niño and successive poor rainy seasons. According to Warner, over a third of the country’s crops failed over multiple harvests. Now that the rains are coming, though, there are concerns that this will bring about further difficulties, such as flooding.

The region is incredibly vulnerable to climate change due to its reliance on agriculture and rain-fed agriculture, in particular. According to USAID, though, one of the benefits of providing aid to Ethiopia is its potential as a trading partner, saying, “A healthy and prosperous Ethiopia will increasingly contribute to the stability and economic progress in the region and, as such, is an important trading partner and security ally for the United States.”

Anastazia Vanisko

Photo: Flickr

This past week, global leaders met at a four-day international conference on Financing Development in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa. True to name, the top priority on the summit’s agenda was the creation of a comprehensive financing framework for sustainable development.

This conference was the first of three summits scheduled for 2015, all of which aim to reestablish the world’s vision of sustainable prosperity and revamp the collaborative effort toward achieving this goal. Collectively, these summits will set transnational aspirations and set the global standard for sustainable development.

Conference attendees included high-level political representatives, Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs, and Development Cooperation, non-governmental organizations and business sector entities. The final outcome of the prolonged discussion was a document known as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

The Action Agenda will support the implementation of the post-2015 worldwide development agenda. Most notably, it will provide some backbone for the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals, scheduled to replace the current Millennium Development goals this September.

After intense discussion and deliberation, the 193 UN Member States were able to agree on a series of groundbreaking measures. These measures strategically aim to refurbish global finance practices and generate investments that will help tackle economic, social and environmental challenges.

Technically, the finalized agreement represents months rather than days of hard work and prolonged negotiations between countries. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is proud of this highly anticipated outcome.

He said, “The results here in Addis Ababa give us the foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind.” Indeed, the Action Agenda will help transform the upcoming SDGs from a dream into a reality, as strategized financing is key to the Goals’ success.

The agenda contains more than 100 concrete measures, addressing all sources of finance, and covering cooperation in terms of technology, science, innovation, trade and capacity building.

Specifically, the representatives agreed to establish a Technology Facilitation Mechanism at the SDG Summit in September. This will help to enhance collaboration among all relevant actors supporting the Sustainable Development Goals’ long-term implementation.

Infrastructure was another key point of focus, leading to an agreement to establish a Global Infrastructure Forum. This forum will help to identify infrastructural areas that need improvement. Additionally, it will help leaders pinpoint opportunities for investment and promote cooperation on international infrastructure projects.

In order to protect the poorest and most vulnerable global citizens, the countries adopted a new social compact that will work to establish social protection systems. To address health issues, the countries agreed to consider taxing harmful substances.

Representatives pledged their commitment to promote affordable access to credit for smaller business enterprises. They vowed to develop a global strategy for youth employment and promised to implement the International Labor Organization Global Jobs Pact within the next five years.

Leaders restated their commitment to achieve the original Millennium Development Goal target of allocating .7 percent of their countries’ gross national incomes for development assistance, and .15 percent to .2 percent for the world’s least developed countries.

In addition, the Action Agenda stresses the importance of inclusive cooperation among national tax authorities and the dangers of climate change. It calls on developed countries to achieve the goal of mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 to address developing countries’ most pressing needs.

By breaking down the complex financing needed to fight global poverty and promote sustainable development, the Action Agenda symbolizes a monumental step in the right direction. This pioneering financial framework will make the Sustainable Development Goals all the more achievable.

Sarah Bernard

Sources: United Nations 1, United Nations 2, NPR, The Guardian
Photo: NPR


After three days of negotiations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations has established a new deal that will finance the U.N.’s new Sustainable Development Goals. Ultimately, these goals set a 2030 deadline to greatly reduce global poverty.

The negotiations in Addis Ababa involved representatives from around 200 different countries. Seventeen goals make up the new U.N. plan, which mainly includes large, overarching goals such as completely eliminating global poverty and hunger, obtaining gender equality worldwide, creating environmentally sustainable cities and ensuring everyone quality education.

These goals also come with a hefty price tag. U.N. experts estimate that the Sustainable Development Goals will cost around $3 trillion each year in order to properly finance each goal. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim also estimates that along with billions of dollars in foreign aid, these goals will require “trillions in investments.”

“This agreement is a critical step forward in building a sustainable future for all,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “The results here in Addis Ababa give us the foundation of a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development that will leave no one behind.”

– Alexander Jones

Sources: BBC, Cheyne, Solomon
Photo: BBC

Ethiopia is in the midst of a US $75 billion dollar, 5-year growth plan. The plan includes infrastructure projects in and around Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital. According to Mathewos Bekel, head of the city’s planning office, Addis Ababa is already more than 125 years old so plans will change the existing situation of the neighborhoods in order to put in more infrastructure. Therefore, the main challenge developers will come when trying to redevelop the existing areas.

The plans will expand market areas, creating more space for leisure areas and transportation, and will bring in more services such as cafeterias and restaurants. The city and surrounding areas are expecting a population growth of about 5 million people in the coming, and as many as 8 million in the coming 25 years. Rapid population growth is a trend seen across Africa. 41% of Africans live in cities and that numbers grows by 1% every 2 years. The city planning office will work to transform 50% of the cities slums into permanent housing complexes within a decade. In order to improve the slum areas in terms of the quality of the buildings, the infrastructure, and services, they need to be redeveloped and updated.

Based on its Annual Competitiveness Report, the African Development Bank says a shortage of infrastructure reduces the continents annual growth by at least 2 percent. Infrastructure deficit has been identified as a major barrier to improved productivity, private sector development, economic diversification, and spatial inclusion. By spending just 5% of its total GDP on infrastructure, the bank estimates productivity could increase by up to 40%.

Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest and poorest countries. The country’s per capita income of US$370 is significantly lower than the regional average of US$1,257. The government is working to reach middle-income status—US$1,025—over the next decade.

The economy has experienced strong economic growth over the past decade, averaging 9.9% per year in 2004/05-2011/12, substantially higher than the regional average of 5.4%. This economic growth has created positive trends in reducing poverty throughout urban and rural areas. In 2004-2005, 38.7% of Ethiopians lived in extreme poverty. Five years later this proportion was reduced to 29.6%. Using the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), the goal is to reduce this to 22.2% by 2014-2015.

Ethiopia’s investment in infrastructure will play a key role in continuing and accelerating the progress made in recent years towards economic growth and development goals. Over the past two decades, significant progress has been made:

  • Primary school enrollments have quadrupled
  • The number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled
  • Child mortality has been cut in half

Ali Warlich

Sources: CNN, AfDB, World Bank
Photo: Focus Africa

Brazil's Development Success
Former Brazilian president Inácio Lula da Silva, during an international conference in Addis Ababa last week, claimed that hunger can be eliminated in African countries by 2025. However, he said, in order to do so subsistence agriculture must be abolished.

Lula’s claim is based on the success of his own country enjoyed through the Fome Zero (Zero Hunger) program. Under his eight-year presidency, the economy of Brazil averaged an annual growth rate of 5%, whilst simultaneously reducing poverty levels drastically with 20 million brought out of extreme poverty, and creating 20 million jobs. Small-scale farmers were given access to seed and credit, and 50 million people benefitted from a cash transfer scheme.

In order to replicate this success, Lula says that national policy will have to change to reflect the commitment to eliminating hunger and poverty. This means a change in the approach to support given to those in poverty. This support must be viewed as an investment rather than an expense. By giving subsistence farmers access to modern technology and machinery, and educating and encouraging them to produce, small-scale farming can be transformed to create excess crops for farmers to sell.

In speaking of the potential to emulate the Brazilian model, Lula targeted African leaders for designing good policies on paper but failing to implement them and truly improve the quality of life of their citizens. He said, “We failed to include the poor in our national budget. Any financial support to politicians and the rich in society is regarded as an investment yet when funds are geared towards the poor and the eradication of hunger, it is christened as spending.”

Lula’s remarks were made at a conference entitled “Toward African Renaissance: Renewed Partnership for a Unified Approach to End Hunger in Africa by 2025.” The conference concluded with a declaration, reaffirming government commitments and encouraging greater partnership between governments, the private sector, and civil society. Additionally, a commitment was renewed to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), an initiative that calls for African governments to commit 10% of their budget to invest in agriculture and increase agricultural productivity by 6%.

– David Wilson

Source: The Guardian, My Joy Online