ActionAid Ethiopia (AAI-E) has been working in Ethiopia since 1989 implementing numerous poverty-targeted projects. These projects have been initiated in the form of development phases consisting of micro-level welfare and service delivery plans with an exclusive focus upon the poorest households. In addition to the development phases, AAI-E has, in accordance with its Interim Country Strategic Plan (2010–2011), also initiated long-term and integrated 10 to 13 years time frame development programs for that target women living in 26 districts across Ethiopia.
According to 2012 statistical estimates, women account for 50.8% of Ethiopia's total population of 93.8 million people. The progress of women’s development in the country has improved over the past decade with newly revised laws and the declining trend of negative norms and traditional practices. However, such improvements do not indicate that women's rights in Ethiopia has reached acceptable world standards, assistance is still required in the education of women, and prevention of violence and harmful traditional practices (HTPs) on women. Believing that all women have a right to a dignified and fulfilling life, AAI-E aims to improve the condition and position of women in Ethiopia.
In order to realize their mission, AAI-E has enforced a twin-track approach. The first part of the approach is a standalone plan that addresses issues directing affecting women, such as HTPs; the second part is a mainstreamed approach, where women’s development goals are embedded in other thematic initiatives, through education, HIV/AIDS and primary health care (PHC), food security and emergency responses. As part of their mission, AAI-E, in collaboration with non-governmental organization (NGO), Medhin Tiwlid, conducted an extensive study on the lifestyles of 65 Ethiopian women over the span of 3 years, to gain more local knowledge on the real problems that they faced. The research identified a total of 142 HTPs inflicted on women and girls across various nationalities in Ethiopia; the research identified the consequent health problems and put forth solutions for reproductive health problems.
Under AAI-E’s standalone approach, females are educated and empowered to abandon or fight against traditional practices. They are encouraged to form organized groups to educate and sensitize the community on the violence and cruel treatment on women, and give support to victims of unjustified abuse. Furthermore, the initiation of Watch Groups has led to many firsthand preventions and interventions at civilian level, illustrating the NGO's determination to aid Ethiopia in women’s development at both macro and micro level. For instance, due to a tip from Watch Groups members, ActionAid Gena Bossa Development Area and partners from the Southern Regional State were able to rescue 22 girls from an arranged female genital mutilation. In addition, with help from the mediation of ActionAid’s anti-VAW Women Watch Group, a woman succeeded in preventing her husband’s involvement in polygamy and gained a marriage status recognized by law.
With the mainstreamed approach, AAI-E engaged respected traditional and religious leaders to help redefine the behavior and mindsets of nationalities on the issues and rights of women. In like manner, schools and formal institutions like the police, court and health institutions are targeted to enforce improvements on building women’s capacity and bring public awareness on current women’s issue. For example, health posts are built and furnished with essential medical equipment with pre- and post-natal healthcare services accessible to mothers. These health posts are charged with the responsibility to sensitize community members on HTPs, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and so on. Lastly, AAI-E has been a strong supporter of the Network of Ethiopian Women in conducting training for women parliamentary candidates, leading to a more than twofold increase in women’s representation.
ActionAid Ethiopia (AAI-E) is an international NGO that has committed itself to the reduction and eradication of the poverty issues in Ethiopia. Working in partnership with the poor, the organization has implemented projects like the Savings and Credit schemes and the Community Based Health Care (CBHC), as part of the long-term integrated urban and rural development programs.
Among the NGO’s many focuses on poverty issues, access to food and water remains to be a significant agenda in aiding the nation. Major staple crops in Ethiopia are a variety of cereals, oilseeds, pulses and coffee, and the most important field crops are grains, which constitute the main element of the national diet. However, due to population pressures, drought and government agricultural policies, demand for grain is on the increase while supply remains to be short.
In 1994, declining harvest from excessive rains plagued that nation with extensive food shortage problems. To relieve the famine, ActionAid took measures to prevent further asset erosion and protect livelihoods. Locals were also supplied with affordable food and given support for farm production.
International Food Security Network (IFSN)
In order to help the country to gain a food security network via negotiations and alliance with international organisations, ActionAid has also established the International Food Security Network (IFSN) project. Examples of initiatives of IFSN are providing food aid and educating indigenous farmers on more effective farming practices. Furthermore, the NGO played a substantial part in the nation’s food crisis in 2003. Signing an agreement with two other NGOs, the movement aims to organize a relief program by building development-based support initiatives and supplementary food provision for children under five and the sickly.
Another instance where ActionAid has lent a helping hand is during the drought crisis in 2011. Together with other aid agencies, ActionAid raised funds to alleviate problems faced by the drought-hit nation. In addition, remote areas were given access to food, water and medical treatment.
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