Ethiopia is home to 41 million children. Even pre-Covid, a massive 36 million were estimated by the UN to be ‘multidimensionally poor’Citation. That’s a staggering 88% of Ethiopian children living in dire poverty; not just financially insecure, but with inadequate access to vital long-term services like housing, sanitation and education.
Of the 36 million children in poverty, 34 million live in just three states: Oronia, Amhara and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR). In these three states an enormous 91% of children live in poverty, compared to just 18% of children in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The SNNPR is home to 8 million of these children. This year, in line with our commitment to helping the poorest of the poor, Global Care’s Christmas Appeal is focussed on a new project working in one of the poorest areas of one of the poorest districts in the SNNPR: Koshe.
Families in Koshe often go hungry. A combination of high population density, land shortages and climate shocks mean subsistence agriculture is an increasingly unreliable way of feeding your family. Yet families have few other options. Education is widely accepted as the most effective way of breaking the poverty cycle, yet in Koshe, children tend to start school late and drop out early. Their labour is needed now, to earn money for the family. No-one has a vision for education, perhaps because so few parents received an education themselves.
*Mati dropped out of education in the last year of primary school due to his family’s financial problems. He earns a living by labouring, and receives between four and ten per cent of the money from crops sold. But if the crops fail, he won’t be paid. The future is always uncertain. In his family of six, only one child, a boy, attends school. “I am not happy with my educational status,” says Mati. “I wish I could have continued.”
We want to change the story for families in Koshe. We’re starting by working with mums, using self-help groups to build confidence, skills and supportive relationships, before using microfinance to develop business initiatives. We want to challenge the culture which fails to value education AND provide alternative sources of income to reduce reliance on child labour.
A new four year programme working with 225 mums from three villages in Koshe started in September 2020. We want to raise £45,000 this Christmas, to fund this programme for the next couple of years..