Strengthening youth services in Ethiopia

Islamic Relief has built the capacity of youth services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a scheme to transform the lives of vulnerable children in one of the poorest countries on earth.

Ethiopia suffers from crippling poverty, with almost per cent of the population living below the poverty line (1). It is estimated that there are 4.5 million orphaned children in the country, almost a quarter of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS (2).

Tens of thousands of children are thought to live on the streets of Ethiopia’s capital city.

Addis Ababa is growing rapidly, and with it comes increased social problems including unemployment, begging, prostitution, and substance abuse.

Improving services for vulnerable children and young people

Islamic Relief has been providing orphans in the country with a regular allowance that covers their basic needs since 2005. In order to maximise the benefit of the sponsorship programme and achieve real change in the lives of the city’s vulnerable children, we have promoted a child friendly environment. Working with youth affairs offices, youth centres and youth centres, we also helped engage children in positive activities outside of school and raised awareness of HIV/Aids issues.

As part of this work, we have improved the capacity of one of Addis Ababa’s youth centres. Under the project, the centre – based in Addis Ketema Sub City – received resources such as tables, chairs, bookshelves and counters for its library.  We provided over 600 reference books for the young people to use, and renovated the toilet and washroom facilities.

The youth centres are now equipped to carry on improving the lives of some of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable children.


1) World Bank, 2011
2) UNICEF, 2012