With about a quarter of its 109.2 million population (24%) living in poverty, Ethiopia is hard hit by the economic hardship resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Most affected are the families and children that were already economically vulnerable. As part of our COVID-19 response, Terre des Hommes focuses on supporting the most needy communities in the areas where we work. Cushioning the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis doubles as a prevention approach to keep children safe from trafficking, sexual and other forms of exploitation.
In Bahir Dar, the largest city of the Amhara Region, Terre des Hommes implements a project addressing child sexual exploitation. The three neighbourhoods within the city where we concentrate on, are also the focus areas for our COVID-19 response. Together with the local authorities, our partner FSCE has first identified the most needy households in a rapid assessment. These 337 families have been supported with food basics, such as oil and flour. In addition, the administrators and social workers of these neighbourhoods have been provided with precaution essentials, such as hand sanitisers and face masks.
In our Paths to Safer Childhood programme, Terre des Hommes covers the whole area from Gondar town to Metema Yohannes and Gende Wuha towns at the border with Sudan, the so-called northwestern migration corridor in Amhara Region. Focusing on the factors that push children into unsafe migration, improving access to and quality of education in the children’s home areas is key in our work. Upon request of the local authorities, our partners ANPPCAN-Ethiopia and MSD have assisted the most needy pupils within the project’s scope with hygiene items such as soap, face masks, hand sanitisers and alcohol. The dissemination of these materials included teaching the 1,052 children about the hygiene routines needed to protect themselves from COVID-19 infection.