World Vision Ethiopia

Statement by Margaret Schuler, National Director, World Vision Ethiopia; On Love Harvest Event

Special guests and ladies and gentlemen.

First of all I would like to thank Dr. Shiferaw and the Love Harvest organizers for a great event.  Thank you also for the awards that were given to WV yesterday.  We very much appreciate the recognition.

Thank you also to Dr. Wess for such a moving and heartfelt story about his experience in Ethiopia. 

I am proud to be with you here today to speak about a topic that is very close to my heart and that I feel true passion for: to ensure that each and every child has a better life – in World Vision we call this ‘improved child wellbeing’ and it is the goal of everything we do.   

I have been with WV Ethiopia for a little over a year, but have worked with WV and other child-focused organizations for over 20 years (many of which have been in Ethiopia) and I am pleased to share with you today some of the work that WV does in Ethiopia – examples of how WV and other organizations work to improve the wellbeing of children.

A bit about World Vision. WV is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.

The vision of World Vision: For every child, life in all its fullness; for every heart, the will to make it so invokes a picture for me of a partnership between donors (large and small); international relief and development agencies such as World Vision; local governments; communities; and children themselves.  It is a partnership that brings hope to children in Ethiopia and around the world.  Motivated by our faith, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people.

In order to bring hope and improve the wellbeing of children in Ethiopia, World Vision works in over 80 districts, in both long term development contexts – integrated program areas known as the Area Development Program (ADP) and emergency settings such as Dolo Ado and Tongo refugee camps.  In Ethiopia issues that affect children and development of the solutions often come from communities through a process of community mobilization.  Yesterday it was noted that WV has 250,000 sponsored children (!!), but we plan to reach 3.5m children throughout Ethiopia through 2015.

Today, I’d like to highlight some areas of work that WV and its partners are focusing on - key areas for ensuring improved child wellbeing in Ethiopia:

WASH

  • Globally, 780 million people do not have access to clean, safe water; 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities.
  • Though there is progress in Ethiopia, still only 54% of hh have access to clean, safe water.  Even fewer have a sanitation facility.
  • In partnership with the GoE, other partners and communities, WV’s WASH program by 2015 will help 800,000 people gain access to clean, safe water and improved sanitation and hygiene.
  • Focus on hardware and software, and behavior change.

EDUCATION

  • Focus in Ethiopia on access to education – WV has supported this in its ADPs, constructing over 176 primary schools since 1986 around the country.
  • However, the focus is shifting  - in a recent report it was noted that early grade reading comprehension was extremely low, with more than 50% of children unable to answer a single simple comprehension question. 
  • WV’s focus is transforming into one that focuses on quality education and will be focusing its efforts on supporting the GOE with literacy programming; early childhood development; increasing community and parent engagement; increased child-friendly learning environment. 
  • Inclusive education to strengthen the GOE’s ability to integrate children with disabilities will be a strong focus for WV in the future.
  • Strong focus on ensuring girls’ education – PD approach.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

  • The GoE has prioritized maternal, newborn and child health in its Growth and Transformation Plan and WV is supporting it through…
  • Integrated child health program, focus on promoting skilled delivery. Reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.
  • Maternal, infant and young child feeding
  • For emergencies, CMAM integrated into the health system.  
  • Through WV’s Child Health Now Campaign, we will be working in 70 ADPs around the country to promote institutional delivery and engage with key stakeholders to do this. 

Child Protection

  • An example of WV’s work is its E-FACE (Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation) project funded by the Department of Labor in the United States.  
  • This project works to reduce child labor in three areas: Gamo Gofa and Wolaita zones (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State) and Gulele sub-city (Addis Ababa City Administration) – areas where there is a prevalence of child labor in traditional weaving and other labor sectors as well as the position of the areas along child trafficking routes.
  • The project targets about 20,000 children and 7,000 families with a primary focus on children engaged in and at-risk of involvement in traditional weaving and other hazardous works such as fishing, agriculture, domestic work, commercial sex work, daily labor.
  • Reducing root causes, by promoting household livelihoods work; promotion of decent work for youth ages 14-17; strengthening the capacity of national institutions to combat child labor; raising awareness.

Finally,

BUILDING RESILIENT HOUSEHOLDS

  • Reducing hunger and creating more resilient communities. A new initiative called Secure the Future.
  • Building resilience and reducing the impacts of climate change through restoration of forests environmental protection.
  • Strengthening economic development through links with micro-finance and savings activities; strengthening access to markets

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

  • WV responds to emergencies when they occur, both inside and outside of their ADPs.
  • WV has built its capacity to respond to refugee crises.
  • In partnership with the USG, provision of life-saving food where necessary.

WV works within all these sectors to influence the broader community’s awareness and engagement on childrens’ issues. We work with a network of partners to achieve our goals in Ethiopia, including GoE; faith based institutions; international organizations and local communities. By focusing our work on children, WV and its partners are helping to build a strong future for Ethiopia. One area we will be building our partnership is with something called Faith-based Forums….

Within all its work, WV uses a holistic approach that focuses on ensuring the wellbeing of the whole child, including physical and spiritual aspects. The truest measure of a child’s well-being is not found simply in growth charts or in literacy statistics. It shows when children have a light in their eyes, smiles on their faces, joy in their hearts and spirits overflowing with hope.

That’s why our work is focused on nurturing all aspects of a child’s wellbeing, including the spiritual dimension. Spiritual development is a journey of discovery for children as they grow in self-awareness and seek to learn their purpose in life. World Vision works with people of all faiths to help provide children the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.

Thank you for giving WV this opportunity today to speak.  I wish you all a good day, and God Bless You!