World Vision Ethiopia closed its Area Programme (AP) in Jille Tumuga district and handed it over to the community and the local government. After implementing life-changing multisectoral development activities for the last 22 years, the AP phased out on September 30, 2023. The closure ceremony was held on October 3, 2023, in Senbete town, situated in the Oromo Special Zone of the Amhara Regional State, 197 kilometres (122 miles) north of Addis Ababa.
Opening the AP closure ceremony, Mr. Molbeto Tadesse, the Northeast Programme Hub Lead, noted, “Through the generous support of American sponsors and donors, Jille Tumuga Area Programme has profoundly impacted the lives of more than one hundred thousand people. We are able to create school opportunities, health care, clean water, created awareness on harmful traditional practices and improved livelihoods that ensure child wellbeing.”
The major technical projects implemented, among others, include education, child sponsorship, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, child protection and participation, integrated livelihood and nutrition security, and HIV/AIDS. In its two-decade-long developmental journey, the Jille Tumuga AP, with an outlay of more than US$15,818,211, has profoundly impacted the lives and livelihoods of 113,453 target programme participants (32,745 girls and 30,730 boys).
The education sector intervention has enhanced access, equity, and quality of education and increased girls' participation. It has constructed schools, equipped them with the required school materials, and trained teachers. As a result, the percentage of boys’ and girls’ school enrollment increased from 32 per cent in 2016 to 73 per cent in 2023. The proportion of children who can read with comprehension also increased by 15 per cent from 21 per cent in 2016.
Through the Integrated Livelihood and Nutrition Security project, the AP contributed to the improved nutritional status of 14,261 children and 5,455 pregnant and lactating women. It organised 2,208 households into saving groups and trained them on how to save money, take loans, and start businesses to meet their children's basic needs and cover their school expenses. The proportion of households with year-round access to sufficient food for family needs rose from 26.5 per cent in 2016 to 45.3 per cent in 2020. The programme intervention also contributed to decreasing the prevalence of stunting from 49 per cent to 36.9 per cent in 2023.
The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) project intervention has played an important role in curbing the community’s challenge. The AP and partners’ intervention contributed to the increase in the proportion of households using an improved water source from 10 per cent in 2016 to 48.6 per cent in 2020. The percentage of the population using improved sanitation facilities also increased from 31.9 per cent in 2016 to 45.2 per cent in 2020.
Harmful traditional practices such as abduction, child marriage, and rape were rampant in the area. They also lacked institutions to care for and protect the rights of children. The AP, through its Community Engagement and Sponsorship project, contributed to an increment in the proportion of parents and caregivers who feel that their community is safe for children from 37.57 per cent in 2016 to 51.57 per cent in 2020. The project was able to harness the benefits of collaborative engagement as community-based and faith-based organisations, women, and government sector structures at the grassroots level were able to get involved throughout the project life cycle.
The Jille Tumuga district administrator, Mr. Ali Seid, expressed his gratitude to World Vision Ethiopia for guaranteeing a better future for children and helping them live up to their full potential. He also stressed the need for a well-thought-out plan to ensure the sustainability of the changes, emphasising the noticeable impacts over the past 22 years. “World Vision came here soon after the district was established, and its presence was felt in all the development sectors gradually. That is why all the positive changes witnessed in sectors such as education, health, water and sanitation, agriculture, and child protection and participation are evidence of their successful intervention.”
Children are the real witnesses to the impressive change that World Vision has registered in the area. The 13-year-old Siham says, "We, the children of Jille Tumuga, are very happy that we have the chance to grow up in a community where World Vision works. Thanks to their incredible support in our school and communities throughout the years, we children are empowered and able to participate in decisions that affect us. We girls also enjoy a life free from the different harmful traditional practices and inappropriate social beliefs towards females our older sisters had to face before World Vision’s intervention.”
By Tesfagebriel Tekola, Communication Coordinator, World Vision Ethiopia