J7 Summit 2015 Motivating Youth to Speak Up

By Beakal Fasil

The J7 Youth Summit takes place in Berlin, Germany, 6-14 May.BERLIN, GERMANY – The J 7 Summit 2015 is an opportunity for 50 young people from all over the world to come together to discuss and express their ideas on the most pressing issues for the upcoming G7 negotiations in June. I was one of the lucky ones to have the privilege of participating in this summit as the Ethiopia representative during my internship at UNICEF Ethiopia. Topics such as: protecting our planet (protection of the marine and resource efficiency); building a healthy future for all (antibiotic resistance and fighting pandemics, neglected and poverty related diseases); empowering women and girls (empowering women in self-employment and vocational training); fair economy (retail and supply chain standards) and ACT NOW (youth involvement) were discussed in detail.

In relation to the issue of neglected and poverty related diseases, suggestions were made with an objective of eradicating poverty related diseases. Creating public awareness was one of the suggestions put forward. With this, there should be an increase in public education as well as in funding. These donations can purchase vaccinations and fund infrastructural solutions. Other suggestions by the youth of the world include increasing pharmaceutical research and developing new drugs, providing education for all and creating an organization with the explicit goal of eradicating neglected diseases.

After presenting our papers to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, we had a lively discussion, during which she stated that leaders of developed countries should also help and work with developing countries to eradicate poverty related diseases once and for all. The Chancellor also mentioned that everyone has a right to a full and healthy life, regardless of where they come from. Chancellor Angela Merkel was very impressed with the suggestions we made and acknowledged that the whole point of the J7 Summit was to include youth in decision making.

Delegates of the J7 Youth Summit develop recommendations around key global issues to bring forward to the G7 summit 2015.We also had the opportunity of going to all G7 countries embassies and the European Union to present our position papers so as to enable us to work together and see what can be done to involve more youth. One way of doing this was to make use of different social media interfaces such as Facebook and Twitter to better keep in contact, involve other youth to take part and spread our position papers to the rest of the world. We, the youth, have also promised to follow up on the G7 Summit and see if our suggestions have been included.

But the J7 Summit wasn’t only about work; it was also a chance for us to see historical places in Berlin such as Brandenburg Gate and the Wall of Berlin. We had the pleasure of listening to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and took part in different sport activities to keep ourselves active and refreshed. Personally, this experience has been an unforgettable journey. It gives me so much hope to see so many people and organizations willing to listen and work with the youth.

I am grateful to UNICEF Ethiopia for choosing me to represent my country at the summit.

 

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Drilling Deep to Keep Children’s Teeth and Bones Protected in Ethiopia

By Samuel Godfrey

Amanuel Fiseha 13 years old one of the residents of Boset woreda who is affected by Fluoride water.

Amanuel Fiseha 13 years old one of the residents of Boset woreda, Wellenchiti, Ethiopia, has stained teeth, as the result of drinking water that contains high level of fluoride.. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Tesfaye.

Many people living in the Rift Valley area of Ethiopia have stained teeth, as the result of drinking water that contains high level of fluoride. The yellowing of the teeth is one of the physical symptoms of consuming high levels of fluoride. Other symptoms include skeletal fluorosis, where children’s legs and arms are deformed resulting in physical disabilities. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that drinking water should contain less than 1.5 milligram of fluoride per litre to ensure that teeth and bones are protected.

Fluoride gets into the water supply from the geological rock formations of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Studies undertaken by the British Geological Survey have recorded levels of fluoride as high as 25 milligrams per litre in the area. These excess levels of fluoride are affecting more than 14 million women and children from Afar, Oromia and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), as well as parts of the Ethiopian Somali Region.

To solve the problem of excess fluoride, numerous water treatment technologies have been piloted by the Government of Ethiopia and International Agencies. These have resulted in varying levels of success. In the past, UNICEF has supported the mitigation of fluoride through de-fluoridation techniques in affected woredas, mainly in Oromia and SNNPR. UNICEF has also supported two studies, entitled ‘Study of fluoride and fluorosis in Ethiopia with recommendations on appropriate de-fluoridation technologies’ in 2005 and ‘Spatial distribution of fluoride in the Ethiopian Rift and its adjacent highlands’ in 2011.

Deep well drilling in Abomsa town Wolenchiti woreda of Oromia region

Deep well drilling in Abomsa town Wolenchiti woreda of Oromia region ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015

With the financial support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), UNICEF has developed a new approach that involves the ‘below ground’ treatment of fluoride. This approach is a permanent hydrogeological solution, which requires study of both the geological formations in which the fluoride occurs as well as the use of advanced remote sensing and groundwater drilling techniques.

Most deep wells that have been drilled in the Rift Valley have a maximum depth of 200 metres. This is due to both the occurrence of productive shallow aquifers (underground layers of water-bearing permeable rocks) and the limitations of available deep well drilling machines. UNICEF proposed to drill ‘deeper’ and to access aquifers that are 250, 300 or even 400 metres below ground level.

In April 2015 , UNICEF drilled a deep well in Welenchiti Town, a first for the Oromia region, to a depth of 259 metres and applied a phased casing technique to block off the shallow aquifers that are contaminated with fluoride. The result is a highly productive deep well with a yield of 11 litres per second – almost 40 thousand litres per hour (or 4 large water tankers per hour) – and a fluoride level of 0.9 milligrams per litre.

As a result of the planned intervention in Welenchiti Town and three surrounding villages, there will be approximately 45,870 beneficiaries by the year 2025. The project is expected to provide acceptable fluoride levels, with far greater health benefits than current supplies, which have resulted in chronic disease that affect all sections of the population, including children, with dental and skeletal fluorosis.

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Access to education for 1 million children improved through 10-year UNICEF and ING partnership

10 YEAR UNICEF – ING PARTNERSHIPNEW YORK/ADDIS ABABA, 21 April 2015–UNICEF and ING, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services corporation, today announced the renewal of a decade-long partnership that to date has provided access to better quality education for more than 1 million of the world’s hardest-to-reach children.

During the past 10 years, ING has inspired its employees and customers worldwide to raise funds for UNICEF, helping to improve children’s access to education in remote communities in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Nepal and Zambia.

In Ethiopia, 458 Alternative Basic Education Centres for pastoralist children have been built, benefiting over 50,000 children. Andover 3,400 facilitators (teachers from the community) have been trained to apply a ‘childfriendly’ teaching method.

“ING shares UNICEF’s deep commitment to improving the lives and well-being of children and young people around the world,” said Koos Timmermans, Member and Vice-Chairman, Management Board Banking, ING. “We are united by a conviction that education is a fundamental building block for the development of children and their societies. We are proud that with the support from our customers and employees, the ING–UNICEF partnership has positively affected the lives of 1 million disadvantaged children.”

The partnership has trained 17,000 teachers and has been instrumental in the development of new ways to reach marginalised children. In 2006, ING was one of the first investors to support Alternative Basic Education Centres, providing much needed educational opportunities for pastoralist children in Ethiopia. The strategy has now been fully integrated into the country’s education system. In Nepal, ING was also the first investor to support the Adolescent Development and Participation programme in 2013, helping to equip young people with social and financial skills.

The second phase of the partnership will shift its focus to adolescents. While the world has made remarkable progress for millions of children over the past decades – reducing child mortality, increasing the number of children enrolled in primary school, and expanding access to health care services – far too many of the 1.2 billion adolescents worldwide have been left behind.

“UNICEF is grateful to ING – and especially to its employees and customers – for their commitment to improving children’s lives and futures,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “We are excited that our renewed partnership with ING will focus on reaching adolescents and helping them develop the knowledge and skills they need to build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and the societies in which they live.”

For the next three years, the renewed partnership aims to reach 335,000 adolescents in six countries – Indonesia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Nepal, the Philippines and Zambia –enabling them to develop into socially and financially empowered adults and full members of society.

10 YEAR UNICEF – ING PARTNERSHIPBehind these figures are the individual stories of teachers and children like Mohamed, a young Ethiopian man who herded goats until he was 11 years old and was given the opportunity to be one of the first children to enrol in an ING-supported Alternative Basic Education Centre. “The school building was made of sticks and we shared one book between five students and were sitting on rocks,” said Mohamed, who is now 19 years old, remembering his first experiences at school.“So much has changed since then! Right now, the children in my community have their classes in a real school building; they have tables and chairs and every child has a textbook. Most importantly, parents really understand now why children should go to school.”

In 2005, UNICEF faced a challenge in providing basic education for pastoralist children in Ethiopia. Young pastoralists, who make up a significant part of Ethiopia’s population of children, grow up in areas far from primary schools. But with ING’s support, UNICEF and its partners initiated a new concept called Alternative Basic Education Centres (ABEC) to provide education for these children – an approach that turned out to be the first step towards a new, successful education model.

These alternative learning centres introduced education into the pastoralist lifestyle so that the school calendar and the time schedule were adapted to the daily chores of the children who take care of the livestock. This approach turned out to be so successful that, over the years, 458 centres have been built in Afar, Somali, SNNPR and Oromia regions of Ethiopia.

Furthermore, the government raised the standard of these alternative schools to meet that of regular primary schools. As a result, many of the schools have now been formalised or will be formalised in the future; teachers receive professional training and pastoralist children can continue their education in formal secondary school.

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UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa

UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa

UNICEF Ethiopia staff gather to dedicate a minute of silence to colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

UNICEF Ethiopia staff gather to dedicate a minute of silence to colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa.

Below is UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Gillian Mellsop’s message during the occasion.

“It is with great sorrow that I’ve asked you join me and reflect together on what has happened to our UNICEF colleagues, other UN staff and fellow Ethiopians during the last couple of days.

By now I believe you have been informed about the loss of four of our colleagues, killed yesterday in an attack on a vehicle in which they were riding in Garowe, Somalia. In addition, four other colleagues have been critically injured.

The IED (improvised explosive device) attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest house to the office, normally a three minute drive….

The horrific attack on our UNICEF colleagues is an assault not only on them but on the people, the women and children they served.

This tragic loss again underlines the bravery of our staff across the globe and also the risks we face in the most difficult locations where we work, including in Ethiopia.

Our immediate thoughts are with the families of the staff members who were killed and with those who were injured.  Our colleagues dedicated their lives to working for the children of Somalia. We are here together this morning, to mourn their loss and hope for the full recovery of the injured.

I know many of us have friends and colleagues working in Somalia and some of us may know the victims personally – which makes our pain even more profound.

UNICEF representative to Ethiopia, Gillian Mellsop speaks to staff as UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa

UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Gillian Mellsop speaks to staff as UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

Colleagues, It has been a week of shock and sadness for many. Last week, an Ethiopian national was killed during the xenophobic or ‘afrophobia’ attacks which went rampant in Durban, South Africa.

People across the world have also been shocked by the atrocious massacre of some 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants by Islamic State in Libya.

Let us each dedicate a few minutes this morning to think and pray for our colleagues in Somalia; those who lost their lives in the xenophobic attacks; and the brutal killing in Libya – and think about their children, husbands, wives, parents and friends they left behind.

Ethiopia will observe three days of national mourning starting Wednesday, with flags lowered to half-staff mast to mourn what it described as “atrocities committed against our nationals in Libya and South Africa.”

Colleagues, let me reassure you, we are condemning these atrocities, not because those killed are Ethiopian or our colleagues. We – as individuals cannot allow harming or killing of the innocent, regardless gender, nationality, race or religion.

Together, as a UNICEF family we should stand strong against this and instil a respectful environment where we can work and live in harmony.”

Chair Person, Eastern and Southern Africa staff association, Awoke Moges speaks to staff as UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa

Chair Person, Eastern and Southern Africa Staff Association, Awoke Moges speaks to staff as UNICEF Ethiopia mourns colleagues who tragically lost their lives in Somalia and Ethiopians killed in Libya and South Africa ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

Awoke Moges, Chair Person, UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa staff association added “This week will be one of the darkest period for UNICEF family, and Ethiopians families and friends who lost their beloved ones. Our thoughts goes with all of them.

Eastern  and Southern Africa Regional staff association will be in solidarity with all the other country office’s during this difficult period of the year.”

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Donors appreciative of the joint UNFPA/UNICEF programme to stop FGM/C in Afar Region

By Wossen Mulatu

Trust fund donors visit of the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme acceleration of change to eliminate FGM/C

Visit by Donors to the Social mobilisation interventions to end FGM/C in Wasero Village, Sabure Kebele, Afar Region. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Mulatu

26 MARCH, AFAR REGION, ETHIOPIA – Donors to the UNFPA/UNICEF programme to stop female genital mutilation and cutting in Ethiopia’s Afar region carried out a visit in March to see its progress.

Accompanied by staff from UNFPA and UNICEF, the donors from the governments of Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg visited programmes run by implementing partner agencies, including the Afar Bureau of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (BoWCYA), Afar Pastoralist Development Association (ADPA) and the Rohi Weddu Pastoralist Development Association.

Work under the programme is being delivered in two phases – the first ran from 2008-2013 and saw interventions launched in six woredas (districts) out of a total of 32 in the Afar region. The second phase began last year and will run until 2017, covering three more woredas and including advocacy engagement at a federal level.

The implementing partners have responsibility for different aspects of the programme – the regional BoWCYA is responsible for the programme’s overall co-ordination and legal implementation, APDA focuses on reproductive health issues and Rohi Weddu aims to deliver wider community mobilisation and facilitating community dialogue.

In the last five years, the partners, with technical and financial support from UNFPA and UNICEF, have achieved impressive results.

The first phase of the project is running in 74 kebeles (sub-districts) of the six woredas of Zone Three of the region, with a total population of more than 400,000 people. These are: Awash Fentale, Gelaelo (Burimodaytu), Amibara, Gewane, Argoba, and Dulesa.

According to Zahra Humed Ali, Head of the Bureau of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Afar is the first Ethiopian region to issue a proclamation on the abandonment of FGM/C.

Trust fund donors visit of the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme acceleration of change to eliminate FGM/C

Group photo of adolescent girls from Aasero village, Sabure Kebele, Awash District in Afar region representing the new generation of uncut girls in the Region. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Mulatu

“Community conversations facilitated by influential leaders in the community including kebele administrators, women’s associations and Traditional Birth Attendants is making a significant impact on the road to the abandonment of FGM/C in the region and religious leaders are leading the movement,” she said.

Eleven woredas in Afar have already abandoned FGM/C, with six doing so with support from the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme.

According to Valerie Browning, Programme Coordinator of Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), the majority of women of reproductive age in Afar have undergone FGM/C and as a result commonly experience urinary retention, kidney disease and problems with menstruation and sexual intercourse.

The APDA is working to identify and support women affected by FGM/C through its work in the region.

The Barbra May Maternity Hospital in Mille is one health institution in the Afar Region to include FGM/C intervention as part of its maternal and health child services. The hospital opened in 2011 and is run by the APDA, treating many conditions related to FGM/C, like opening up infibulations, as well as more routine obstetric procedures.

Asmelash Woldemaraim, Executive Director of Rohi Weddu, says the UNFPA/UNICEF programme has dramatically raised awareness on FGM/C.

This has brought about a rapid decline in the prevalence of the practice, with 39 per cent of women affected in 2013, compared with 90 per cent in 2008.

Trust fund donors visit of the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme acceleration of change to eliminate FGM/C

Momina Gida, 17 years old in Aasero village, Sabure Kebele, Awash District in Afar region represents the new generation of uncut girls in the Region. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Mulatu

Recognising the influential nature of the Afar social and clan structures, the UNFPA/UNICEF joint programme focuses on changing the attitudes of community leaders by creating a core group of advocates for change.

The group consists of senior regional government officials, religious and clan leaders, elders and FGM/C practitioners. The aim is to change the attitudes of people within this group, prompting community dialogue to bring about a consensus within the wider community.

Data collected at the sub-district and regional level show that more than 7,000 girls in the six districts of Zone Three of the Afar region have remained uncut since the start of the programme.

Following the visit, the donors acknowledged the commitment of the Afar regional government, as well as the two UN agencies running the joint programme, to bringing about a significant reduction of the rate of FGM/C in the region.

They agreed on the need to increase funding, as resources are stretched, even though the programme is delivering results and highlighted the importance of reaching less accessible areas.

This is a particular challenge, given the pastoralist nature of the community, with 90 per cent of livelihoods being reliant on subsistence livestock production. The region’s harsh climate is another challenge.

Finally, the donors expressed their belief that breaking down taboos and educating the community about the problems posed by FGM/C will bring about positive change – the hope is that once the majority can be convinced that this practice is wrong, the message will spread among more communities and end it for good.

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How Ethiopia managed to supply water to 48 million people

Originally posted on UNICEF Connect - UNICEF BLOG:

The Ebo clean water project benefits 27, 000 people in seven villages including 15,000 school children with clean water in their school and households. Young girls now can attend school regularly without spending more time looking for water. The Ebo clean water project benefits 27, 000 people in seven villages including 15,000 school children, with clean water in their school and households. Young girls now can attend school regularly without spending more time looking for water. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Bizuwerk

Today, we’re celebrating something special in Ethiopia – reaching the water Goal 7c of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). What does this mean? Put simply, it means 57 percent of the country’s population now is drinking water from an improved water supply such as a tap or hand pump, rather than from an open stream. By drinking water from an improved water supply, Ethiopia has greatly improved the health of many women and children and has managed to cut under 5 child mortality by two-thirds and significantly reduce child stunting.

And why is it such a big achievement? Well in the base year of the MDGs (1990), only 6.9 million…

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Ethiopia meets MDG 7c target for drinking water supply

Ethiopia meets MDG target for drinking water

Group photo with all partners who helped achieve Ethiopia meet MDG target for drinking water. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

23 March 2015, ADDIS ABABA: Today, the Government of Ethiopia announced a remarkable achievement in the Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector as it met Target 10 of the MDG 7c  for access to drinking water supply. The announcement was made in the presence of H.E Dr Mulatu Teshome, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Engineer Wondimu Tekle, State Minister on behalf of His Excellency the Minister Ato Alemayehu Tegenu, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Senior Government Officials, Ambassadors, UN representatives, WASH partners and members of the media.

Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on the occasion said. “I would like to congratulate you of this great achievement of meeting the Water Supply MDG target and ensure you of the commitment of Ethiopian Government to make realistic its responsibility of providing access to safe water supply and sanitation services at appropriate service level to all its citizens. I call upon all of you to continue joining hands with the Government on reaching to the unreached”.

Ethiopia meets MDG on clean water

The 2015 assessment report by the UNICEF/WHO Global Joint Monitoring Programme for Water and Sanitation (JMP) indicates that Ethiopia has met the target of 57 per cent[1] of the population using safe drinking water and has attained the target by halving the number of people without access to safe water since 1990.

H.E Engineer Wondimu Tekle, State Minister on behalf of His Excellency Ato Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy said, “Thanks to the great leadership of the government, the diligent effort of WASH actors in particular and Ethiopian communities at large for reaching the have-nots in water supply; the country has achieved MDG 7c target”.

“Today’s event represents a great milestone to us, development partners, civil society, NGO, bilateral, multilateral, public and private sector professionals as we have joined hands to make this achievement a reality.  It is also a historic moment, where Ethiopia demonstrates its political commitment to resolving challenges in the Water and Sanitation Sector,” he added.

Ethiopia has embarked on an ambitious Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) which placed water supply at the core of all future development agenda. The Government’s heavy investment in the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) fund combined with increased donor contribution enabled the rapid acceleration of water supply coverage in many parts of the country. In addition, Ethiopia has developed a ONEWASH programme designed to ensure universal access to WASH services by 2015. The plan has a budget of US$ 2.4 billion and involves the collective contribution of public, private, NGO and donor investments.

Ethiopia meets MDG target for drinking water

Ms Leila Pakkala, Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa, speaking on behalf of the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) during the celebration event of Ethiopia’s MDG achievement on drinking water supply. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Sewunet

 

Ms Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa, speaking on behalf of the Joint Monitoring Programme said, “In 1990 only 6 million people had access safe water. Today, over 55 million people access clean and safe water. The progress that has been made has been impressive, to say the least. But we know that the progress we are celebrating today comes as a result of many years of consistent investment, time and resources at all levels. It has not been an easy achievement”.

The JMP estimates for Ethiopia were updated following a joint mission to Addis Ababa from 26-27 November 2014 and include data from the most recent nationally representative surveys. The current JMP estimates show that in the 1990 baseline year access to drinking water was 14 per cent and access to sanitation was 3 per cent. This means that Ethiopia’s MDG target for drinking water was 57 per cent and for sanitation was 52 per cent. The current JMP estimates show that by 2015 access to improved drinking water has increased to 57 per cent and access to improved sanitation has increased to 28 per cent.

Accordingly to the JMP, the total population reached with safe water between 1990 and 2015 is 48 million. There are still 42 million Ethiopians without access to safe water.  Of the 42 million Ethiopians who are not using improved water supplies, an estimated 33 million people are residing in rural areas and peri urban communities and 9 million are living within towns and cities.

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