Christian Aid Community Partnership

This year we are supporting a project in Ethiopia for our Harvest Appeal.  We are joining with churches across our deanery to raise £5000 over the next two years for a Christian Aid Community Partnership.  The European Community will add a further £25,000 to this amount. 

Community Partnerships are about linking communities together – in this case churches in Ashton Deanery are linking with communities in southern Ethiopia.  The money we raise will support a project to improve women and girls’ wellbeing in this area.  By improving their health, in particular by reducing teenage and unwanted pregnancies, by improving maternal health services and providing more midwifes, more women and girls will have access to an education, have a better chance to find work and be able to contribute more to their communities.  During the lifetime of the project we will receive regular updates and hear the stories of those people whose lives are being transformed by the work we are funding.

Christian Aid have provided us with some information about Ethiopia so that we can start to understand what life is like there.

Located in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is a beautiful country dominated by mountains with peaks of 4,000m and higher. Ethiopia has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations and is Africa’s second most populous country, with the majority of people living in rural areas. Despite significant economic gains and improvements in access to essential services like health and education, the country still faces major challenges such as food insecurity, cyclical disasters, population pressure, unemployment, disease and natural resource degradation.

Receiving an education remains out of reach for many young people in Ethiopia, especially those living in remote communities. Many schools are a long distance from communities. Because families cannot afford to pay for transport, often the only option is to walk which can be too tiring or dangerous for young children.

For poor families living in rural areas, earning an income by working on the land is essential for survival, so many young people stay at home to look after crops or animals. Also, whilst education is free, families struggle to afford the essentials their children need to participate in schooling, like uniforms, books and pencils. With so many barriers to getting to school, children do not have the opportunity to improve their future prospects through education, even though this is what their parents wish for. Many young women do not receive an education, which limits their employment prospects. Therefore, marrying early and starting a family at a young age is common.

Men and women have very defined roles in Ethiopia; women are generally responsible for domestic work and looking after the children, while men provide for their family and manage the finances. This impacts the younger generation as boys are sent to school while girls are kept at home to help with domestic chores. Though women make up more than half the population in Ethiopia, they are not given the opportunity to an equal share of the country’s economy. Women have limited prospects and more than 40% of girls marry before the age of fourteen when they are still children themselves. This means women are not able to achieve financial independence and instead become totally dependent on their husbands or male relatives. This dependency leads to a lack of power and control over their lives – the defining factor of poverty. Nationally, more than half of women report having no say in decision making at household level and domestic violence is a huge issue.

As of November 2015, the total raised by all the churches in the Partnership is £3163. 

You can find out more information in these fact sheets from Christian Aid: 

Ethiopia Factsheet

Healthier Lives for Women and Girls in Ethiopia Project Information