Latest update

Ethiopia is currently experiencing instability due to continued armed conflict in the Tigray and Amhara regions of the country. Combined with the pandemic, as well as flooding and locust invasions in 2020, these crises have caused extreme food shortages and loss of wages for many families. The humanitarian crisis in this country has worsened.

Some child development centres in Ethiopia are operating differently during this time. Some centres continue to meet with children in small groups or at their homes. Many have now resumed normal program activities for registered children. Since the beginning of the pandemic, local workers in Ethiopia have delivered more than 1,370,000 food packs and 831,000 hygiene kits to families in poverty.

You can watch the video update below to learn more about the current situation in Ethiopia.

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Country update

Crisis Reports from Ethiopia

  • update icon

    Conflict in Ethiopia 15 Dec, 2021

    The situation

    Escalating violence and instability in parts of Ethiopia are affecting the ministry of Compassion and our church partners. The conflict began in November 2020 in the Tigray region and has since spread into other areas of the country.

    As the conflict in Ethiopia has developed, some areas of the country have become inaccessible to Compassion because of the shutdown of communications, transport and banking. This has forced us to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our partnerships with several local church partners in these areas.

    Please be assured that if your sponsored child is directly impacted by the conflict or these centre suspensions, we will communicate this to you directly when updates are available.

    New information

    For those child development centres in Ethiopia that have been less impacted by the conflict, we are encouraging flexibility in how our programs are delivered. It’s critical they are able to focus on the specific and evolving needs of the children, youth and families they serve. The delivery of gifts and letters to Ethiopia is paused at this time. Read More about the conflict in Ethiopia.

    Prayer

    Please join us in praying for an end to the conflict and violence in Ethiopia. Pray for peace to prevail and that communication and the delivery of aid will be restored. Pray for God’s protection to be over the children, families, staff and local churches we serve in Ethiopia.

How is Compassion currently operating in Ethiopia?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Centres are operating at a variety of capacities depending on their region and local guidelines. The majority are allowing children to return in small groups for activities and classes and some have even been able to fully resume normal program activities. In some regions, centres remain closed for safety. Staff members continue to make home visits and phone calls to families. They are diligently checking on children and looking for signs of abuse and providing trauma counselling as needed.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Ethiopia, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    The delivery of gifts is temporarily paused in Ethiopia to allow staff to prioritise the safety and unqiue needs of children and families during the current conflict. Staff members may be given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Ethiopia who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would continue to heal Fuad, so he can return home from the hospital.
  • Pray for comfort and encouragement for Aser and his family as they learn and adapt to his paralysis.
  • Pray that Shege would be able to recover quickly from her abdominal operation and resume normal activity soon.
  • Please pray for wisdom and guidance for the local staff as they navigate and decide how to reopen projects safely and keep people healthy.
  • Healing and recovery for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and continued protection against any additional cases.
  • God’s peace and provision would bring unity and economic stability throughout the country.
  • Pray for provision and job opportunities for the caregivers and parents as they seek to provide for their families.
  • Pray for an end to the current conflict in the northern regions of the country. Pray for God's protection over the children, families and staff who are affected.
Newborn support in Ethiopia

Newborn support in Ethiopia

The excitement and anticipation of having a second baby was slowly deflated and replaced by fear for Aynalem and Tadesse. When COVID-19 caused both Aynalem and Tadesse to lose their income as quarantine was put in place in Ethiopia, they were terrified they wouldn’t be able to provide for their child.   Read more open_in_new

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in Ethiopia remain temporarily closed to group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Ethiopia

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 11 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours on Saturdays.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend for eight hours every Saturday. They visit three to five days a week during school breaks.
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Compassion Program Activities in Ethiopia

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Compassion assisted children in Ethiopia typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Ethiopia.

9:00am - A time of prayer and devotion.

9:30am - Spiritual lessons in which children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Snack and social time. Light snacks are usually provided at the centre, including bread, tea and crackers. Every three months, supplementary grain and cooking oil is provided to families. If a child shows evidence of malnutrition, centre staff will seek the advice of a doctor and provide additional food and nutritional support accordingly.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene tips. Example topics include how to prevent malaria and HIV transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Students can elect vocational training skills depending on their area of interest, and often receive professional certification in the skill they are learning. Children in Ethiopia are offered additional classes in topics such as work ethics, study skills and entrepreneurship.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Ethiopia

401

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world, with a rich and proud history. It is the largest and most populated nation in the Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia has played a key role in Africa’s development. It was one of the first to sign the Charter of the United Nations and was a powerful symbol of African freedom and sovereignty during an era of widespread colonisation.

Yet millions of Ethiopians still live in grinding poverty.

Decades of political instability, ongoing conflict with Eritrea, and devastating famines in the late 20th century severely curtailed its progress.

Much of Ethiopia’s economy is based on agriculture, yet deforestation and changing climate factors leave it vulnerable to drought.

Diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis continue to claim thousands of lives every year, and the most vulnerable are the youngest children.

Ethiopia is also home to a large population of displaced people, many from farming towns whose crops have failed in recent years, as well as refugees from surrounding nations, including South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

More than one in three children across the country suffer from malnutrition, which affects every part of life and makes them more vulnerable to other diseases. The nation still has one of the world’s highest mortality rates for children under the age of five.

Christianity became Ethiopia’s state religion in the fourth century, and the Church remains a beacon of hope in local communities across the country.

In the midst of difficult circumstances, local churches are giving the children the practical, spiritual and emotional support they need to thrive.

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