Debre Berhan is located at 130km from Addis Ababa. It is a capital town of North Shoa Zone in Amhara Region with an estimated population size of 94,829 out of which 50,259 (53%) are female. Many ex-soldiers and displaced people from the North have settled in the town following the protracted war to overthrow derg regime where most of them are female headed who lost their husbands in the war. The town is also known for its local alcoholic drink (Areki) product.
Consequently, these family members especially girls have been exposed to various types of malpractices and abuses such as sexual abuse in the form of commercial sex, rape and exploitation, etc. The situation is also very traumatic to boys where they have been trafficked for labour. Due to the existence of problems within the aforementioned families, boys also consciously moved to urban places to attain better lives, nevertheless, they often exposed to miserable street lives. The practices of abuse have also exposed many children to be raped and forced into unsafe sex which have been resulted for unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, STDs and various chronic emotional and physical problems.
Extreme poverty coupled with low level of awareness within the community aggravates the degree of child abuse and exploitation. As the town is in mid-way between Addis Ababa and other regions, thus it has been serving as a point of transitory and a place of where hundreds of children abused through their transitions and destinations. Hence, the situation demands to devise integrated community based child protection program to alleviate the multi-faceted problems of the abused and vulnerable children.
Emmanuel Development Association has been implementing integrated community based projects in the area since 1997: and some of the major projects are:
This is to ensure that both boys and girls have equal opportunities to access quality education and uses different strategies.
This project takes a holistic approach to improve early grade reading. Because deficiency in reading and writing skills in the lower grades is a hindrance to quality of education in Ethiopia, with negative impact extended to both secondary and tertiary education. To improve the students reading skills, EDA by partnering with various stakeholders including the school community, government, private sector and Debra Berhan teachers training college. This project has been benefiting:
- 1121 ECD Center children
- 2250 adults/parents in 6 literacy centers
- 90 school leaders
- 338 PTA and KETB
- 3750 out of school children aged 4 to 6.
- 1250 out of school children aged 6-17
- 173 teachers and facilitators
- 3534 primary school children who are currently in the schools
- one district education offices
Strengthening and sustaining community based child protection system with the involvement of community group and government institution to create protective environment for children
Prevent 1300 children on the move from different forms of abuse and exploitation in all kebeles of the towns and the surrounding communities
School/child led clubs capacity building
-Provide technical and material support for 3 school child protection club to disseminate awareness for school community and the surrounding people in the target town.
-Multi-Support Child centered and participation system will be established in the targeted eight towns.
Integrated multi-spectral child protection
•Strength the functional and integrated community based child protection system through enhancing the participation of children, families, CBOs and key government stakeholders so as to protect children from various types of abuse.
•The total number of the project beneficiaries are18470 (7388 male and 11082 females)
Highly Vulnerable Children support
•6436 highly vulnerable children have been supported through integrated services including education, health, nutrition, legal support, shelter and care and Psycho social services
Youth livelihood project
•Improving the relevance of Basic education through practical participatory training focusing on financial literacy and important concepts for operating successful businesses among the youth community.
•Master trainers have gained capacity building as trainers.
•Youth workers have gained knowledge and skills on youth entrepreneurship including financial literacy and savings.
•The youth beneficiaries has given the opportunity to apply for a business start-up grant and over the course of the project 300 youth received capital for business start-up based on an assessment criteria developed by EDA.