Norway supports the health, protection and empowerment of adolescents and youth in Ethiopia

7 December 2018
The agreement was signed on 22 November in Addis Ababa, by (from left) Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia; Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy to Ethiopia; Hiwot Hailu, State Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs of Ethiopia; and UNFPA Country Representative Bettina Maas. © UNICEF Ethiopia

Norway has committed $11.3 million to the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on a Rights-based Approach to Adolescent and Youth Development in Ethiopia.

The programme, for which UNFPA serves as administrative agent, aims to provide adolescents and youth (ages 10-24) with quality information and services on sexual and reproductive health, HIV, gender-based violence and harmful practices. It also seeks to improve the capacity of government, non-governmental institutions and youth-run organizations to address the needs of adolescents and youth, while empowering communities and parents to create a protective and enabling environment.

“The programme will empower young girls and boys to be able to make informed decisions for themselves and their families through the provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services,” said UNFPA Country Representative Bettina Maas at the signing ceremony, held on 22 November in Addis Ababa.

“This partnership,” said UNICEF Country Representative Gillian Mellsop, “will invest in the most at-risk adolescents and young people, by providing them with the knowledge, skills, services and opportunities needed to make a successful transition to adulthood and ensure their active participation in the prevention of violence, HIV, child marriage, FGM, and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health.” 

The new funding will support Phase III of the joint programme, which will build on experiences from previous phases to support the strengthening of protection, welfare, education and health systems, in order to make sexual and reproductive health and protection services more effective and sustainable. 

Phase III will be implemented over four years (2018-2021) in 20 selected districts in the Afar; Amhara; Gambella; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples; and Tigray Regions as well as the Addis Ababa City Administration in Ethiopia, with the potential for scale-up country-wide. Implementing partners include key sector ministries and regional bureaus (Education, Health, Labour and Social Affairs, and Women, Children and Youth), the Federal and Regional HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Offices, and civil society organizations.

In line with a rights-based programming approach and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development focus on leaving no one behind, the programme recognizes disadvantaged adolescents and youth as key actors in their own – and their country’s – development, rather than as passive recipients of information, skills and services. 

“Investing in the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights means enabling women and girls to plan their pregnancies, complete their education and participate in the labour market,” said Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy to Ethiopia.

“This way, they contribute to achieving other development goals – another reason to support those rights at a time when they are under pressure,” she added.