The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia signed a grant agreement today with UNFPA and UNICEF amounting to NOK 100 million (USD 11.3 million) in support of ‘Joint Programme on a Rights-based Approach to Adolescent and Youth Development in Ethiopia (2018-2021)’.
The UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme aims at building the capacity of adolescents and youth aged 10-24 through the provision of quality information and services on sexual and reproductive health, HIV, gender-based violence and harmful practices.
It also seeks to strengthen key duty bearers including government bureaus and ministries, youth-run organizations, parents, and community members to respond more systematically and sustainably to the growing and unmet needs of vulnerable adolescents and youth in Ethiopia.
The programme is planned to be implemented over a period of four years in 20 selected woredas in Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, SNNP, and Tigray Regions as well as the Addis Ababa City Administration in Ethiopia, with the potential for scale-up country-wide.
During the grant signing ceremony, Merete Lundemo, Ambassador of the Royal Norwegian Embassy to Ethiopia, said “Investing in the realization of SRH rights means enabling women and girls plan their pregnancies, complete their education and participate in the labour market. This way they contribute to achieving other development goals, another reason to support those rights at a time when they are under pressure.”
This joint programme will be implemented in partnership with 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.
The joint programme aims to improve the capacity of government and non-governmental institutions as well as youth-run organizations to fulfil the demand of adolescents and youths in the selected woredas and regions. It will also empower communities and parents to help ensure a protective and enabling environment which includes protecting them against genderbased violence, harmful practices and violation of their reproductive rights.
Bettina Maas, UNFPA Country Representative, said during the event “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.”
“This partnership, in Phase III of the programme, 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.” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia.
In line with a rights-based programming approach and the ‘Leave No one behind’ agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals, disadvantaged adolescents and youth are recognized as key actors in their own development, actively utilizing sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention and protection services rather than as passive recipients of information, skills, and services.
Building on the experiences gained from the previous phases of the programme, Phase III of the Joint Programme will support the strengthening of protection, welfare, education and health systems, maximising results and efficiencies for more effective and sustainable services for sexual and reproductive health, protection from HIV/AIDS, violence and harmful practices so that adolescents and youth can ultimately make safe and healthy decisions for themselves.