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Ethiopia, 16 May 2012: New report shines light on progress in child rights and what needs to be done next

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 16 May 2012 - The Government of Ethiopia together with the United Nations in Ethiopia launched a publication entitled “Investing in Boys and Girls in Ethiopia: Past, Present and Future”. It is the first such analysis by the Government and the UN since 1993.

The report suggests that following decades of difficulties, Ethiopian children have become part of a collective social transformation in the country. While under-five mortality rates were over 200 in 1970 and remained at that level in 1990, the figure has come down to less than 90 in the last five years. With more than 7,500 new primary schools added since 2005, the education sector has been able to close the gap in service delivery, and greatly increase access to primary education for children.

The health sector has also shown gains largely due to the health extension workers. Three years ago there were only around 200 community therapeutic feeding points, for example, today there are close to 10,000, saving the lives of thousands of children every year as the mortality statistics attest.

Underlying the progress is Ethiopia’s recent economic growth, which stands at an average of 11 percent annually. Coupled with social protection measures such as work guarantee schemes for underemployed rural poor, the phenomenon has led to a decrease in poverty head count from 44 percent in 2000 to 30 percent in 2010.

The report also notes the many challenges and opportunities towards the further realization of children's rights, as the country graduating into middle income status. Among them is the demographic youth bulge, particularly the growing number of unemployed youth.

The production of the report involved several ministries working together under the joint coordination of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, The Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs and the UN. It will feed into the dialogue leading up to the national poverty reduction plan - Growth and Transformation Plan. It identifies capacity gaps in the society, including those who are the duty bearers in closing of those gaps.

Each chapter lists action points that, if successfully implemented, will result in an increasing pace of realization of children’s rights. The action plan will also serve as the baseline for the committee of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in its work of monitoring child rights progress.

To stimulate dialogue among the youth, there is a plan  to organize debate sessions around the contents of the situation analysis in universities, organize essay competitions in schools and produce radio and TV shows based on each chapter. An Amharic version of the report is also being developed to stimulate a wider dialogue on the situation of girls and boys in Ethiopia.

The report was released in the presence of H.E Mr. Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, H.E Mrs. Zenebu Tadesse, Minister of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Mr. Eugene Owusu, UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Ted Chaiban, Country Representative of UNICEF. Also present at the launch were other invited dignitaries, ministries, UN agencies, donors, members of civil society and the media.

For more information, please contact:

Ato Haji Ibsa, Director, Public Relations and Information Directorate, MoFED
Tel: +251 11 552015, Mobile: +251 911 212768,
email: or

Alexandra (Sacha) Westerbeek, Communication Manager,
Media and External Relation Section, UNICEF, Tel: +251 11 518 4039, Mobile: +251 911 255109, email:

Wossen Mulatu, Communication Officer, Media and External Relation Section, UNICEF
Tel: +251 115 184028, Mobile: +251 911 308483, email:



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