HI works in Ethiopia to improve access for vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, to humanitarian services. The organisation also aims to improve people with disabilities' inclusion in society; making sure that children with disabilities can go to school and that adults with disabilities are able to work and participate in community life
A blind girl learns Braille at school | © M. Feltner / Handicap International
HI is currently working to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people in Ethiopia and to ensure inclusion of refugees and internally displaced persons.
For example, the organisation provides stimulation physiotherapy for malnourished babies and children in refugee camps in the Gambella region, to stimulate their growth and reduce the risk of developmental delay. HI also conducts house-to_house visits to identify girls not attending school, followed by mentoring and family support to allow them to access an education.
The second largest country in terms of population in Africa, Ethiopia has 100 million inhabitants. Its demographic weight has been increased by the constant influx of refugees whose essential needs are barely met.
The country hosts people displaced by cross-border movements due to drought, conflict, political upheaval and civil wars in neighbouring countries (Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan). There are also large numbers of internally displaced persons, initially forced to move due to drought. This number has constantly increased due to the ongoing conflicts in neighbouring countries and the food crisis which has affected the region since 2011. According to the United Nations, the country will continue to take in large numbers of asylum seekers from neighbouring countries due to its geographic location and the weather events and geopolitical events in the region.
Over the last 15 years, Ethiopia has undergone significant economic and social changes and has recorded some of the highest growth rates in the world-over 10 % in some years. However, Ethiopia’s Human Development Index (HDI) and its relative ranking have not moved significantly during the past decade. Health services are limited, notably those dedicated to people with disabilities. Ethiopia is also one of the Sub-Saharan African countries the worst affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Number of Handicap International staff members: 60
Date the programme opened: 1986