A smiling young mother lies in a hospital bed and holds her newborn baby on her chest
VSO/Ginny Lattul

Ethiopia

We've worked in Ethiopia since 1995, building healthy communities and strengthening inclusive education systems.

22,681

In 2017-18, we supported 22,681 children to benefit from a quality inclusive education.

40%

Health facilities where we established or strengthened a NICU have seen a 40% average reduction in institutional mortality.

2,000+

Since 2018, we've trained over 2,000 teachers to deliver psychosocial support for children impacted by conflict.

Healthy communities

A midwife and a VSO volunteer help a mother to position her newborn baby comfortably
VSO/Peter Caton

Professional volunteers are building the capacity of health workers by sharing specialist skills.

Our health programme in Ethiopia focuses on improving maternal, neonatal and child heath through two complementary strands: improving access to quality health services, and increasing the demand for such services.

Over the past six years, we’ve either established or improved 47 neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), 12 newborn corners (NBCs), four high dependency units (HDUs) and four maternity waiting homes. Alongside providing this essential infrastructure and equipment, we’ve built the capacity of doctors and other health workers through training, coaching and mentoring delivered by professional volunteers.

Through awareness-raising campaigns and community outreach activities, run in collaboration with the Ethiopian Government and other development partners, we’ve successfully driven increased demand for health services, with hospital admission rates doubling in some instances. In the rural Tigray region, we identified 102 mothers who had suffered pelvic organ prolapse and obstetrics fistula, supporting them not only to receive essential medical care, but also to be successfully reintegrated into their community.

Reducing newborn deaths

Inclusive education

Children sing and clap happily in a busy classroom
VSO/Jasper Kasbergen

We're working to make quality education accessible for children in even the most underserved regions.

Our work in inclusive education focuses on reaching pre-primary and primary age children in some of Ethiopia’s most underserved regions. We aim to increase participation and improve the learning outcomes of the most marginalised children, by addressing the system-level barriers that can hold them back.

By building the capacity of teacher training colleges, supporting the development of culturally-appropriate resources, and training teachers in inclusive learning principles, we’re driving improvements in school attendance, quality and equity of education, and children’s learning outcomes. In 2017/18 we reached over 3,000 education professionals, in turn impacting almost 23,000 children.

Education in emergencies

In partnership with UNICEF, we're enhancing the capacity of teachers to provide psychosocial support to children impacted by internal conflict. By creating safe and supportive school environments, we’re working to build the resilience of children in conflict-affected areas, and enhance existing protection mechanisms by establishing child-friendly spaces.

Since 2018, we’ve trained over 2,000 teachers and reached 1,440 community representatives in the Oromia region through monthly awareness-raising interventions focusing on child protection and risk factors.

Research from our psychsocial support project

Contact us

We work with a number of partners including the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and UNICEF.

If you are interested in supporting our work, or if you have another query, get in touch:

Office address: VSO Ethiopia, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City, Woreda 03 HNO 161/01 (behind the Canadian Embassy)
Postal address: PO Box 23531, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Tel: (+251) 11 384 8276
Email: vsoeth@ethionet.et

Volunteer with us

We are always looking for more skilled specialists.

Find out more about volunteering with us in Ethiopia


Find out more about our work in:

maternal health in Sierra Leone
VSO/Peter Caton

Maternal and newborn health

Improving access to quality healthcare for mothers and babies. 

16-year-old Nirmala smiles with her friend, who is carrying a pile of schoolbooks.

Education system strengthening

Developing inclusive education systems that leave no child behind.

Two young Rohingya boys sit on the floor of a child-friendly centre in the Cox's Bazar camp, drawing with colouring pencils

Education in emergencies

Building resilient education systems in fragile spaces.