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Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010


This report focuses on CARE Ethiopia‟s impact group resource poor urban and peri-
urban female1 youth vulnerable to HIV and AIDS and specifically on the
underlying causes of poverty assessment and analysis for the impact group,
conducted in 2009. This analysis is the starting point for the design of a program that
aims to have a long-term, sustainable impact on addressing urban youth poverty. The
selection of this impact group recognizes that Ethiopia‟s is predominantly a young
population, and that as in many developing countries, there is rapid urban and peri-urban
growth. This means that there are increasing numbers of youth growing up in urban and
peri-urban areas. Whilst CARE Ethiopia‟s past interventions and focus has largely been in
rural areas, where around 80% of Ethiopia‟s population live, we recognize that trends in
urbanization, in rural-urban migration and in rural environmental degradation and
potentially, climate change, mean that increasingly, youth populations will be
concentrated in urban areas. This presents both opportunities and challenges for the
development of Ethiopia that need to be recognized and faced up to.

The underlying causes of poverty and vulnerability (UCPV) assessment and analysis,
conducted in 2009 aimed to learn more about the current situation of urban and peri-
urban youth – who are the poorest youth in urban areas, what are they vulnerable to
and why, are there differences between the situation of youth in urban or peri-urban
areas, what are the challenges they face? This report describes the findings of the
assessment. Following the assessment, CARE Ethiopia recognized that the impact group
is still probably too wide a population for us realistically to be able to program for, and
that we need to further define the impact group. A first step has been to focus on
female youth ie. the program will work primarily, but not exclusively, with resource-
poor urban and peri-urban female youth. This decision has been made based on a
number of considerations: i) the relative vulnerability of female youth, as highlighted in
our assessment, other studies and various vulnerability statistics ii) to align this impact
group with CARE Ethiopia‟s strategic focus on women and girls‟ empowerment, and
with the other impact groups which explicitly target women and girls, and iii) the strong
belief that by working with and through urban/ peri-urban female youth the „multiplier
effect‟ i.e. the development of female youth‟s families and future children, will lead to a
greater impact on the future development of Ethiopia.

Other strategic issues being considered in relation to the impact group‟s definition at
this point include:
     What should be the age range for „youth‟? We are currently using the
        government‟s definition of 15 to 29 years, but we also appreciate that many of
        the girls who migrate to urban areas, and who end up being amongst the most
        vulnerable, fall within the 10 to 14 age group (see below).

  Note that the initial wording for the impact group was „resource poor urban and peri-urban youth‟ but a
decision was made at a senior staff meeting and subsequent Program Design Team meetings in Feb and
March 2010 to focus on female youth. The reasons are outlined elsewhere in this report but include:
statistics show young girls and women‟s relative vulnerability to HIV, to un/ under-employment and other
manifestations of poverty for urban youth; alignment with CARE‟s strategic focus on women‟s
empowerment and other programs that focus on women and girls; gaps in programming deliberately,
specifically targeted at female youth, especially most vulnerable groups.
  Chronically food insecure rural women and pastoralist girls

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

       What is our definition of „urban‟ and „peri-urban‟ and does this agree with the
        government‟s definition? Should we work only with „urban‟ youth given that over
        a 10 to 15 year time period, many currently „peri-urban‟ areas will become
        „urban‟ (at the same time as many currently „rural‟ areas will become „peri-

We recognize that there are many gaps in the analysis, and that whilst moving forward
with program design, we need to do additional desk and probably field work, to further
strengthen our analysis for the impact group. This process is being led by CARE
Ethiopia‟s program design team for youth and is still ongoing.

CARE‟s Unifying Framework3
CARE‟s Unifying Framework (UF) brings together a number of different programming
concepts and principles into one framework that can help to understand and analyze the
structural causes of poverty and vulnerability – causes that are often interlinked and
reinforce each other. The framework recognizes that poverty and vulnerability can be
manifested in human conditions – (lack of) access to resources and services and
livelihoods‟ opportunities, social positions – social relationships and social/ cultural
norms that discriminate or support inequality, and the enabling environment – the
political, and institutional formal and non formal structures and systems that enable or
hinder rights fulfillment and access to justice. CARE believes that unless we understand
each of these different, often interrelated aspects of poverty, we will not design
programs that can bring real, lasting change. The UF also recognizes that there is a
„hierarchy‟ of causes of poverty and vulnerability: there are immediate causes, for
example due to a sudden disaster or shock; there are intermediate causes, such as a
lack of access to assets, income, resources or services that can help withstand shocks;
and there are underlying or root causes that underpin poverty and vulnerability such
as institutionalized discrimination or societal attitudes and norms that sustain abuse or
misuse of power and prevent certain groups from claiming and fulfilling their rights.


The pilot UCPV assessment was completed in Bahr Dar town (pop x), the capital of
Amhara region in February/ March 2009. A follow up assessment took place in April
2009 in Hamusit and Alem Bir towns – „peri-urban areas‟ some x km from Bahr Dar,
also in Amhara region. The second assessment aimed to build on the Bahr Dar findings
and identify the differences and/or similarities of poverty/vulnerability between urban
and peri-urban areas. The objectives of the assessment were:
    1) To deepen our understanding of the causes of poverty and vulnerability of urban
        and peri-urban youth and to identify sub-set populations of the most vulnerable
    2) To identify the potential target groups4 and stakeholders5 that we need to work
        with to achieve change for urban and peri-urban youth.

  There are obvious links with other frameworks such as the CARE Strategic Impact Inquiry (SSI) „agency,
relationships, structure‟ empowerment framework.
  In CARE‟s program, target groups are groups of people, for example parents, traditional leaders or
specific government offices, that may be targeted by the program since they are crucial to achieving an

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

    3) To generate lessons for CARE Ethiopia and other country offices about how to
       undertake similar assessments and analyses in future.

The assessment process included:
    Desk review conducted at national level to review the literature, identify
       policies and programs affecting urban and peri-urban youth and begin to identify
       key stakeholders.
    Task Force established with 15 CARE Ethiopia cross-project, multi-disciplinary
       staff to lead the process of planning and conducting the assessments
    Key questions and tools developed. Key questions were translated into
       Amharic. Tools included: Vulnerability analysis, Power analysis, Institutional
       analysis, Lifeline case study
    3-day training conducted for participating staff (including CARE Ethiopia and
       partner staff) on PRA approaches, key questions and tools.
    5-day pilot assessment conducted in Bahr Dar (on the urban/ peri-urban youth
       impact group).

Based on the pilot lessons, the field assessment adopted the following process:
    Current and potential strategic partners joined the assessment teams in each
    Stakeholders meeting held with representatives from government and other
       agencies working with the impact group to introduce the program approach, the
       impact group and the purpose of the assessment, to plan the assessment and
       inform the field work through stakeholders‟ perspectives.
    Conducted key informant interviews with stakeholders and reviewed
       relevant local policies, studies, documents etc.
    Refined the key questions for the field work and developed field guidelines
       for the assessment teams, including facilitators‟ guide, tools and data analysis
    Conducted field work using combination of FGDs, KIIs and case stories
    Analysed data through team reflection in the field using the unifying framework
       to organize findings
    Held feedback meetings on the initial findings of the assessments and analysis.
       This was done in Bahr Dar a few months after the assessment with CARE staff,
       government and NGO/ INGO participants.

Field work teams and methodology
Following the Bahr Dar pilot assessment, the assessments in Hamusit and Alem Bir were
conducted by an interdisciplinary team, which included CARE Ethiopia UCPV task force
members, CARE Ethiopia field staff and community facilitators from different projects
and disciplines and staff from peer and partner organizations. The aim was not to
conduct a statistically valid study, as in a baseline assessment, but to focus on collecting
qualitative information about the situation of urban and peri-urban youth – including

impact on youth UCPVs. They may benefit from the program but the program‟s success will not be
measured based on the benefit to this group.
  Stakeholders are defined in the program approach as groups of people that may affect or be affected by the
program either positively or negatively, for example government offices or policy makers. However, the
program‟s success or otherwise will not be measured based on its impact on this group.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

their human conditions, social positions and the legal and institutional frameworks and
structures that affect them.

The urban/ peri-urban youth assessment was led by the Senior Governance Advisor in
CARE‟s Program Development and Quality Support (PDQS unit). Partner staff included
staff from Child Fund, staff from the Women‟s Affairs Bureau in Bahr Dar and two
female youth Peer Educators from CARE‟s Getting Ahead project in Bahr Dar who had
also participated in the pilot assessment.

The methodology for the Bahr Dar and Hamusit and Alem Bir assessments included:
    Focus group discussions (FDGs) and case studies with: women and female youth,
      male youth, parents of youth, commercial sex workers, daily laborers, youth
      living with HIV, and chat chewers
    Key informant interviews (KIIs) with staff from HAPCO, Bureau of Women‟s
      Affairs, Bureau of Youth and Sport, Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, and
      kebele micro-finance

In Bahr Dar, 9 FGDs and 13 KIIs were held with 103 respondents (59 female and 44
male) in three kebeles and in Hamusit and Alem Bir, 6 FDGs and 5 KIIs were conducted
with a total of 53 respondents (27 female and 26 male) Two stakeholders‟ meetings
were also conducted in Hamusit and Alembir towns. Most of the analysis was done by
the assessment teams „in the field‟ using the unifying framework as a guide. Each day the
teams identified emerging issues, issues that needed cross-checking and/or gaps in
information to be followed up the next day, and decided on the FGDs or KIIs needed to
triangulate information. The next day‟s findings were then used to review and deepen
the analysis.

Study Limitations
The study started off with a very broad remit – purporting to look at all the potential
vulnerable groups of urban/ peri-urban youth, both male and female, and all the potential
underlying causes of poverty and vulnerability e.g. related to livelihoods, social status and
relationships, the institutional environment and so on of all these groups. This led us to
identify a large number of vulnerable sub-groups, both male and female, and we did not
have time to look in detail at the situation/ stories of all the groups; for example, the
team did talk to commercial sex workers, but not to domestic workers; we talked to
male daily laborers, but not to female daily laborers; we did not talk to „brokers‟ or to
employers of commercial sex workers. Some of the findings were not adequately
disaggregated e.g. between male and female youth or between rural youth who have
migrated to urban areas and „native‟ urban youth. We had planned to conduct case
stories where we „traced‟ migrant youth back to their home areas but this was not done
and the team did not look in detail at the linkages between rural, peri-urban and urban
areas, particularly with regard to rural-urban migration of youth. Further analysis also
probably needs to be done to understand in more detail the differences between the
poverty drivers for peri-urban and urban youth, and it is arguable whether findings from
Bahr Dar and those peri-urban areas are representative of other urban and peri-urban
settings such as Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Dukam etc. Although we have not yet done
field work in other areas, a review of the literature and discussions with other
stakeholders suggests that at least some of the findings may be generally applicable.
Finally, the original desk review did not adequately highlight all of the relevant literature,

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

particularly the research done by Population Council – this information would have been
useful in refining the impact group and key questions prior to the assessment,

3.       FINDINGS


Urban youth demographics
Ethiopia has an estimated population of almost 79 million and a population growth rate
of 2.6% per year. Although it remains a predominantly rural country, with over 80% of
the population still living in rural areas and largely dependent on agriculture, the urban
population is growing rapidly – at a rate of 4% per year . Towns across the country that
were relatively small, rural centers 10 or 15 years ago are now fast developing peri-
urban areas. Similar with many other developing countries in Africa, Ethiopia‟s
population as a whole is a young population. The CSA census in Ethiopia puts the
population under 15 at around 33.2 million, approximately 45% of the total population
and the youth population aged 15-29, at around 20.9 million, approximately 28% of
the total population. Of the total youth population (15-29), the urban youth
population numbers around 4.7 million, approximately 22% of the total.

The reasons for the high population growth rates overall include a sharp reduction in
the under-5 mortality rate over the past 20 years coupled with a still-high total fertility
rate. In addition, there is still a high rate of early marriage and early childbearing in
Ethiopia – some 40% of women surveyed in 2005 had had their first child below the age
of 18 and about 16% of women between 15 and 19 years are either pregnant or already
mothers . However, there are signs of changing trends in relation to fertility particularly
in Addis Ababa, and amongst young women and urban women generally. For example:
     Addis Ababa shows a relatively higher reduction in the total fertility rate than
     Younger women aged 20-24 are marrying later than women who were the same
       age in the 1980s
     Urban women, aged 20-49 are marrying later than rural women (19.4 years
       compared to 16.1 years)
     Contraceptive prevalence in urban areas is much higher than in rural areas (47%
       compared to 11%)
     Young women and men aged 15-19 envision a much smaller ideal family size than
       those over 25 (3.3 children vs. 5.1 for women and 3.8 children vs. 5.8 for men)

  Various sources cited in Ringheim, Teller and Sines (2009), Ethiopia at a crossroads: Demography, gender
and development; Policy Brief, Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
  Central Statistical Agency (CSA); 2007 Census data.
  Under 5 mortality has fallen from 217 to 123 deaths per 1,000 live births between the late 1980s and 2002-
2004; Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2005 cited in PRB Policy Brief.
  Total fertility rate is the estimated number of children a women would have during her lifetime assuming
current age-specific birth rates. The rate is estimated to have dropped from 6.4 to 5.4 between the late 1980s
and 2002-2004.; Ibid
  Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey 2005, cited in PRB Policy Brief.
  Ringheim, Teller and Sines (2009), Ethiopia at a crossroads: Demography, gender and development; Policy Brief,
Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Whilst countries can enjoy a „demographic dividend‟ or „bonus‟ when a relatively higher
population of working-age adults (15 to 59) is able to support relatively smaller
populations of children and the elderly, this will only happen if most of the working-age
population is actually economically active . If the youth population is not economically
productive e.g. is unskilled and unemployed, this can threaten rather than enhance
national stability and economic security. In Ethiopia, a significant percentage of the urban
and peri-urban youth population is living in poverty and is vulnerable to a number of
negative social, economic, environmental, health and educational outcomes.

Definitions of „youth‟
The National Youth Policy of Ethiopia defines youth as people between ages 15 and 29
years old (MYSC 2004). In terms of defining the age range of a broad youth impact
group, it seems to make sense for CARE Ethiopia to adopt the policy definition of youth
as “young people, male and female between the ages of 15 and 29”. Using this
age definition, in Amhara region specifically, where the UCPV assessment was
conducted, around 28% of the population is between 15 and 29 years old, whilst the
region‟s urban youth population is around 872,000 (52% of whom are female) .

During the UCPV assessment in Bahr Dar town, male youth, parents and youth
organizations put youth in the age bracket from 18 to 35 years. However, female youth
described themselves as being „young women‟ or „youth‟ as opposed to „girls‟ from the
age of 15. There may be many reasons for the difference in perception; for example,
girls are generally transitioning into puberty between 12 and 15 and are no longer seen
as girls; girls are generally expected to take on household and other „adult‟
responsibilities from a younger age than boys; related to that, girls generally have less
leisure and recreation time than boys and are possibly expected to „grow up‟ earlier.
Similarly, male „youthfulness‟ may continue for longer than females, especially if the
young man is not married, or is unemployed .

Therefore, whilst we may use the broad age definition it is important to understand the
social norms and perceptions that define „youthfulness‟ and determine when someone
has transitioned from a „child‟ to a „youth‟ or from a „youth‟ to an „adult‟. For example, in
addition to the age-based classification, parents and young people in Bahr Dar also
described a „youth‟ as someone who is „lacking clarity‟, „doesn‟t have a clear vision of the
future‟ or „is drawn to temporary attractions‟. For female youth in particular, non-age
related and socially constructed definitions of „youth‟ for example related to her physical
development or „marriageability‟, may be as important or more important than age in
determining who are the most vulnerable and marginalized sub-groups of young people
that should be CARE Ethiopia‟s „impact group‟.
Based on a CARE Ethiopia assessment of rural adolescent girls and a review of various
Population Council studies of adolescent girls in urban areas there is a suggestion that

     CSA (2007) population census data.
  Based on comments by Rosa Singer. In Sierra Leone, for example, men may be described as „youth‟ well into their
30s as that society‟s definition of youth relates to their social and economic status rather than their age.
    Based on comments by Rosa Singer and the „Adolescent Girls in Rural, South Gondar: A situational
exploration of sexual-reproductive health and economic livelihood‟ study by same.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

adolescent youth (10-19), and particularly early adolescents (10-14), should be
considered as a particularly vulnerable sub-category of vulnerable youth. This might
mean extending the age group for CARE Ethiopia‟s impact population to begin at around
10 years of age and possibly reducing the „top‟ age of the range down from 29 years. A
Population Council study of adolescent girls in low income and slum areas of Addis
Ababa, Bahr Dar and Gondar found that early adolescent (10 to 14 years old) out of
school girls are highly vulnerable; the vast majority (95% of those sampled) are living
away from their parents and are socially isolated, most are migrants who have never
been to school and most are working as child domestic workers. The study suggests that
these girls are „arguably at high risk of abuse and exploitation, including sexual
exploitation, and may end up in sex work‟ and are in need of focused, targeted support.

The UCPV assessment did not disaggregate youth by age beyond the broad 15 to 29
years age range. Based on this and other Population Council studies cited below, we may
need to consider expanding the definition and target youth group beyond the „age-based‟
policy definition.


Despite continuing growth in the economy, 35% of Ethiopia‟s population still lives on less
that USD1.25 per day. In recent years, urban poverty in Ethiopia, defined as the
percentage of the urban population living below the poverty line, has been growing at a
faster rate than rural poverty. According to Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development (MoFED) data, in 1999/2000 the percentage of the urban population living
in poverty was 37%, whilst rural poverty stood at 45%. Between 1995/96 and 1999/2000,
the level of urban poverty increased by 11.1% while rural poverty declined by 4.2% and
in 1999/ 2000, it was estimated that urban poverty was growing at a rate of between 5
and 6% per annum . The trend is apparent across the country; over the same period
(1995-2000) urban poverty increased in seven of the country‟s 11 regions, with the
highest percentage increase in Gambella (57.4%) followed by Dire Dawa (34.6%), Tigray
(32.8%), Oromia (30.1%), Addis Ababa (20.7%), Harar (20.3%) and Somali (15.3%). In
Amhara region, the Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) Youth Study, states that
59% of urban youth have no source of income.

Based on the UCPV assessments in Bahr Dar, Alem Bir and Hamusit, as well as on the
desk review and other literature, common manifestations of poverty and vulnerability of
urban and peri-urban resource-poor youth include: food insecurity; poor housing and

   Population Council, Pathfinder and Center for Global Development
   Ferede and Erulkar (2009); Adolescent Girls in Urban Ethiopia: Vulnerability and Opportunity;
Population Council, Ethiopia, August 2009.
   Ringheim, Teller and Sines (2009), Ethiopia at a crossroads: Demography, gender and development;
Policy Brief, Population Reference Bureau (PRB).
   Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) (2002). Poverty Profile of Ethiopia. Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia and MoFED (2002) Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP),
both cited in ICMC desk review on urban/ peri-urban youth for CARE Ethiopia.
   Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED) (2002), Sustainable development and poverty
reduction programme’ (SDPRP). Addis Ababa, Ethiopia cited in ICMC desk review on urban/ peri-urban
youth for CARE Ethiopia.
     ANRS Youth Study (both urban and rural), BoFED, 2007

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

sanitation; poor access to health, education, legal and other services; lack of ownership
of personal and/or household assets; unemployment/ under-employment/ harmful
employment; low or unstable income sources; relatively high HIV prevalence; addiction
to alcohol, chat or other drugs; a high rate of illiteracy; exposure to violence generally,
as well as gender based violence; social stigma, discrimination and/ or social isolation;
and a relatively low participation in social and/ or political activities. Some of the main
manifestations identified during the UCPV assessment are described below:

Unemployment, irregular/low income/harmful employment
UCPV assessment respondents in Bahr Dar associated youth poverty with being
unemployed or having a low income. They described unemployed people and those with
a low income as people without regular, paid employment and/or having an income level
that was not enough to ensure food security (described as having an adequate or healthy
diet), to cover medical or education costs or to pay for house rent. The FGD
respondents, including parents and youth, included commercial sex workers,
domestic workers and daily laborers as being amongst the poorest youth based on
the irregularity of their income/ low income. Also during the Bahr Dar assessment, some
of the young people living with HIV that the team spoke to categorized themselves
amongst the poorest youth, again based on food insecurity, poor/ insecure housing and
poor health; they have no security of tenure and fear being evicted when they fall ill,
they cannot afford to eat properly or rent adequate accommodation and these living
conditions keep them in a vicious circle of poor health and poverty.

Poverty was not just associated with a young person‟s individual situation – poor youth
were also defined as young people from families with low income. This included
„migrant‟ youth from poor rural families as well as „native‟ youth from poor urban
families whose income is based on petty trading, such as vegetable or injera sales,
tailoring, selling talla, baking bread etc.

Youth FGDs in Hamusit and Alem Bir identified various reasons for youth
unemployment including: limited access to education by youth from low income families
(and therefore poor educational qualifications), their geographic location (rural/ peri-
urban, relatively remote, lacking in employment opportunities), lack of support from
their families, lack of marketable skills to seek employment and lack of capital to initiate
self employment (capital includes liquid assets-money and fixed assets-land). Limited
employment opportunities in rural areas was one of the „push‟ factors identified
during the UCPV assessments leading to youth migration to urban and peri-urban areas.
Many youth from rural woredas in South Gondar (such as Farta and Estie) migrate to
peri-urban areas such as Hamusit and Alem Bir, or on to Gondar or Bahr Dar looking
for work. Whilst resource-poor male youth may migrate to towns or other parts of the
country to engage in manual labor or join the military, poor female youth often migrate
to find employment as domestic workers, work in bars and restaurants, or to find
manual labour (see 3.4 below). UCPV respondents also suggested that landlessness and
limited off-farm productive opportunities for youth in rural areas are contributing
factors for rural-urban migration.

Linked to the above, youth respondents in the UCPV suggested that poor urban youth
lack the capital or other assets to be able to access credit or start up businesses and
do not have the technical or business skills necessary to engage in income
generating activities. Private micro-finance institutions generally require capital, or a

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

guarantor, which poor youth do not have and although government micro-financing
services aim to target the poorest youth, these cannot meet the demand. Opportunities
to gain technical and entrepreneurial skills to engage in IGAs are limited and services are
not tailored to the circumstances of vulnerable youth (e.g. CSWs, PLWH, domestic
workers). Some of the youth FGDs in Bahr Dar also suggested that access to such
services to some extent depends on political affiliation.

Follow up reference:
Serneels, P (2007); The Nature of Unemployment in Urban Ethiopia – this is An IDEAS
study for the Center for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University – it discusses
the nature of male youth unemployment in urban Ethiopia

Illiteracy/ Poor education
The Bahr Dar, Alem Bir and Hamusit UCPV male and female youth FGD respondents
also associated poverty with being uneducated or poorly educated. They identified the
poor quality of their education as directly leading to unemployment, a lack of skills,
poverty and vulnerability. The youth respondents said that the poor quality of education
in some urban/ peri-urban schools is because schools lack resources, teachers lack skills,
there are too many students and not enough teachers, and that school principals and
teachers are not responsive to students‟ concerns. The same respondents, both male
and female, mentioned a general lack of encouragement from their families for them to
continue their education.

Low availability of secondary education in rural areas means that many young people are
forced to migrate to urban and peri-urban areas to continue their education. Economic
pressure means that many families cannot afford to have their children board or rent
accommodation in towns. At the same time, there is pressure on youth from poor rural
families to work for pay rather than continue at school and children who have started
school late and/ or have had to repeat school years may be reluctant to go back to
school when they would be joining a much younger peer group.

Exposure to violence
The UCPV assessments highlighted GBV in as an issue affecting primarily female youth.
Male youth mentioned female‟s vulnerability to GBV, but did not raise GBV or violence
generally as something to which they themselves were particularly vulnerable. Various
commentators on the UCPV analysis so far have suggested that we should investigate
further how GBV may affect young boys and men, and this could be done in the next
stage of the analysis, as part of deepening our understanding of this issue generally.
Various studies suggest that exposure to violence, including gender-based violence is one
of the manifestations of vulnerability for urban and peri-urban youth. For example, youth
FGDs in Bahr Dar and Hamusit/ Alem Bir suggested that girls who have migrated to
towns to attend secondary school and are living in shared accommodation are
particularly vulnerable to GBV. A 2008 study on violence against schoolgirls reported
psychological violence and abuse, mugging and sexual harassment as being amongst the
most common forms of violence against girls on the way to and from school . The study

   Rosa Singer, „Adolescent Girls in Rural, South Gondar: A situational exploration of sexual-reproductive
health and economic livelihood‟, CARE Ethiopia, 2009.
   A Study on violence against girls in primary schools and its impacts on girls‟ education in Ethiopia (May
2008), Save the Children Denmark, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Women‟s Affairs

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

reports Amhara region as having the highest rate of sexual harassment of schoolgirls,
mainly committed by non-schoolboys (e.g. jobless youth), unmarried men and married
men, and identifies this as particularly an urban problem.

Discussions with UCPV assessment respondents and with the legal support organization
Actions Professions‟ Association for People (APAP) in Bahr Dar, which supports women
affected by GBV, described most youth migrants from rural areas as falling into the 15 -
25 age group. Among this section of youth, APAP reported females aged from 15 to 20
years old as the most vulnerable to rape, labour abuse (usually as domestic workers) and
psychological problems. APAP receive around 15 reported cases of GBV against women
per month, whilst the local police reported an average of three cases per month, in Bahr
Dar town. APAP suggested that there is relatively poor enforcement of GBV laws. Social
norms discourage young women from reporting GBV and families would rather cover
up the crime and hide either the perpetrator or the victim than face the „shame‟ of
police visits or court appearances. Some youth respondents also felt there are
inconsistencies in the application of the law, with outcomes dependent on the attitudes
of law enforcement officials. These services are least accessible to youth such as
domestic workers, who seldom have the social support or encouragement, or financial
resources to access justice.

High risk of HIV and AIDS
According to an Amhara National Regional State (ANRS) Women‟s study the HIV/AIDS
prevalence rate in Amhara region is 15.5% for urban areas and 5.6% for rural areas,
significantly higher than the national average of 12.6% and 3% respectively. Women are
most affected, with a reported 8.3% prevalence rate in 2008 compared to men‟s 6.4% .
A Population Council study on adolescents in low income and slum areas of Addis
Ababa states that “the HIV epidemic in Ethiopia is increasingly urban and female with
nearly 8% of urban females living with HIV, compared to 2% prevalence among urban
males and less than 1% infection among rural Ethiopians”. Differential infection rates
are particularly extreme among younger age groups – for example, „among the 15 to 19
year old age group, for every HIV positive male there are seven HIV positive
females‟ .

The HIV-AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) office in Hamusit mentioned a
lack of life skills training and information as one factor leading to exposure to HIV/AIDS
in both male and female youth especially within the age bracket 15-29. However, they
mentioned that vulnerability is magnified in female youth due to the fact that male youths
can be reached relatively easily and encouraged to participate in various life skills and
awareness trainings, whereas female youth are less easily accessible in public domains
and as a result have a lower level of awareness and information. Most vulnerable
females, including domestic workers and commercial sex workers are also notoriously
„hard to reach‟ populations, with domestic workers in particular working long hours
with little free time or time to socialize. As in the FGDs with youth, the HAPCO

   Insert ref; ANRS Women‟s Study, BoFED 1997 EC i.e. 2004? Correct?
   CSA (2005) cited in Erulkar and Mekbib (2007); Invisible and vulnerable: Adolescent domestic workers
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, December 2007; 2(3): 246-256
   Ferede and Erulkar (2009); Adolescent Girls in Urban Ethiopia: Vulnerability and Opportunity;
Population Council, Ethiopia, August 2009.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

representative highlighted female youth who have migrated from rural areas for
education and who live in temporary residences while attending school, as a group that
are highly vulnerable to HIV. The representative stated that “(female students) are more
concerned with avoiding unwanted pregnancy than protection from HIV.”

As did parents of youth in Bahr Dar, the HAPCO representative suggested that youth
exposure to pornography in video houses, an increase in chat and alcohol consumption,
a feeling of hopelessness and lack of options, and peer pressure as some of the reasons
for young people becoming engaged in promiscuous sexual behaviors that expose them
to HIV and AIDS. Parents and young women in Bahr Dar mentioned the availability of
pornographic films at “DSTV” houses as contributing to the erosion of social norms and
especially sexual norms and behaviour, with young women in Bahr Dar talking openly
about pressures on them to engage in „unusual‟ sexual practices.

Addiction to Chat (and other drugs) and alcohol
Bahr Dar is a centre for chat production and the growing problem of chat addiction was
highlighted countless times during the UCPVAs. Male and female youth, parents and
other respondents in the UCPV assessments all linked vulnerability to HIV and AIDS to
youth‟s increasing use of chat and alcohol, which they felt directly led to promiscuous
and risky sexual behavior. Respondents described male youth particularly as being
vulnerable to chat and alcohol addiction.

Addiction to chat has greatly increased in the past 10 years and is now seen as an
epidemic. Whilst 10 years ago, chat was particularly associated with adult Muslims, it is
now used by all groups and is increasingly seen as a particular problem amongst urban
and peri-urban youth populations. At least one youth group in Bahr Dar mentioned the
role of students, business people and better-off youth, in making chat chewing more
acceptable to the majority of youth. Parents in Bahr Dar estimated that seven out of ten
youth now use chat (including female youth) whilst youth respondents in Bahr Dar
estimated that at least 60% of them chew chat. Parents, youth and PLWH respondents
all linked chat addiction to poor health, promiscuity and unsafe sexual practices and
vulnerability to HIV and AIDS. The same respondents also linked chat addiction to
feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation and lack of initiative amongst young people,
and suggested that young people who are addicted to chat are also at risk of turning to
crime to fund the habit.

Both youth and parents criticized government policies that promote chat production as
being „at the expense of the lives of youth‟. Parents felt that the government should be
doing more to control production, marketing, trading and use of chat by making it less
attractive to farmers to grow chat and by closing down chat houses. On the other hand,
everyone recognizes that chat is an important income source for growing numbers of
people in and around Bahr Dar – the farmer producers, the marketers, the sellers, the
chat house owners etc – and that it is a valuable export industry for Ethiopia. The
government has recently clamped down on chat houses in towns, including Bahr Dar,
and many have been targeted and closed down by police. However, this is proving
difficult to enforce.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

A 2005 national survey of 20,434 in-school and out-of-school youths aged between 15
and 24 years concluded that a substantial proportion of out-of-school youth engage in
risky sex and that the use of Khat and alcohol and other substances is significantly and
independently associated with risky sexual behaviour among Ethiopian youths. Given
the growing trend of chat usage amongst young people, particularly in urban and peri-
urban areas and the problems associated with that highlighted during the UCPV
assessment, this issue warrants further analysis and attention from CARE Ethiopia.
Particularly in relation to the urban and peri-urban youth impact group, it is important
that CARE Ethiopia has a clear „position‟ on chat that can inform programming and
advocacy work. Follow up of some of the references below and discussions with the
international NGO German Agro-Action, which actively advocates against chat in
Ethiopia, may be a good starting point for further understanding and analysis
around this issue.

In addition to the above, useful references:

          Integrating education on alcohol use, gender norms and gender-based violence
           into community outreach; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | Wednesday, August 01, 2007;
           Regional Practicum on HIV, Alcohol & Gender Norms
          Alcohol, and Khat Consumptions and HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Treatment
           in Ethiopia; PPT from the Addis Continental Institute of Public Health Prevention
           Summit in 2009.

3.3 GENDER DIMENSION                           TO       URBAN/         PERI-URBAN             YOUTH

FGDs in Bahr Dar, Hamusit and Alem Bir, both with male and female youth, suggested
that urban/ peri-urban female youth are relatively more vulnerable than male
youth. The main reasons given were: female youth are less likely to find employment,
and are more likely to be in low income or harmful employment such as domestic work
or commercial sex work; female youth are relatively more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS;
female youth are more vulnerable to gender-based violence. This finding is supported by
the literature.

For example, the 2005 National Labor Force Survey (CSA, 2005) found that, nationally,
twice as many unemployed youth were females (66%) as males (34%). This continues
into adulthood, where unemployment is much higher amongst women than men –

   Kebede, D., et al (2005) Khat and alcohol use and risky sex behaviour among in-school and out-of-
school youth in Ethiopia; BMC Public Health 2005, 5:109 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-109;
     Reference from UCPV Desk Review on Urban and Peri-urban Youth.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

women over 25 are 85% less likely than men of that age to be employed and only one in
5 women earns cash income that she actually controls .

Domestic workers are almost 100% female and predominantly migrants from rural
areas. A Population Council study found that 87% of working female migrants living in
slum areas of Addis Ababa were occupying low status professions, especially domestic
work . The study concluded that female migrants, and particularly those working as
domestic workers, were particularly vulnerable compared to other migrant and native
adolescents. Another study of commercial sex workers found that domestic work was
a pathway into commercial sex for a full 44% of the sample respondents. Again, these
commercial sex workers were predominantly female migrants from rural areas.

In term of educational level, again girls are disadvantaged. The Population Council study
of adolescent youth in slum areas of Addis Ababa found that the boys had reached a
higher level of education compared to the girls in the study . The UCPV assessment in
Bahr Dar, Hamusit and Alem Bir in Amhara region found that whilst the number of male
and female students in the region is proportional at primary level, by secondary level the
share of girls (urban and rural) in education drops to 40% . When asked to give reasons
for the relatively higher drop out rate amongst female students, women respondents in
the ANRS Women‟s study gave the following first main causes: “girls are needed for
housework” (42% of responses in urban areas, 42% in rural areas), “negative attitude of
the community on females” (25% of responses in urban areas, 10% in rural areas) and
“fear of rape on the way to or from school” (9% of responses in urban and 12% in rural
areas). Early marriage was cited in 16% of responses in rural areas . Girls‟ heavy
domestic workload also contributes to the drop out of female students.

In relation to HIV exposure, the Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey (2005) suggests
that young women are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection compared to young men.
The data shows an HIV prevalence level of 0.7% for female youth aged 15-19, compared
to 0.1% prevalence for males of the same age group, and a prevalence rate among
females aged 20-24 almost three times higher than that of the same aged males. In Bahr
Dar, both male and female youth FGDs considered that female youth are more
vulnerable to the risks of HIV and AIDS than male youth for a number of interconnected
reasons including: females‟ economic dependence on men leading to more frequent
cross-generational sex, multiple partners and transactional sex; risks of females being
raped; through entry into commercial sex work; and social and cultural norms and
economic necessities that make it difficult for women to negotiate condom use.

   Christiaensen et al., Capturing the Demographic Bonus in Ethiopia: Gender Development and
Demographic Actions cited in PRB Policy Brief.
   Erulkar et al (2006); Migration and Vulnerability among Adolescents in Slum Areas of Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2006, pp. 361-374
   Girma and Erulkar (2009); Commercial Sex Workers in Five Ethiopian Cities: A baseline survey for
USAID targeted HIV prevention program for most-at-risk populations; USAID, September 2009.
   Erulkar et al (2006); Migration and Vulnerability among Adolescents in Slum Areas of Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2006, pp. 361-374
   Amahara region Education Bureau semi-annual report, 2005/6
     ANRS Women’s Study, Bahr Dar Need to cross-check this reference.
  Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey, 2005, CSA Addis Ababa and ORC Macro, Maryland, USA,
September 2006

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Nevertheless, most girls do not have premarital sex - the Population Council found that
amongst adolescent girls in urban Ethiopia, 60% had first had sex with a spouse or
financé. 29% of sexually experienced girls had had first sex under „coercive conditions‟
and girls who had had sex before the age of 15, and who had first sex outside marriage,
were significantly more likely to have experienced coerced first sex. The study found
that amongst sexually experienced respondents, transactional sex for money „seemed to
occur only occasionally‟ although other forms of transactional sex such as feeling obliged
to „pay back‟ boyfriends for gifts or favours by sex, were more common. In the same
study, 11% of ever married respondents worried that their husband would give them

Overall, the manifestations of vulnerability, coupled with traditional practices, social
norms that discriminate, internalized and externalized expectations and power relations
appear to have made resource-poor female youth in urban and peri-urban areas
relatively more vulnerable than male youth. This is discussed further below. However,
the following case stories from Hamusit show that it is possible for female youth from
disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome these challenges and make a success of their
lives. Terengo is a single-parent orphan from a peri-urban area, who grew up in a poor
female-headed household. Despite these challenges, she completed 12th grade and now
at 23, she dreams of further education and running her own business.

Terengo Mequanit was born on 1978EC in Hamusit and is now 23, married with two
children and living in Hamusit. She is the third of four children and has one brother and
three sisters. Her mother was subject to forced, early marriage by her family when she
was 12 and had two sons from her first marriage. When she was 24 she ran away,
migrating to Hamusit where she met and married Terengo‟s father. After some years of
their marriage Terengo‟s father died and her mother was left to raise her family through
selling „tela‟. Although she had never had the chance of an education herself, somehow
she managed to send all her children to school - Terengo passed 12th grade and her
brother and two sisters are all educated and employed. Now Terengo‟s mother has
stopped working due to illness and spends her time at home, looked after by one of
Terengo‟s sisters. Although she completed high school, Terengo didn‟t get as good grades
as she had hoped for. Her happiest day was her marriage to the man of her choice when
she was 18, and she now has two sons aged four and two. Terengo‟s husband is a civil
servant and Terengo works independently. For about eight months she managed to open a
shop but could not keep it going because the location was not good. Within the next five
years she hopes to have obtained an education and a diploma. She dreams of getting a
government job or running her own business.

Etenesh is a 20 year old female, also from Hamusit, also from a single parent, poor
household. Etenesh‟s story highlights some of the typical challenges that poor, peri-urban
young women face – in completing their education, in finding work, in finding a marriage

  Ferede and Erulkar (2009); Adolescent Girls in Urban Ethiopia: Vulnerability and Opportunity;
Population Council, USAID, Ethiopia, August 2009.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

partner, in staying healthy - and the level of motivation and determination that are
needed to overcome these challenges.

Etenesh Gashawu is 20 years old, single and living in Hamusit. She is the oldest of
seven children, three of whom have died of unknown causes. Her mother was 13 when
she married her father who was 23 at the time. At that time the family had land and a
number of cattle but many of these died in a disease epidemic and her father started
selling handmade crafts in the market. This did not bring in as much income as before and
because of this strain and the death of Etenesh‟s three siblings her parents finally divorced
and her father left. Etenesh was in 10th grade, but after the divorce her mother became
seriously ill and Etenesh, as the oldest, had to leave school and start to financially support
her mother and younger siblings. She started selling “pastry” and tea on the streets; soon
after she met with people from the Micro and Small-scale enterprises (MSE) office and
they provided her with training on agro-processing. Etenesh completed the training 9
months ago but still has not started using the skills she obtained. Etenesh‟s mother
recovered and started selling “tela” to support her children, but Etenesh did not want her
mother to do this as it is not a respectable vocation. She stopped and Etenesh is again
single handedly supporting the family. She rented a small shop in the town center and
continued to sell tea and other snacks. At some point, Etenesh‟s mother arranged for her
to get married to a man from a good family that she knew. The man lived in Addis and
came to Hamusit to meet her. After the official engagement, Etenesh decided that they
should both get tested for HIV. He got tested in Addis and she in Hamusit, and they were
both negative. However, after he returned to Addis she heard from various people that he
already had a wife in Hamusit. Etenesh met this girl and suspected that she might have
HIV. She contacted her fiancé in Addis and stated that she‟d like both of them to get
tested again, but then he sent her a message saying that he was leaving for Japan for
work. She has never heard from him since. Etenesh‟s happiest moments in her life were
when she was in school and her parents were together - “I was good in my studies”.
Etenesh is supporting her sister in high school and hopes she will join the university. For
herself, she dreams of being successful in business and earning enough to own a house
and a car.


The UCPV assessment findings and literature cited in this document suggested that many
of the most vulnerable youth in urban and peri-urban areas were migrants from rural
areas. This initiated many discussions in the country office around to what extent the
underlying causes of urban/peri-urban youth poverty and vulnerability originate in rural
areas. Does this mean that to address the UCPVs for urban and peri-urban youth CARE
Ethiopia should focus on working with rural youth, before they migrate to urban areas?
Although there is probably room for further debate and analysis, at this stage the
country office has decided that trends in urban population growth and rural-urban
migration over the next 10 to 15 years are likely to mean that urban/ peri-urban youth
poverty will be an increasingly urgent humanitarian and development issue for Ethiopia
that CARE Ethiopia should work to address in the urban and/or peri-urban context (as
well as in the rural context?).

Vulnerability of migrant versus „native‟ youth

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

During the UCPV assessments, the team realized that many of the more vulnerable
youth that they spoke to were migrants from rural areas. Respondents during FGDs and
KIIs identified rural migrants as a distinct „sub-group‟ of most vulnerable youth and
clearly linked rural poverty, rural-urban migration and urban youth poverty and
vulnerability. At the same time, rural migrants were highly represented in the other „sub-
groups‟ of vulnerable youth identified, particularly commercial sex workers and daily
laborers. For example, all of the commercial sex workers that participated in the FGD in
Bahr Dar were female migrants from South Gondar and other rural parts of Amhara
region (Hamusit, Adet, Fogera) and the daily labourers the team spoke to had migrated
from the Este and Adet rural woredas in South Gondar. A May 2008 study found that
77% of youth commercial sex workers in Amhara region were rural migrants (usually
between 16 and 17 years old) .

Although the UCPV assessments did not purposefully disaggregate information between
„migrant‟ and „native‟ youth, the suggestion that migrant youth are particularly vulnerable
is supported by a number of Population council research documents. A Population
Council study of adolescent girls in urban Ethiopia found that „significantly more of the
migrants (59%) were classified in the lower economic status compared to the native
adolescents (47%).‟ The mean age at migration was 14 years old, and the main reasons
for migration were for work (52%) and schooling (15%). Another study which looked at
patterns of migration and vulnerability amongst adolescents (age 10-19) in low-income
and slum areas of Addis Ababa found that migrants were more vulnerable than
natives in terms of „lacking of parental presence, schooling and social connectedness‟
and suggested that such young people „most of whom are girls‟ are in need of increased
specific targeted support from NGOs and other development programs . The study
contains important information about the relative status and well-being of migrant versus
native adolescent youth. For example, migrants are significantly less likely to be living
with a parent than natives, and are less likely to have ever attended school. Migrants are
more likely to be working for pay and to be in low-status jobs such as domestic
workers, shoe shiners or daily labourers, with average earnings of around 16 Birr per
week, compared with native‟s 50 Birr per week. The migrants also appeared to have
fewer sources of social support and were less likely to have been involved in any kind of
youth program than natives .

The study highlighted that female migrant youth are particularly vulnerable,
finding that from the adolescents sampled: i) considerably more girls had migrated to
slum areas of Addis than boys (45% of girls compared to 23% of boys) and ii) whilst
many had migrated from rural areas for educational or work opportunities, almost a
quarter had come to escape early marriage in their rural homes." 60% of the girls who
had migrated to escape early marriage had done so during early adolescence (aged 10 to
14) and 66% came from the Amhara region, where early arranged marriage is common.

   Situation Analysis of OVC in Amhara Region: With special reference to urban towns in Amhara Region,
Amhara National Regional State, Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, May 2008, Bahr Dar
   Erulkar et al (2006); Migration and Vulnerability among Adolescents in Slum Areas of Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2006, pp. 361-374

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Escape from early marriage was also cited as a „push‟ factor for migration by female
youth during the UCPV assessment in Bahr Dar. Note that in the Population Council
study, migrants were distinguished from „short-term visitors‟ if they had arrived in Addis
Ababa more than 12 months before the study.

The study of commercial sex workers cited above also highlights the relative
vulnerability of female migrants, finding that 86% of the commercial sex workers
sampled in the study were migrants to the area, with roughly 27% having migrated
the year prior to the survey. 41% of these were from rural areas, whilst 35% had
migrated from small towns (peri-urban areas?).

Another Population Council study disaggregated rates of HIV positive young women by
age and whether they were native or migrant to the urban setting. The study found that
"young women who are migrants to the city are nearly twice as likely to be HIV-positive
as compared to young women who are native to the city".

The Bahr Dar, Hamusit and Alem Bir UCPV assessment respondents identified some of
the push and pull factors for rural-urban migration. Some of these are described
further in the sections that profile the most vulnerable youth, and are investigated in
various Population Council studies, particularly the study on migration and vulnerability
among adolescents in slum areas of Addis Ababa. Not surprisingly, UCPV assessment
respondents, who had migrated to urban areas, said that family poverty was one of the
drivers or pushes for migration to urban areas. Male youth mentioned landlessness and
lack of off-farm/ alternative income earning opportunities in rural areas forcing them to
seek employment elsewhere. A Population Council (2006) study which looked at the
reasons for migration of adolescents into slum areas of Addis Ababa, found that for both
male and female adolescents educational opportunities were the most common reason
for moving, especially when educational facilities were not available or were too far from
their home areas, or where parents could not afford to send them to school. Seeking
work opportunities was the second most commonly cited reason.

During the UCPV assessments, girl youth mentioned family breakdown due to divorce
and/or disagreements within the family, for example arguments with a step mother or
father, as another reason for migration. Again, this is a common reason cited in the Pop
Council (2006) study. Also, in another study of commercial sex workers, the majority of
whom (86%) were rural migrants, almost one third were divorced or separated .

Death of either both parents or the father was also mentioned during the UCPV as a
factor leading to migration: “A child who loses his or her parents will spend the majority of his
or her life getting abused by everyone. If the parents held land or other assets, on their death
the children’s relatives will force or pressure them to migrate with the objective of grabbing
   Girma and Erulkar (2009); Commercial Sex Workers in Five Ethiopian Cities: A baseline survey for
USAID targeted HIV prevention program for most-at-risk populations; USAID, September 2009.
   Erulkar A (2007); „Dimensions of girls‟ vulnerability in rural and urban Ethiopia‟, presentation made at
Gender Dimensions of HIV and Adolescent Programming in Ethiopia‟, Addis Ababa, April 11, 2007.
   Erulkar A. (2006); Migration and Vulnerability among Adolescents in Slum Areas of Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3, July 2006, pp. 361-374
   Girma and Erulkar (2009); Commercial Sex Workers in Five Ethiopian Cities: A baseline survey for
USAID targeted HIV prevention program for most-at-risk populations; USAID, September 2009.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

these assets for themselves.” (KII Forum for Street Children). In the same Pop Council
study of commercial sex workers, among the 15 to 19 age group, 57% had lost at least
one parent and 16% were double orphans.

In relation to female youth in particular, escape from early or arranged marriage was
also mentioned during the UCPV assessment, although this was not highlighted by the
sex workers that the team spoke to. However, the Pop Council (2006) study on
migration and vulnerability found that almost one quarter of migrant girls reported that
they had migrated to escape early marriage in their home areas.

Youth respondents in the UCPV assessment also mentioned the hard way of life and lack
of facilities in the rural areas as leading them to migrate and the commercial sex workers
we spoke to in Bahr Dar mentioned that the promise of an „easier life‟ and access to
basic services such as electricity and water were major „pull‟ factors for them to migrate.
The same girls mentioned that peer pressure from those who have already migrated was
also a „pull‟ factor for them (see case story in section 3.5 below) and this is supported by
the Pop Council (2009) study which found that over half of the respondents had been
pressured by peers/ friends to enter sex work (see below).

Issues for further consideration:
 So far, the examples are presenting a very negative picture (similar to other
    UCPVAs): It is important that in understanding this impact group better, we also use
    an „appreciative inquiry‟ approach where we try to discover examples of positive
    behaviours and positive change in the lives of youth and identify what kind of support
    is needed to support and encourage these positives
 This could be done (as in the pastoralist girls analysis) by conducting a small number
    of case stories that illustrate examples of youth who have migrated successfully.
    Note that the Pop Council (2006) study of rural migrants found that 13% of girls
    who had come to Addis for schooling had still never been to school and that 19% of
    those who had migrated for work had still never worked. This means that a
    significant number had managed to realize their aspirations.


Commercial sex workers
Commercial sex workers are considered as one of the most-at-risk-populations for HIV.
A 2008 study by The Wise-Up Project found that the average age of sex workers has
remained at around 22 years since 2002 (reduced from around 31 years of age in the
late 1980s) . The report‟s analysis indicated a significant increase in sex workers‟ mean
number of clients per week from three in 2002-2005 to five in 2008. The analysis
showed a worrying trend in sex workers inconsistent use of condoms with non-paying
partners – from 70% in 2002 to 56% in 2008. This echoes the concerns of a recent study
of most-at-risk populations in Amhara region which highlighted the risks of the infection
spreading from high-risk groups to the general population .

   Condom use among female sex workers in Ethiopia, 2002-2008, The Wise-Up Project. Note that the
2002&5 data included street and venue-based CSWs whilst the 2008 data only included venue-based.
   Magnitude of and risk factors for HIV infection among most-at-risk-populations in Amhara region,
Ethiopia, Feb. 2009

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

A Population Council study of over 2,000 commercial sex workers (CSWs) in five
Ethiopian cities cites various studies demonstrating HIV prevalence of between 17% to
50% for CSWs in urban areas, and one study indicating a prevalence of 73% among
CSWs attending STI clinics in Addis Ababa. 86% of the CSW respondents were
migrants to the area. The mean age of the sex workers in the study was 22, with 71%
aged 15-24 and 33% aged 15-19. Respondents were youngest in Bahr Dar, with 48%
below age 20. One third had never been to school, with the main reasons cited
including poverty/ inability to afford schooling, parental disapproval and death of parents.
Among those aged 15-19, 41% were single orphans whilst 16% had lost both parents.
45% of the sex workers had experienced non-consensual first sex whilst 7% had
experienced violence by their regular partners in the last month and 10% had
experienced violence with at least one of their last five clients.

Professions prior to sex work included domestic work (44%), waitressing (21%) or
working in a bar (16%) and most cited negative circumstances as a pathway into
sex work including „escaping other exploitative forms of work such as domestic work
(39%), the need to support children (32%), following divorce (29%), following school
drop-out or non-attendance (28%), and after death of a parent (22%)‟ . Of the CSWs in
the study who had been married, 87% were divorced. Around half of the respondents
reported that they had been pressured by peers/ friends to enter sex work, whilst
2% reported pressure from family members. Younger girls (15-19) were more likely to
be pressured by friends than girls aged 25 and over.

The UCPV assessment interviews with CSWs in Bahr Dar support many of these
findings. One of the commercial sex workers in Bahr Dar described her experience of
moving from her home area in a rural woreda of South Gondar.

“When I reached grade 6, I had to move to another far Woreda where there is a school. I
rented a house and had to travel home every weekend to bring food. The distance was long and
I hated to walk all that way on foot. Besides, the food was not fresh. Then I saw girls who
migrated from my home area returning with good clothing, and they told me very good things
about city life like the opportunity of getting money easily. So I decided to drop out and migrate
to Bahir Dar. But the situation I am in now is on the contrary. “

The UCPV assessment interview with a group of commercial sex workers in Bahr Dar
provides an insight into the challenges that this group faces:

Commercial sex workers – “We are poverty”
The UCPV team in Bahr Dar spoke to a group of 21 commercial sex workers. All are migrants
from peri-urban and rural areas, from around Bahr Dar, North and South Gondar and Wollo
(Hamusit, Adet and Fogera). Most are from poor families and do not have close family
members in Bahr Dar. Most are around 17 and 18 years old, below grade 8 and illiterate. The
women had come to Bahr Dar looking for work. Some of them had started as domestic workers
but had left either because of abuse by their employers, overwork, low or no pay and arbitrary
deductions of pay. Having left their employers’ homes they had nowhere else to go and became

   Girma & Erulkar (2009); Commercial Sex Workers in Five Ethiopian Cities: A baseline survey for
USAID targeted HIV prevention program for most-at-risk populations; USAID

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

involved in commercial sex work. Others had been met at the bus station in Bahr Dar when
they arrived for the first time from their home areas by “brokers” who had persuaded them to
work as commercial sex workers on the promise of high pay.

As sex workers, the women have to move from kebele to kebele for work and because of this
and the stigma attached to them, their “hosts” (usually women, who provide accommodation
and manage the workers) seldom notify the kebele administration that they are living with
them. Unless they are registered with the kebele the women can’t get an ID and so cannot
access social services from the kebele, such as sexual and reproductive health services,
microfinance services etc. The women said that they have no security of tenure and can be
made homeless at any point.

As well as their vulnerability to STIs and HIV the sex workers feel highly vulnerable to violence.
They do not feel protected because of weak law enforcement by the police and the possibility of
revenge by the perpetrators. They said that clients pay more for sex without a condom and that
many of their clients are poor themselves and don’t care about the consequences of HIV.

The women said that there are few alternative work opportunities available to them in town
because of their illiteracy and low education. On the other hand, they don’t want to go back to
their rural homes because life is hard there and they will be stigmatized if they go back (they
would be considered to be HIV positive). The women said that they don’t have any social
support networks, even amongst themselves, because they are all from different places, and
that there are no formal or informal institutions working with them to organize better access to
resources and services. During the FGD, one commercial sex worker said “enga nene dhinte
malte” (We are poverty).

The sex workers told the assessment team about “KosheKosh”, a village (described as a
“camp”) near the center of Bahir Dar town, where many sex workers live. When the
assessment team visited the village, they found crowded, shared houses, with limited
shared toilet facilities, water and cooking areas. Most of the young women at the village
were between 15 and 35 years old. Some had their children with them and some were
clearly sick. There were also male youths at the entrance and exit of the camp,
suggesting that they also are engaged in commercial sex work, although the team did not
follow this up.

The CSWs themselves and the Forum for Street Children- FSC (a local NGO) all
highlighted the key exploitative role played by the brokers at the bus terminals
who persuade migrant women to engage in sex work. FSC is trying to address this by
covering the cost of transportation and a police escort for girls who agree to return
back to their home area. Although police are officially assigned to the bus station in Bahr
Dar to help control brokers, the team were told that the level of protection of migrants
and control of the brokers varies according to the attitudes of individual officers.

Possible issues for further investigation:
    Any variations in vulnerability depending on the type of sex work girls are
        engaged in e.g. street-based, brothel based, hotel or bar-based, home-based etc.
    The role of brokers and/or „pimps‟
    The vulnerability of boys and male youth to commercial sex work – although the
        need for this at this point in program design should be carefully considered given

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

         the focus of the program on female youth, and the fact that we know that the
         vast majority of CSWs are female.
        The laws affecting the legal and social protection of CSWs.
        Opportunities for strengthening social support networks amongst CSWs.
        Additional studies cited in the Population Council (2009) study of commercial
         sex workers in five Ethiopian cities that might be useful to review include:
         - Aklilu et al (2001). Factors associated with HIV-1 infection among sex workers of
           Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AIDS, 15:87-96
         - Alem et al (2006). Unprotected sex, sexually transmitted infections and problem
           drinking among female sex workers in Ethiopia, Ethiopian Journal of Health and
           Development, 20 (2): 93-98
         - DKT Ethiopia (2008). Study of condom use and behaviour among venue-based sex
           workers and their clients in 10 towns in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; DKT
           unpublished report, October.
         - Erulkar AS and Ferede A. Social exclusion and early unwanted sexual initiation in
           poor urban settings in Ethiopia, International Perspectives in Sexual &
           Reproductive Health.
         - Family Health International (FHI) and Addis Ababa City Administration Health
           Bureau (AACAHB) (2002); „Mapping and census of female sex workers in Addis
           Ababa, Ethiopia‟; FHI Unpublished report, August
         - Mehret M et al (1990a); „HIV infection and related risk factors among female sex
           workers in the urban areas of Ethiopia’; Ethiopian Journal of Health and
           Development, 4(2):163-170
         - Mehret M et al (1990b); „HIV-1 infection and some related risk factors among
           female sex workers in Addis Ababa’; Ethiopian Journal of Health and Development,

Domestic workers
The Population Council‟s study on adolescent girls in low income and slum areas of
Addis found that 95% of the respondents aged 10-14 were living without parents, with
most working as child domestic workers. Among girls who had ever worked for pay,
                              51                  52
72% were in domestic work . In an earlier study of 676 female respondents in low
income and slum areas of Addis, about 15% were in domestic work. 97% of these
workers had migrated into Addis, 82% of these from rural areas. No males reported
being domestic workers. The study compared female domestic workers with other
adolescent girls and found that domestic workers were less likely to be educated or live
with parents, had lower self esteem and fewer friends and lower levels of HIV
knowledge than the other girls. Most of these girls lived with their employers and
compared to other adolescent workers, they worked longer hours - an average of 64
hours per week - and were paid significantly less than other adolescent workers - an
average of 52 Birr or around US$6 per month compared to an average of US$11
for female non-domestic workers and US$18 for working adolescent boys.

   Ferede and Erulkar (2009); Adolescent Girls in Urban Ethiopia: Vulnerability and Opportunity;
Population Council, Ethiopia, August 2009
   Erulkar and Mekbib (2007) ; Invisible and vulnerable : Adolescent domestic workers in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, December 2007; 2(3): 246-256

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Because of their long hours, limited social networks and restrictions placed on them by
their employers, these girls are „hard to reach‟ – the same study found that the girls who
were domestic workers were less likely to have participated in any existing youth
programmes than other adolescent girls. Lessons from current programming suggest
that the most successful approach so far is to try to identify and recruit them via house
to house visits. The „Biruh Tesfa’ project of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and its
Regional Bureaus in Addis Ababa and Amhara region, supported by the Pop Council,
targets out-of-school slum-dwelling adolescent girls (10-19) including rural-urban
migrants, domestic workers and orphans. The project mobilizes the girls into girls‟ clubs
led by adult female mentors from the community and has recruited domestic workers by
going house-to-house, sometimes several times, to convince employers to allow the girls
to attend.

During the UCPV assessment in Bahr Dar, although the team did not specifically seek
out domestic workers, during discussions with APAP, they suggested that many of the
girls they support with legal advice and support are domestic workers seeking to leave
abusive employers, or who have been subjected to sexual or other violence by their
employer and/ or employer‟s children. The Pop Council (2007) study on adolescent
domestic workers in Addis Ababa suggested that these girls are „more susceptible to
unwanted sex, including sex at the hands of their employers‟, although the data was

Whilst the literature suggests that adolescent female domestic workers are a highly
vulnerable and significant sub-group of urban and peri-urban youth, the hiring of rural
girls, often extended family relatives, for domestic work is the norm for many urban
households. Many employers, as well as the girls‟ families, believe that they are providing
an opportunity for the girl and don‟t consider that domestic work is „child labour‟.
Under Ethiopian law it is illegal to engage a child below the age of 14 in wage labour and
there are special provisions for working children aged 14-18 including the number of
hours that they should work (maximum of seven per day). However, the Pop Council
(2007) study found that over a third of the girls had stared work before age 14 .

Since the UCPV assessment in Bahr Dar did not specifically look at domestic workers,
CARE Ethiopia probably needs to do more analysis around this group before deciding
whether, how, where to target them. A good starting point would be further review of
the Pop Council literature and discussion both with Pop Council and the Ministry of
Youth and Sports and regional bureaus. Discussions with CARE Ethiopia‟s own staff
based in Addis may also be an interesting entry point for finding out more about this

Possible ways forward for deepening the analysis for this group:
    Discussions with female adolescent domestic workers in Bahr Dar
    Discussion/ survey with Addis-based CARE Ethiopia staff
    Follow up with Ministry and regional Bureaus of Youth and Sports and Population
        Council re. existing research and current programmes targeting domestic

  Ibid. Note that this study also found that 39% of working adolescent boys had also started work before
age 14. The study also contains other information about adolescent boys in slum areas of Addis.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

       Additional key references/ information sources for review cited in the Pop
        Council (2007) study „Invisible and Vulnerable: Adolescent domestic workers in
        Addis Ababa, Ethiopia‟ include:
        - Federal Negarit Gazeta of the FDRE (2006). Working conditions of young
        workers. Proclamation no. 377/2003, Labour (Amendment), 10th year, no. 12,
        Addis Ababa, 26 February, pp.2475-2478
        - Burns et al (2004); Reaching out-of-school youth with reproductive health and
        HIV/AIDS information and service; Youthnet Issues Paper no.4, Arlington, VA:
        Family Health International
        - Erulkar et al (2006); Differential use of adolescent reproductive health
        programming in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Journal of Adolescent Health, 38, 253-260.
        - International Labour Organization (ILO) (2004). Stop exploitative child
        domestic labour. Press release: ILO, Ethiopia Ministry of Labour and Social
        Affairs, Save the Children and ANPPCAN-Ethiopia, 12 June.

Youth living with HIV and AIDS
Youth living with HIV and AIDS were mentioned in Bahr Dar as being another „sub-
group‟ of vulnerable youth. However, they are not a discrete group but are included in
and cut across other vulnerable groups of youth such as commercial sex workers. One
of the groups most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS i.e. secondary and tertiary students, are
also relatively less vulnerable than other groups of youth to other risks such as
unemployment. However, youth with HIV and AIDS may be more likely to be resource-
poor and living in poverty than other youth. The UCPV team in Bahr Dar spoke to a
group of eight young people and adults living with HIV and AIDS. The respondents were
mostly living at subsistence level and have an irregular income from activities like drink
selling, wood selling, daily labouring and aid from NGOs. To them being poor means
being sick, since being healthy is the key to being productive and self-reliant (tena
matatina ke alga lay mewall). They also linked poverty to being uneducated and lacking in
knowledge and awareness, being addicted to chat, cigarettes and alcohol and living in
unsanitary and unhygienic conditions. They told the assessment team that they are living
in a vicious cycle whereby the virus leads them to poverty and their poor livelihoods,
living conditions and social stigma again makes them vulnerable to poor health, low self
esteem, destructive behaviours and ultimately to increasing risk of AIDS.

Although the group emphasized that there is less stigma attached to PLWH now
compared to even two years ago, there is still discrimination. An example given was that
they find it difficult to access financial services: people do not want them to join savings
and credit groups since they “are too much of a risk” nor do they want to act as
guarantor for them to get a loan from an institution. Community saving and credit
groups provide loans for non-members but not to those living with the virus, unless
viable collateral is provided. Without access to financial services, the group felt that
young PLWH would remain dependent on external aid.

Unlike the other youth the Bahr Dar team interviewed, the PLWH focus group consider
the kebele to be very important to them as a venue for networking and connecting with
service providers and as a place to voice and report challenges they face and to demand


Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

This section summarises some of the UCPVs related to the social positions of vulnerable
youth. UCPV assessment respondents in Hamusit and Alembir related perceptions of
youth to their socioeconomic status; if a youth is from an economically well-off family
then he/she has the highest chance of being a productive citizen (i.e. completing school
without interruption, being self-disciplined, obtaining employment and not falling into
addictions). The perception is that youth that belong to low income families (such as
single parent families, families where no-one is in formal employment, where one or
more parent is chronically ill) are more likely to drop out of school, engage in the
informal sector for employment and be forced to migrate from their homes in search of
employment. Youth that have employment/income are considered to be productive and
as such are given respect and value.

As mentioned above, male and female youth respondents in Bahr Dar, Hamusit and
Alem Bir suggested that females are relatively more vulnerable than males. One of the
main reasons that they identified was traditional cultural attitudes towards girls at
different levels (fathers, family, peers, community) which discourage young women from
having a role outside the home and seek to restrict them to the domestic domain. A
Women‟s Affairs Office representative in Hamusit suggested that these attitudes lead to
girls‟ relatively limited mobility and high domestic workload that in turn limits their
access to educational opportunities and leads to female students‟ lower levels of
academic attendance and success at higher grades. These attitudes and the limitations
they impose contribute to girls‟ low self-esteem and low expectations of themselves,
particularly in the public sphere. Fear of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment
whether in school, to and from school, or in the work place (for example, in the case of
domestic workers) and society‟s general acceptance of GBV in various forms (rape,
abduction, domestic violence), particularly against young women, also contributes to
girls‟ vulnerability.

The prevalence of early marriage, considered by the Ethiopian government as a form
of GBV, was mentioned as a driver for girls‟ migration to peri-urban and urban areas (to
escape early marriage). These marriages are more likely to involve marriage to a much
older man, and to end in divorce, leading to increasing vulnerability. The focus on
marriage as a means of economic security for girls results in their almost total economic
dependence on males. A discussion paper by the Fogera Women‟s Affairs Office (WAO)
on „The Causes of HTPs‟ states the following as the sustaining factors of early marriage;
- There are financial leverages for marrying off a girl to a rich family for dowry
- Parents want to strengthen social relations
- To fight social stigmatization (a girl that is not married is called names and marginalized)
- To protect girls from being sexually active at a young age, before marriage (which carries
serious social stigma)
- Parents are recognized and praised for throwing big wedding parties
- Parents want to see grandchildren

These factors reflect embedded beliefs and norms about a woman‟s expected role which
inhibit her from participating in making decisions on issues that will bring about massive
changes in her life. But they also reflect the very valid concerns of poor families,
especially poor rural families, about how best to protect their own and their daughter‟s
economic security.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Female youth in Bahr Dar also suggested that they have fewer support networks or
opportunities for social networking than male youth. For example, adolescent boys in
low income and slum areas of Addis are almost four times more likely than girls to have
a place in the neighborhood, other than home or school, to meet their same sex friends,
and one-fifth as likely to say they fear being raped. Any of the opportunities that girls
do have for making social connections, for example through youth centres or church-
related activities, may not be available to the most vulnerable amongst them. For
example, commercial sex workers in Bahr Dar said they have no social connections even
between eachother, and cannot trust or rely on eachother. Likewise, young female
domestic workers are largely „hidden‟, overworked by their employers and without the
means of making social contact with others. Both male and female youth in Bahr Dar
mentioned the lack of recreation centres for young people.

Young women's low social status also contributes to their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. For
example, even if a young woman married to a much older man, or a commercial sex
worker, is aware about HIV/AIDS, and has access to condoms she may not be able to
negotiate HIV testing or to negotiate the use of condoms with her husband or male
Both parents and youth suggested that changes in social norms are negatively
affecting parent-youth relationships and peer-to-peer relationships. Examples of changes
included the increasingly acceptable use of chat and changes in sexual behaviour. Even in
urban areas, early and arranged marriages were common 10 years ago, whereas
nowadays sexual relationships before marriage are normal. From this perspective, early
and arranged marriage could be seen as a positive way of protecting young women from
stigma and securing their future social and economic status, whilst sex before marriage
may be considered to entail multiple partners, lack of security and exposure to HIV and

Youth‟s low self esteem, „feelings of hopelessness‟ and lack of vision for the future were
often mentioned by youth and parents in relation to youth. They linked these feelings to
being unsuccessful in their education, to unemployment and to addictions to chat and
other drugs. At the same time, youth and parent respondents also said that youth have
much higher expectations than before in terms of material possessions and are less
prepared to „start small‟ than their parents were. Despite appreciating that they have
more freedoms than their parents did, male youth in Bahr Dar complained about the
general negative perceptions and low expectations of young people held by their parents
and also by the community in general.


This section gives an overview of some of the perceptions of youth about the
institutional and political structures and systems that affect them, and also highlights
some of the key institutions and stakeholders responsible for working with urban youth.
This section should be enriched with the information provided and presentation from

  Erulkar AS, Mekbib T, Simie N, Gulema T. (2004). Adolescent life in low income and slum areas
of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

the Addis Ababa University and the Addis Ababa Bureau of Youth and Sports at the one-
day stakeholders workshop held in April 2010.

Youth policy environment
The current policy environment both at federal and regional levels is favourable to
ensuring the inclusion of youth in social, economic and political development agendas.
Ethiopia‟s first National Youth Policy was formulated in 2004, with the broad
objective of encouraging the active participation of youth in the economic, social, and
cultural life of the country. The policy clearly articulates the youth‟s role, participation
and value in various areas of development and addresses a wide range of issues ranging
from HIV/AIDS to environmental protection and social services, although the most
central elements relative to the government‟s poverty alleviation program the Plan for
Accelerated Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) relate to education, training and
the employment of youth . Within the broad framework of PASDEP, the youth policy
promises to facilitate the growth of self-employment and formal/informal employment
opportunities and to create an enabling environment for youth to benefit from
education and training, including adult education. The new education policy focuses on
producing a skilled labor force, with the Technical Vocational Education and Training
(TVET) program as a central part of this strategy while the labor law codifies the
practice of apprenticeships and allows for contracts to be entered with youth who are at
least 14 years of age.

Additionally, a national youth development package acknowledges the critical areas
for youth development and problem areas such as unemployment, lack of social services,
limited arenas for youth participation etc. Female youth are also given specific policy
attention, and the government has ensured that women‟s rights are clearly articulated in
the 1994 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The
constitutional rights conferred on women not only include equal rights with men (in
marriage, ownership of land, employment and participation in development policies), but
also include the recognition of the need for affirmative action measures for women
(Article 35.3) and recognition of the State‟s responsibility for the prohibition of harmful
traditional practices that infringe on women‟s rights (Article 35.4).
Since many youth are engaged in the informal sector, particular attention is being given
to the role of micro and small enterprises development (MSED). The MSED Strategy
underpinning PASDEP pays particular attention to female-operated enterprises, school
dropouts, and unemployed youth. Under this strategy the Government will provide
entrepreneurship and business management training, appropriate technology research,
market support, information and counseling, business support services, and help with
access to credit and basic infrastructure for MSEs.

Regarding the protection of vulnerable youth, whilst legal frameworks are there for the
protection of youth, the main issue identified by commercial sex workers, Womens‟
Affairs and APAP is the poor implementation/ enforcement of laws related to
GBV, including rape and domestic violence. An APAP representative in Bahr Dar said

   MOFED (2006) cited in ICMC Consultants (2009) Desk review for urban and peri-urban youth for
CARE Ethiopia
   ICMC Consultants (2009) Desk review for urban and peri-urban youth for CARE Ethiopia

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

that victims are often not aware of their rights, and fear of revenge also prevents them
from reporting crime or pursuing offenders to court; there is weak and inconsistent
application of the law by the police against GBV offenders and the extent to which cases
are pursued depends on the attitudes of male officials, some of whom, because of their
own biases, are reluctant to follow up on issues that they consider are related to
women‟s rights. Young women and other at-risk and vulnerable youth are also reluctant
to report cases of domestic violence for fear of bringing shame on their families or
losing dignity or respect in their communities. At the same time, there is a general
societal „tolerance‟ of GBV that makes people reluctant to report family members who
are perpetrators of these crimes.

Areas for further analysis/ inclusion:
   Summary of key policy provisions for youth generally and female youth specifically
   Reference and summarise the government‟s Youth Policy, the Convention on the
    Rights of the Child (Ethiopia is signatory) and the International Conference on
    Population and Development (ICPD) recommendations on adolescence, which
    Ethiopia supports. These are calls to action and accountability and part of an
    enabling environment.
   Overview of specific policy and legal instruments that protect the rights of vulnerable
    youth e.g. commercial sex workers, domestic workers, daily labourers – for
    example, policies to protect household domestic workers e.g. employer‟s
    requirement to register domestic workers, or the right of commercial sex workers
    or domestic workers to have a formal ID card from the kebele.
   Policy and legal instruments that specifically enshrine youth‟s rights to land and other

Youth access to land
This is mentioned here mainly in relation to migration of rural youth to urban areas,
since one of the key drivers mentioned by male youth particularly in Bahr Dar, Hamusit
and Alem Bir is the limited availability of land in rural areas. Limited opportunities to
engage in on-farm activities and limited off-farm income generating or employment
opportunities leads many youth to leave their home areas and seek employment of some
kind in urban and peri-urban areas.

When land redistribution and land certification was undertaken in Amhara in 1997,
youth that were not of the required age at that time (18) were not considered in the
redistribution process. This has resulted in them being landless when they came of age,
and most of them have remained landless since. This process also largely contributed
towards the current levels of landlessness of women and female youth (see box below).
As stated by a respondent from the Land Use and Administration Bureau in Hamusit
“The existing land proclamation does not prioritize the youth. The proclamation puts the youth
in the fourth place in the order of priority to get land.”

Youth access to micro-finance services and income generating opportunities
Another issue emphasized throughout all the UCPVAs with youth was the lack of access
to resources or opportunities for establishing income generating activities (IGAs) or
small scale businesses. Lack of off-farm productive opportunities in rural areas is a major

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

push factor for rural-urban migration. Yet when these young people, most of whom lack
academic or technical/ vocational qualifications, arrive in urban areas, they have few
options but to engage in the informal sector for employment i.e. daily laboring, CSW,
petty trading, domestic servants etc.

In cases where young people would like to engage in self-employment they can seek the
services of institutions such as the Micro and Small-scale Enterprises Development office
(MSED) whose role is to provide skills training and seed capital for young entrepreneurs.
However, the requirement for a capital guarantor („wass‟), and sometimes a guarantor
who is a government employee, means that resource poor youth generally cannot take
up this service. Government lending services such as credit associations are perceived as
politically affiliated and not for the poorest. Vulnerable youth such as daily labourers or
commercial sex workers have no chance of accessing these kinds of services and
generally the services are not „youth friendly‟ i.e. tailored to young people‟s resource-
situation. There are few or no private loan services providing tailored services to
support young people to start up income generating activities and most young people do
not have the capital or collateral needed to guarantee a loan. Note that lack of start-up
business capital/ micro-finance was cited by over 33% of urban youth in the ANRS study
as a reason for unemployment .

Many of the youth respondents felt that they do not have the necessary technical,
business or life skills to establish successful small businesses or income generating
schemes anyway.

The Amhara Savings and Credit Association (ACSI) is currently trying to
establish a loan service in Bahr Dar which is accessible to youth. They aim to provide
loans to high school dropouts and others who fulfill their criteria (i.e. those with kebele
I.D and that can provide a guarantee or collateral). ACSI reported that there is a high
default rate, mostly because the microfinance institutions that organize the youth groups
into cooperatives do not provide the necessary capacity building support to ensure that
the youth groups have the skills that they need to organize themselves and to manage
the loan. ACSI also highlighted the problem of weak institutional linkages between
different stakeholders working with youth that could support these kinds of efforts and
provide coordinated support e.g. Youth Associations, Microfinance institutions.

The kebele associations provide a number of services for youth, including micro
financing services to support start up of income generating activities. Examples of micro-
financing packages in Bahr Dar include:
     Building construction materials production and sales in Bahir Dar town
     Wood and metal works
     Food preparation and sales
     Urban agriculture such as poultry, dairy, vegetable production
     Service provision related to dry waste disposal, car parking, etc
     Textiles

In order to benefit from these packages, youth can group themselves either into a
“Shirkina” organization (which can be formed by two or more people, and which is

     Amhara National Regional State Youth Study (no date)

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

expected to pay tax) or a “Sira Mahiber” (which must have > 10 members all of whom
are unemployed, and which does not have to pay tax).

However, kebele representatives interviewed during the UCPV in Bahr Dar admitted
that the demand from young people for the micro-financing packages is much greater
than the capacity of the government programs to provide them and that the packages
are not yet fully being implemented. During the study there were also reports that the
support provided via these packages is not enough. One of the FGDs gave an example
where youth groups organized to produce cement blocks had no linkages to a regular or
adequate supply of cement and therefore they were not able to keep up production.
The same FGD also claimed that the youth groups did not have any proper supply chains
set up with local building constructors and there was no market for their product. They
recommended that packages need to strengthen links between input providers,
youth producers, markets and consumers.

Even after vocational training there may be no access to land/ work space or financial
services for youth to start or develop a business. One of the youth FGDs gave an
example where a group of 20 of them were allocated land for a business but the plot
they were given was too small so they had to give up (“the government creates ideas but
doesn’t follow them through”). This finding is supported by the ANRS Youth study which
found that limited access to credit services, lack of market and advisory services, and
absence of working and selling premises are major hindrances identified by youth as
limiting business growth. The kebele representatives suggested that there should be
greater focus on identifying, allocating and certifying plots of land in or near the town for
youth to cultivate or for production and sale of products in the town (e.g. along the
Abay river).

Institutions working with Youth

Non-state actors working with youth, mentioned by respondents in Bahr Dar
included: OSSA; Beza (Anti-AIDS organization); Jerusalem Childrens‟ Fund; Population
Council; Dawn of Hope; Mekdim; and in Hamusit/ Alembir, CHAD-ET (whose work
includes support to migrant youth), World Vision and Noraid. Other actors include
APAP, working with vulnerable youth who need legal advice and support, CARE
Ethiopia, working with orphans and vulnerable children (PC3 project) and the Family
Guidance Association Ethiopia, working in Bahr Dar and other parts of Amhara region
on sexual reproductive health and creating safe spaces for youth. Regarding the
Population Council, as is clear from this report, they have done a huge amount of
research into vulnerable youth in urban areas in Ethiopia, particularly in Addis Ababa and
in Amhara region, and have also supported programs of the Ministry of Youth and
Sports, working with migrant girls in urban areas including Addis Ababa and Bahr Dar
(for example, the Biruh Tesfa project mentioned above, funded by USAID/PEPFAR and

Note that this section can be enriched with information from the April 2010
workshop in Addis Ababa with stakeholders working with urban and peri-urban youth.

  The ANRS Youth Study found that only 10% of urban youth had benefited from credit and
savings services.

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

A more thorough stakeholder mapping was conducted during the workshop that
identified actors working with youth, geographic locations, sectoral areas of focus and
target (sub-group) of youth. It would be useful to build on this workshop to identify
where some of the gaps are in terms of addressing both UCPVs and most vulnerable
sub-groups of youth. It would also be useful to include some of the learning from these
actors (including CARE Ethiopia) around youth programming when we move into the
next stage of program design for our selected impact groups. NB: Recommend we
attach the workshop report as an Annex to this report.

Some of the state actors mentioned during the UCPV assessments included:
Youth and Sport Office, Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, Micro and Small Enterprises
Development Office, Women‟s Affairs Office, Environmental Protection & Land use &
Administration Office, M&E Expert., HAPCO and the Youth Associations. In many cases,
the groups identified particular individuals, such as the Head of Women‟s Affairs, as
supporting them, rather than systematic support through an institution. During the
UCPV assessments with youth, the youth respondents ranked their relationships with
government at every level (kebele upwards), with youth associations, savings or micro-
finance associations and with idirs relatively lowly. The kebele-based youth associations
are perceived by many youth as being politically affiliated and there is a general
perception that preference is given to politically affiliated youth to access support and
opportunities such as micro-finance schemes or land for establishing small scale
businesses. Youth association leaders were also described as being older, politically-
affliated and unrepresentative of the majority of youth.

Membership of the Bahr Dar Zone Youth Association is open to all youth from
urban and some peri-urban kebeles aged between 15 and 29. The Association currently
has around 5,000 members in Bahr Dar. The association works at both zonal and kebele
level and its activities include: facilitating an enabling environment for youth investors;
organizing youth groups and facilitating credit services for establishing micro and small
enterprises; working with other local CBOs to support orphans; and working with the
police and courts to promote child protection and youth justice. The Association
leadership is voluntary and does not deliberately set out to be representative of specific
groups of youth, although there are women leaders.

The Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs (BLSA) is not specifically youth-focused
but runs various programs that target youth, particularly OVCs (orphans and vulnerable
children). They also provide support to disadvantaged groups, including disabled groups,
and provide guidance and counseling for those vulnerable to social problems. Although
the Bureau works with children based on the Convention for the Rights of the Child
(CRC), it does not have a specific youth strategy and admits that current capacity does
not allow the institution to address the widespread social problems that exist. There is
still lack of clarity on the respective roles and responsibilities of the Bureau of Labour
and Social Affairs and the Bureau of Youth and Sport – responsibility for women and
youth-tailored support packages have recently moved from the former to the latter.
According to the Bureau, the National Action Plan for women and children is outdated
and has not been revised in relation to the CRC.

The Bureau of Youth and Sport has a regional plan for youth development based on
the National Youth Policy and regional youth development packages of different kinds
have been developed. The BYS has signed a memorandum of understanding with the

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Bureau of Women‟s Affairs to mainstream youth issues in their respective development
plans and to coordinate implementation efforts. The BYS highlighted the following gaps
in policy implementation:
       Poor mass mobilization and awareness creation amongst youth
       No coordinated structures extending down to the kebele level to support policy
       Poor commitment by some offices on policy implementation
       Poor capacity by some organizations in policy implementation
       Policy does not give priority to youth in land redistribution
       Credit services are not youth friendly (ie. collateral and fixed assets are required
        to access credit) and do not address the demands and needs of youth who want
        to start up small scale income generating schemes or micro enterprises

The BYS highlighted that there is no systematic or coordinated mechanism for youth to
voice their concerns or to hold government or other service providers accountable to
youth. Even if there were, the BYS felt that there may be limited capacity to respond to
such concerns. With regard to more vulnerable youth (e.g. PLWH, commercial sex
workers, disabled youth) although they are mentioned in the policy, there are few
specific government programmes tailored to these groups. These groups (apart from
HIV and AIDS groups) tend not to have strong organizations or movements supporting

The HIV-AIDS Prevention and Control Office (HAPCO) currently has the
mandate to formulate the government‟s policy on HIV and AIDS prevention and control.
Part of this mandate involves organizing groups of HIV and AIDS affected people in
income generating activities (IGAs) and policy/advocacy work. HAPCO includes
university students as a group vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, along with street children
and unemployed youth. The reasons given by the HAPCO representative included:
students are increasingly being target as a most-at-risk group for HIV&AIDS; street
children are vulnerable to rape, many are rural migrants and become involved in
commercial sex work (encouraged by brokers); unemployed youth cannot access
recreational centres (and there are few recreational centres) and many therefore spend
their time in chat houses – this leads them to addiction, poor behavioural choices and
vulnerability to HIV. HAPCO works with commercial sex workers providing peer
education, condom provision, support for IGAs and organization for protection against
abuse by clients. They also provide HIV/AIDS awareness training to youth in the
workplace and provide targeted support to female youth, with a focus on rural migrants.

There are currently few reported state institutions working with commercial sex
workers. One factor is that they are usually not officially recognized by the kebeles and
youth associations. The commercial sex workers‟ FGD mentioned one individual from
the Womens‟ Affairs Bureau who is supporting them, but this is through her own
initiative rather than because of any structured support from the Bureau. In a later
interview with this woman, she admitted that there is no budget allocated specifically to
working with sex workers. The team did not find out if they target domestic workers in
any way.

The government has recently introduced an initiative to try to reduce the influence of
brokers on migrants by organizing the brokers into legal entities and providing them

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

with awareness raising on child protection and related issues. A child protection unit
under the Bahr Dar police has been established in the Bahr Dar bus station, the point of
arrival for most rural migrants. This unit is supposed to provide advice to migrants on
the dangers of becoming involved in commercial sex and to facilitate their return back to
their home area if they want to go back. However, there are reports that this is not
working: that (male) representatives from the unit support the brokers‟ service rather
than convince migrants to return home; that female migrants are raped by male brokers
and other men working in the bus station; that whilst legal brokers are only allowed to
work in the bus station up to 4pm, after that others working in the bus station persuade
rural migrants arriving late to engage in commercial sex work.


The matrix overleaf is the latest version of the analysis for the urban/ peri-urban youth
group, based on CARE‟s unifying framework. This matrix was initially developed during
the Bahr Dar assessment and has been revised a number of times based on feedback
from stakeholders, discussions within CARE Ethiopia, and a „hierarching exercise‟ by the
urban/ peri-urban youth program design team. Note that the matrix is not disaggregated
by male or female youth, by migrant or native youth, by street youth and those with
shelter, or by sub-groups of vulnerable youth such as CSWs or domestic workers. It has
been suggested by various reviewers that we disaggregate the UCPVs and develop
separate matrices for these (and possibly other) distinct sub-groups.

In addition to the comments and suggestions throughout this report, other gaps in the
analysis identified by the DRD-PQ, by the Program Design team and stakeholders at the
April 2010 workshop include:

 Analysis for each of the sub-groups, the extent to which they are vulnerable, infected
   or and/or affected by HIV and/or handicapped. Whether HIV is a driving factor of
   migration. E.g. are children / youth forced to drop out of school to take care of a
   PLHIV at home and can this lead to migration at some point? Are children forced to
   look for work in cities to replace the incomes from an HIV infected bread winner in
   the household?
Role of Brokers
 Who are the “brokers” and how do they operate. Are they operating individually or
   in groups? Is their “head hunting” starting in cities only (e.g at bus stations) or does it
   even start earlier in rural areas?
 Role of brokers specific to each sub group e.g. sex workers, domestic workers, daily
   labourers (how are daily labourers recruited?)
Policies/ legal framework
 Information on the Ministry of Education (e.g. vocational training policies, catch-up
   program for youth that dropped out of school, etc) and Ministry of Health (SRH
   programs for youth, programs for addicted youth?, etc).
 Information on legal protection of those people who are engaged in the daily labor,
   commercial sex work and domestic work
 Government policies/ strategies related to rural-urban migration
 Government policy for land allocation for youth IGAs in urban areas

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

  Working definition of „migration‟ for this impact group e.g. „permanent‟/seasonal
   migration, forced/ voluntary migration
 Whether links are maintained with the rural home and family members for migrants
   and what these links are. Are the youth bringing or sending money? For what? Are
   they physically visiting? For how long? How is the frequency of visits / contacts
   evolving over time? Reducing? Increasing? Do they get visits from family and friends?
   How about links between native urban vulnerable youth and their parents?
 Trends in family breakdown due to divorce, in rural and urban areas
 Trends in youth rural-urban migration, which youth are migrating and why, to what
Working definitions
   Define „unemployment‟ - who are the unemployed? – daily labourers, informally
   Define the terms „urban‟ e.g. residing in urban areas e.g.. Nazareth, AA, Bahr Dar
    etc, and „peri-urban‟ – where are these locations?
   The suggestion is to use the Ethiopian government‟s definitions of „urban‟ and avoid
    terms like „peri-urban‟ unless specifically defined in government policy

               Human condition                                  Social position                                    Enabling environment
Immediate       Unemployment/ harmful employment                  Hopelessness, low self esteem, lack of            Financial & other services not tailored to
causes          Low/ irregular income                              initiative and motivation                          vulnerable youth e.g. CSWs, PLHIV
                Limited or no capital or assets                   Family‟s low expectation/ aspiration for          Political affiliation of youth influences
                Lack access to basic services (adequate            youth                                              allocation of resources
                 housing, education, health)                       Lack of voice/ power in family & community        Limited private investment for business/
                Few employment or income generating               Increasing acceptability of chat                   employment generation for youth
                 opportunities                                                                                        Lack of youth clubs/ recreational centers
                                                                                                                      Increasing availability of chat
Intermediate    Lack of life skills                                Stigma & discrimination (CSWs, PLHIV)            Ministry of Youth and Sport & other bodies
causes          Low vocational, technical or entrepreneurial      Exploitation of female migrant youth by            responsible for youth are under-resourced
                 skills (i.e. marketable skills)                    brokers, (for sex work, domestic work)            Limited technical & financial assistance to
                Relatively low educational attainment             High domestic workload of female youth             youth for IGAs
                Lack of secondary education facilities for        Low priority to female youth‟s 2y/ further        Limited vocational, life skills training and
                 rural youth forcing migration for schooling        education, esp. domestic workers, CSWs             services to encourage entrepreneurship
                Lack of access to credit/ microfinance for        Absence of social networks for youth esp.         Legal protection and justice systems not
                 IGAs                                               female youth e.g rural migrants, DWs,              accessible or responsive to vulnerable
                Awareness of HIV/ STDs transmission, risks,       Limited access to info/ awareness on rights        female youth (e.g. CSWs, domestic
                 treatment not leading to behaviour change          for vulnerable youth e.g. DWs, CSWs                workers, victims of GBV)
Underlying      Demographics/ Rapid population growth/            Traditional attitudes limit female youth‟s        Vulnerable youth lack ability to claim
causes           over-population (rural and urban areas)            opportunities and empowerment (early/              resources and services (lack political space)
                Landlessness/ limited access to land driving       forced marriage, GBV, gender division of          Lack of enforcement of legal protection &
                 migration from rural areas                         labour, work opportunities)                        justice for vulnerable youth e.g. female
                Limited access to land for business/ IGAs         High prevalence & tolerance of HTPs and            youth GBV victims, orphans
                 (urban)                                            GBV                                               Some national laws e.g. on early marriage,
                Few/no off-farm productive livelihood             Cultural and social barriers to tackling GBV       not practically enforced at regional level
                 opportunities driving migration of youth                                                             Overlaps/ lack of coordination in roles and
                Female youth economic marginalization and                                                             responsibilities for policy implementation
                 dependence on men                                                                                     (e.g. MYS, MLSA, Women‟s Affairs)
                                                                                                                      Promotion of chat as cash/ export crop &
                                                                                                                       limited will/ ability to control production or

As already noted, a more thorough analysis of sub-groups, target groups and
stakeholders is needed. A starting point for this is the analysis done at the April 2010
workshop with stakeholders in Addis.

Based on the UCPV assessment findings, the initial analysis is shown below. Sub-groups
of most vulnerable resource-poor youth would include female youth, rural-urban
migrants (male and female), commercial sex workers, domestic workers, daily labourers,
with youth living with HIV/AIDS, youth who are single or double-parent orphans and
disabled youth being included in these other vulnerable groups; the target population
may include parents and partners, schools and youth clubs and associations, and the
kebele offices and government offices with direct responsibility for youth affairs; and
stakeholders may include employers of youth, informal institutions and organizations
such as Parent-Teachers Associations, idirs and formal institutions such as the police and
other government offices and private service providers responsible for service provision
to youth and others in urban/ peri-urban areas.
Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Figure 1: Impact group, Sub groups, Target and Stakeholder Mapping

                                      Teacher Association                               PTA
 Agriculture &
 Rural Development
                                                                                                                        Education Bureau
 Bureau                                                                                 Land Use Admin
                           Bureau of youth
                           & Sport                       Resource-poor youth
                                                           in urban & peri-
                                                              urban areas                        Women’s                    Police
                                                          vulnerable to HIV                      Affairs Office
                         Parents or
Health Bureau            Guardians
                                                          Female rural
                                                          migrants;                                                         CBOs (Idirs)
                                                          Commercial sex                            Women’s,
                                                          workers;                                  Youth &
                                                          Domestic workers                          Associations
                         Employers of
Kebele Education
                         DWs and
& Training Bureau                                                                                                       ACSI

                                                                                              MSE office
                                        Bureau of
        Woreda & Kebele                 Labour &                                                                   Girls Club ‘Set temari
        Administration                                                           HAPCO                             amakari committee”
                                        Social Affairs

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010


Most of the key references are listed in the body of the report. Additional references not
included but which are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING are:

This contains a wealth of informative data on urban and rural adolescents (10-24) from
demographic and health surveys and is essential reading.

Methods for understanding urban poverty and livelihoods; Arjan de Haan, Michael
Drinkwater, Carole Rakodi and Karen Westley
This is a 2002(?) paper for DFID that explores participatory tools for urban livelihoods
analysis; it contains an example from an urban program in Madagascar

Other trends that Rosa Singer suggested investigating further include how the following
factors might be interlinked to the situational, local trends of vulnerable youth:
1) Environmental factors – like drought and erosion
2) World food crisis and local food insecurity
3) World economic crisis and Ethiopia‟s economic situation

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010

Situation analysis and UCPV assessment, Urban and peri-urban female youth, March 2010


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