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Food Security: Malnourishment, periodic violence, and a high incidence of child labour have a negative impact on the well-being of many Ethiopian children. According to UNICEF, an exceptionally high number of Ethiopian children are malnourished. Malnutrition accounts for over 50 per cent of deaths among children below the age of 5.1 The latest Demographic Health Survey indicates that the prevalence of severe acute malnutrition in children under five averages 2.2 percent throughout Ethiopia. However, UNICEF estimates that over 270,000 children under five in “hot spots”, i.e., the most food-insecure districts, will need therapeutic feeding treatment for severe acute malnutrition during 2010.2


An astonishing 12-13 per cent of the population, i.e. more than four million Ethiopian children are orphans, missing one or both parents. AIDS is a big contributor to the soaring number of orphans.


Formal education in Ethiopia began in 1908. Because of misguided policies and low levels of educational standards even when compared to other African countries, Ethiopia could not bring about significant changes. Many people agree that the education system suffered shortcomings in quality, quantity, efficiency and relevance.

Child Protection

Violence against children is widespread. Almost all of the children asked in a 2006 study claimed that they had encountered violence at home, in school or in their community. Many children are living without their parents, making them vulnerable to exploitation. An estimated 450,000 children are living on the streets in Ethiopia. Of the more than 30 per cent of adolescent girls living away from home in Addis Abeba, 20 per cent have run away from child marriages.3 Ethiopian girls are on average 17 years old when they marry.


In Ethiopia many children work long hours in difficult conditions. An estimated 85 per cent of 5-17 year old children were engaged in economic and housekeeping activities, limiting their attendance and performance at school.4 Although reliable data is missing, a large number of children are most likely being exploited in the worst forms of child labour, such as child prostitution and trafficking.5


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