Ethiopia Endorses First National Child Policy

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Save the Children in Ethiopia actively participated in drafting and finalization of the National Child Policy that has been disseminated and familiarized among wider stakeholders at various levels.  The government has also expressed its commitment to develop the implementation strategy that would guide and take the policy forward. Save the Children has been part of the development of this strategy through providing technical and financial support to the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to this end.

In July 2017, the Central Statistics Agency estimate announced the total population of Ethiopia is now at over 94 million, with children out (under the age of 18) accounting to more than half of this figure. However, the country did not have a national child policy. Recently, child wellbeing and protection issues have become emerging issues in Ethiopia. Hence, the development of the National Child Policy and its implementation has become a national agenda.  Save the Childrenhas taken a number of initiatives to initiate the development of the policy and closely worked with the government to set this national agenda as a way to address competing issues of the Ethiopian children in a dynamic social and economic environment.  While we are proud of the achievements so far, we remain committed to ensuring this policy is implemented.   

 Save the Children continues to lobby and advocate for children’s wellbeing and protection in Ethiopia. Chief among such efforts is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) we have signed with the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MoWCA) to strengthen the national child rights system and structures, and mechanisms. Following this, we were able to sign a three-year project agreement with the Ministry commencing in 2013. This, in turn, has led to the development and implementation of key General Measures of Implementations (GMIs) that constitute concrete steps to establish viable systems and mechanisms to ensure that all children are able to realize and enjoy their protection entitlements   as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC). 

 Save the Children also works to enhance duty-bearers’ capacity to fulfill their obligations towards children by campaigning and advocating for sound policy and legal reforms. In collaboration with Addis Abeba University, we have produced a research on the situation of child rights in Ethiopia aiming at influencing policies and practices. Save the Children has also positioned itself to encourage policy makers design and implement strategies that address existing child rights policy and strategy gaps. Relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs have used the findings of this research for policy and strategy development as indicated above. In other words, our strong partnership and long-lasting engagement with the Ministry has helped to realize the development of the National Children’s Policy and its strategy that has brought relevant government bodies at various levels together. These include the federal ministries (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Justice) and their respective subnational level Bureaus, Save the Children, UNICEF and many other partners and NGOs. Save the Children has played central role by actively engaging in a National Task Force to facilitate the review of the draft policy and enrich its content until its announcement as a national document. As an active member of the National Task Force, Save the Children facilitated different national consultative workshops aimed at reviewing and improving the Policy. We have held talks with the government to be considerate of many competing and timely issues during the development of the policy; including but not limited to child participation, stakeholders’ capacity building, strengthening coordination mechanisms, clearly stipulating the national and the sub-national child focused data with indicators, committing for child responsive budgeting and accountability mechanisms; and others. In addition, we have encouraged discussions that resulted in concrete commitments to address the unique issues of children with disabilities. All of these commitments have been included in the policy. Save the Children also played a key role in disseminating the policy document to both national and regional levels. We plan to   continue engaging with the government through our Child Rights Governance Advocacy and campaign works to ensure the government allocates sufficient funding for the implementation of the policy.  

 The National Child Policy is aligned with the basic principles of the United Nations Convention of the Right of the Child and African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.