Adolescents and Youth

In Ethiopia, almost 42 percent of the total population is between the ages of 10 and 29 years. Unfortunately, increased poverty, social inequalities, low quality of education, gender discrimination, widespread unemployment, weakened health systems, and rapid globalization are the realities in which young people grow.

In Ethiopia, almost 42 percent of the total population is between the ages of 10 and 29 years. Unfortunately, increased poverty, social inequalities, low quality of education, gender discrimination, widespread unemployment, weakened health systems, and rapid globalization are the realities in which young people grow. These in turn led adolescent and youth to have limited understanding of their body development and issues attached to their sexuality coupled with various socio-cultural factors exposing them to early sexual debut, child marriage, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and complications like fistula, HIV infections including other STIs.

In view of this, different sector ministries in Ethiopia have made significant efforts to accommodate the diverse needs of young people. The Growth and Transformational Plan (GTP I and II) and other sectoral policies and strategies have put gender and youth empowerment and equity as one pillar giving special entitlement to young people. Moreover, good opportunity was created in education sector for the expansion of adolescents and youths sexual and reproductive health programs using the structures in schools to design and implement targeted SRH and life -skills programs.

Nevertheless, youth sexual reproductive health remains to be one of the challenges the country is faced with. These challenges could be minimized by integrating services within sexual reproductive health programs and by strengthening linkage between SRH programs and different sectors like education, micro finance institutions and other livelihood opportunities.

Focusing on adolescents and youth in the age group 10-24 UNFPA is working to empower adolescents and young people to exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality. UNFPA’s Country Programme targets vulnerable and marginalized adolescents and youth with a particular focus on married adolescent girls, domestic workers, sex workers and their clients, young people with disabilities, orphans and street children, and students in higher educational institutions.

Accordingly all-round activities are undertaken to address the multi-sectoral needs of young people. The strategies employed in this connection are promoting youth dialogue and community mobilization; supporting life-skills training; building capacity of selected youth serving organizations and partnership with media on sexual and  reproductive health/HIV and gender issues.

UNFPA is also contributing to efforts of the government to prevent and mitigate the spread of HIV and improve the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people through providing age specific and culturally appropriate knowledge, skills and opportunities required to make a successful transition to adulthood. It is being implemented in partnership with governmental and non-governmental, community and faith based organizations at the federal, regional and wereda levels.

UNFPA through the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme on Rights Based Approach on Adolescent and Youth Development is working to ensure that marginalized and hard-to-reach adolescents and youth are reached. As evidences indicate, disabled students are particularly disadvantaged and are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and HIV infection, while having less access to information and services.