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UNFPA signed a co-financing agreement with the Italian Government on December 2 on a project entitled “Economic and Social Empowerment and Protection of Women and Girls from Harmful Traditional Practices.” The project which is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation will be implemented in four districts in the Wolayta and Hadiya Zones of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region in a period of 16 months and will have a budget of 500,000 Euros.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, H.E. Giuseppe Mistretta, Ambassador of Italy to Ethiopia said that “Italy has always been greatly committed to promoting gender equality and women empowerment, since a sustainable, human, economic, social, environmental and inclusive growth cannot be achieved without recognition of women’s rights and roles”.

Mr. Faustin Yao, UNFPA Representative, said on his part that the project would contribute to the economic and social empowerment of most vulnerable girls and women and elimination of Female Genital Mutilation and child marriage in the country.  

Ms. Ginevra Letizia, Head of the Addis Ababa Office of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, underlined the continuous support of her office to the economic and social empowerment of women and the protection of women and girls from Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages. This initiative is in line with Ethiopia’s second Growth and Transformation Plan and the Sustainable Development Goals, she added.

The project will implement strategic activities on economic and social empowerment of most vulnerable female headed households; school level interventions to empower girls; and community mobilization and awareness creation on harmful practices and sexual and reproductive health.

Three sector bureaus of the Region, a civil society organization and one higher education institution will be involved in the implementation of the project.