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Ethiopia

Photo: Plan International

Download the GAGE Ethiopia overview

 

The context: While birth rates are falling in Ethiopia, over half of all Ethiopians are under the age of 20. Poverty rates are also declining but nearly one-quarter of all citizens live below the poverty line. Moreover, Ethiopia is one of five countries accounting for the world’s largest absolute numbers of people living in poverty.

Our research: In Ethiopia, which is located in the Horn of Africa, we are following over 7,000 adolescent girls and boys from rural, urban and pastoralist communities in three regions: Afar, Amhara and Oromia. In addition to the adolescents themselves, our research includes their siblings, caregivers, teachers and other community members.

Education and learning: Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in equitably expanding primary education over the last two decades. Even so, dropout rates remain high, with only about half of young people completing grade 5. Enrolment rates are less than 10% in upper-secondary school, and learning outcomes are extremely low. Differences between girls and boys vary by region and age. While at a national level and across all grade levels girls arenow more likely to be enrolled than boys, in some regions –including Afar and Somali –adolescent girls are effectively excluded from school.

Bodily autonomy, integrity and freedom from violence: Adolescent girls and boys face distinct risks from different forms of violence, due to gender norms. Girls are highly vulnerable to child marriage, with two in five married before the age of 18; to female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C), with nearly half undergoing the practice; and to sexual violence, with one-third of married girls aged 15–19 having experienced violence at the hands of their partner. Violence by other perpetrators is common as well. One survey, for example, found that nine out of 10 girls had been physically abused and seven out of 10 had been psychologically abused, most often at the hands of their mothers. Boys tend to experience more violent discipline at home and at school, and are more likely to engage in –and be victimised by –bullying and youth violence.

Health, nutrition, and sexual and reproductive health: Due to the expansion of Ethiopia’s Health Extension Worker programme and a reduction in food insecurity, adolescents have good access to basic preventative care and are generally better nourished than older cohorts. Ethiopian adolescents’ exposure to SRH-related information is mixed. Messaging about contraception and HIV is widespread. The 2016 DHS, for example, found that 61% of adolescent girls between the ages of 15 and 19 (and nearly 74% of adolescent boys) knew that HIV could be prevented by using condoms, and that girls were quite likely to have been exposed to a family planning message on the radio (24%) or at a community event (27%). However, broader SRH education is rare. Social norms that leave sexual topics taboo and stigmatise girls’ sexuality, mean that most younger adolescents have limited information about puberty, that girls approach menarche with shame and fear, and that many girls cannot access contraception due to social barriers.

Psychosocial well-being: Very little is known about adolescents’ psychosocial well-being, though mental health problems appear to affect a considerable number of children and adolescents (between 12% and 25%). Girls who are married or working as domestic workers tend to be socially isolated and especially likely to be depressed and anxious.

Voice and agency: Girls’ access to voice and agency is more limited than that of boys, due to social norms that primarily value them as wives and mothers.Married girls’ voice and agency is particularly limited, given that they tend to be younger than their husbands. As girls’ access to education (and school-basedgirls’ clubs) and employment has improved, they are becoming more active agents in their own lives.

Economic empowerment: We know little about the economic empowerment of adolescents. Younger adolescents are effectively invisible and older adolescents are almost universally considered as part of the larger group called ‘youth’, which includes young adults up until the age of 30. Rates of unemployment for youth and women are high, in large part because despite economic growth the economy cannot keep up with population growth, and most youth and women are confined to the poorly paid and poorly protected informal labour market.

The evidence base: The evidence base on Ethiopian adolescents is considerable – especially regarding education, child marriage, and sexual and reproductive health. However, it is clear from our Evidence Mappings that there is insufficient attention to age differentiation and that there is very uneven geographical coverage,and thus insufficient information on the ways in which Ethiopia’s diverse cultural norms and practices shape adolescent experiences.

Ethiopia Child Research and Policy Forum

The Child Research and Policy Forum (CRPF) seminar, currently funded by GAGE, has been held at the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth since 2010. Read more.

Related publications

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03.12.20
‘Girls don’t shout if they are raped… that is taboo’: exploring barriers to Ethiopian adolescents’ freedom from age- and gender-based violence
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‘They did not take me to a clinic’: Ethiopian adolescents’ access to health and nutrition information and services
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Disentangling urban adolescents' vulnerability to age- and gender-based violence through a capability lens in Ethiopia and Rwanda
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27.10.20
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08.10.20
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24.09.20
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Ethiopia
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Method tools and guides
23.09.20
Ethiopia round 2 survey 2019/2020
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12.08.20
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11.08.20
Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of street-connected youth and young people involved in commercial sex work
Ethiopia
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Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of street-connected youth and young people involved in commercial sex work
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11.08.20
Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of youth living with HIV
Ethiopia
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11.08.20
Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of domestic workers
Ethiopia
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Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of domestic workers
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11.08.20
Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of youth with disabilities
Ethiopia
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11.08.20 | Policy briefs and policy notes | Ethiopia
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11.08.20
Experiences of vulnerable urban youth under covid-19: the case of youth working in factories and industrial parks
Ethiopia
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11.08.20
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Ethiopia
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29.07.20
Child marriage risks in the context of covid-19 in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
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17.06.20
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Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Ethiopia
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Method tools and guides
05.06.20
GAGE Ethiopia: overview
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05.06.20 | Method tools and guides | Ethiopia
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Policy briefs and policy notes
27.04.20
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30.01.20
Ethiopia baseline survey 2017/18
Ethiopia
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22.11.19
Do restrictive gender attitudes and norms influence physical and mental health during very young adolescence? Evidence from Bangladesh and Ethiopia
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Ethiopia
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Policy briefs and policy notes
09.09.19
Child marriage, intimate partner violence and mental health among young Ethiopian women
Psychosocial well-being
Ethiopia
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Journal articles
06.08.19
Raising the visibility of IDPs: a case study of gender- and age-specific vulnerabilities among Ethiopian IDP adolescents
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Policy briefs and policy notes
02.06.19
Leave no adolescent behind: the gender- and age-specific vulnerabilities of adolescent refugees and IDPs
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Adolescent psychosocial well-being and voice and agency in Ethiopia
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Ethiopia
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21.05.19
Gender and regional inequalities in adolescent bodily integrity and freedom from violence in Ethiopia
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Ethiopia
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21.05.19
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21.05.19
Gender and regional inequalities in adolescent psychosocial well-being and voice and agency
Psychosocial well-being
Ethiopia
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20.05.19
Adolescent health, nutrition and sexual and reproductive health in Ethiopia
Sexual reproductive health and nutrition
Ethiopia
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20.05.19
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Ethiopia
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Education and learning
Ethiopia
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20.05.19
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Ethiopia
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Adolescent bodily integrity and freedom from violence in Ethiopia
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Ethiopia
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20.05.19
Gender and regional inequalities in adolescent education and learning in Ethiopia
Education and learning
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Policy briefs and policy notes
19.05.19
Gender and regional inequalities in adolescent economic empowerment
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Ethiopia
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21.03.19
Leave no one behind: an agenda for action to enhance the full capabilities of adolescents with disabilities in Ethiopia
Economic empowerment
Ethiopia
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Leave no one behind: an agenda for action to enhance the full capabilities of adolescents with disabilities in Ethiopia
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Journal articles
11.03.19
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Ethiopia | Rwanda
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10.12.18
Policy and legal analysis notes: a review of the Strategic Plan for a Multisectoral Response to Violence Against Women and Children in Ethiopia
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Policy briefs and policy notes
24.07.18
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Bangladesh | Ethiopia
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Evidence reviews and evidence digests
20.12.17
Adolescent girls' capabilities in Ethiopia: a synopsis of the evidence
Bodily integrity and freedom from violence
Ethiopia
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Adolescent girls' capabilities in Ethiopia: a synopsis of the evidence
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20.12.17
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Bodily integrity and freedom from violence
Ethiopia
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Adolescent girls' capabilities in Ethiopia: the state of the evidence on programme effectiveness
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Evidence reviews and evidence digests
20.12.17
Adolescent girls' capabilities in Ethiopia: the state of the evidence
Bodily integrity and freedom from violence
Ethiopia
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Adolescent girls' capabilities in Ethiopia: the state of the evidence
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Reports
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Exploring Ethiopian adolescents' gendered experiences and perspectives
Bodily integrity and freedom from violence
Ethiopia
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Exploring Ethiopian adolescents' gendered experiences and perspectives
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