UNICEF Ethiopia renews its Ambassadorship with Hannah Godefa

12 January, 2015, Addis Ababa: Today, UNICEF Ethiopia renewed its ambassadorship with seventeen year old Hannah Godefa, a citizen of Canada with Ethiopian origin, at a signing ceremony held at its premises. The event was attended by Hannah Godefa, UNICEF National Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hannah’s father Ato Godefa Asegahegn, H.E Roman Gebreselassie, Chief of government whip at the House of People’s Representative, W/ro Tsehay Bahta, Head of Capacity Building and Social Affairs Standing Committee of Addis Ababa City Administration Council, H.E Mr. David Usher, Ambassador of Canada to Ethiopia, Ms. Elizabeth Hailu, Manager Customer Services Ticket Offices, Ethiopian Airlines, Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of  UNICEF Ethiopia, and members of the media.

Hannah Godefa's Ambassadorship renewal ceremony with UNICEF Ethiopia
UNICEF Ethiopia renewed its Hanah Godefa’s national ambassadorship at a signing ceremony held on 12 January 2015, at its premises, Addis Ababa. Left to right Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of UNICEF Ethiopia and Hannah Godefa in the presence of (left to right at the back standing)- W/ro Tsehay Bahta, Head of Capacity Building and Social Affairs Standing Committee of Addis Ababa City Administration Council, H.E W/ro Roman Gebreselassie, Chief of Government Whip at the House of People’s Representative, H.E. Mr. David Usher, Ambassador of Canada and Ms. Elizabeth Hailu, Manager Customer Services Ticket Offices. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Ayene

Speaking on the occasion, Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of UNICEF Ethiopia said, “I’m delighted to announce that today, UNICEF Ethiopia renews the Ambassadorship of Hannah Godefa as its National Ambassador to Ethiopia for two more years. Hannah is a role model for children, her peers and especially girls. Since her appointment in January 2013, we have been proud of her commitment and dedication to advocate alongside Government for women’s and children’s issue in Ethiopia and globally. She is a testimony to what is possible if one is determined.”

At the signing ceremony, Hannah on her part said, “When I remember my first visit to a UNICEF Ethiopia project over two years ago in Hawassa, I immediately think of the smiling faces of the teenage girls I now more closely resemble. They sat down and had a traditional coffee ceremony with me, explaining the benefits of the alternative income programme they were participating in and their life stories. I was in complete awe of the way they transformed their limitations and hardships in life into opportunities and sustainable success. Most of all, I was amazed at how they credited UNICEF for supplementing their personal achievement in the initiative. It was at that moment I knew, UNICEF is an organization and family I wholeheartedly wanted to be a part of.”

Hannah Godefa's Ambassadorship renewal ceremony with UNICEF Ethiopia
UNICEF Ethiopia renewed Hannah Godefa’s national ambassadorship at a signing ceremony held on 12 January 2015, at its premises, Addis Ababa. Left to right Patrizia DiGiovanni, Officer in Charge of UNICEF Ethiopia and Hannah Godefa. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Ayene

During her ambassadorship, Hannah has been engaged in numerous advocacy activities representing UNICEF-giving a voice to women and children globally. On these occasions, she has served as keynote speaker, a panellist and a moderator with high level government officials, business leaders and advocates from the non-profit sector. Her participation and contribution at the World Economic Forum in January 2014, with H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, H.E. Mr. Paul Kagame, Co-Chair, MDG Advocacy Group and world leaders that focused on issues very close to her heart – innovation on investing in girl’s education – has been exceptional.

H.E. Mr. David Usher, Ambassador of Canada on his part underscored, “As we celebrate the fifty years diplomatic relations between Canada and Ethiopia, Hannah stands an ambassador not only to UNICEF but also to Ethiopians, Canadians as well as the Ethiopian Diaspora.”

Ms. Elizabeth Hailu, Manager Customer Services Ticket Offices, Ethiopian Airlines said, “As part of our corporate social responsibility, it is our duty to give back to the society. Today, we pledge once more to stand by Hannah to support her by providing free tickets to wherever her destination takes her to undertake her humanitarian functions.”

 

Scaling up high-impact solutions for Ethiopia’s newborn

After convening the 2013 African Leadership for Child Survival A Promise Renewed, a regional forum that called for greater accountability for Africa’s mothers and children, the Government of Ethiopia is leading by example. With support from UNICEF and other partners, the government is implementing a bold strategy that targets the country’s hardest-to-reach mothers and newborns. The three-pronged strategy is scaling up the coverage of community-based new-born care, which includes sepsis treatment; immediate essential newborn care in health centres and district hospitals; and neonatal intensive care units in hospitals.

Scaling Up High-Impact Solutions For Ethiopia’s Newborns
© UNICEF-ETHA2013_00486-Ose

The combination of innovative, evidence-based strategies and the government’s long legacy of leadership on maternal, newborn and child survival is yielding impressive results. Ethiopia achieved MDG 4 three years ahead of schedule by cutting under-five mortality from 205 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 68 per 1,000 in 2012. Ethiopia’s progress illustrates that countries can achieve dramatic declines in child mortality, despite constrained resources. It puts Ethiopia on a trajectory to bend the curve and achieve a major goal of A Promise Renewed — 20 under-five deaths per 1,000 live births by 2035.

For more information read the story on http://apromiserenewed.org/Ethiopia.html

 

 

Despite dramatic progress on child survival, 1 million children die during their first day of life from mostly preventable causes

Analysis points to health system failures at critical time around birth as a significant contributing factor to these needless deaths

New York, 16 September 2014 – Child survival rates have increased dramatically since 1990, during which time the absolute number of under-five deaths has been slashed in half from 12.7 million to 6.3 million, according to a report released today by UNICEF.
The 2014 Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed progress report, indicates that the first 28 days of a newborn’s life are the most vulnerable with almost 2.8 million babies dying each year during this period. One million of them don’t even live to see their second day of life.

Many of these deaths could be easily prevented with simple, cost-effective interventions before, during and immediately after birth.

Analysis points to failures in the health system during the critical time around delivery as a significant contributing factor to these unnecessary deaths. It also shows that there is considerable variation – from country to country and between rich and poor – in the take-up and quality of health services available to pregnant women and their babies.

Key findings in this study include:

  • Around half of all women do not receive the recommended minimum of four antenatal care visits during their pregnancy.
  • Complications during labour and delivery are responsible for around one quarter of all neonatal deaths worldwide. In 2012, 1 in 3 babies (approximately 44 million) entered the world without adequate medical support.
  • Evidence shows that initiating breastfeeding within one hour of birth reduces the risk of neonatal death by 44 per cent, yet less than half of all newborns worldwide receive the benefits of immediate breastfeeding.
  • Quality of care is grossly lacking even for mothers and babies who have contact with the health system. A UNICEF analysis of 10 high mortality countries indicates that less than 10 percent of babies delivered by a skilled birth attendant went on to receive the seven required post-natal interventions, including early initiation of breastfeeding. Similarly, less than 10 per cent of mothers who saw a health worker during pregnancy received a core set of eight prenatal interventions.
  • Those countries with some of the highest number of neonatal deaths also have a low coverage of postnatal care for mothers. Ethiopia (84,000 deaths; 7 per cent coverage); Bangladesh (77,000; 27 per cent); Nigeria (262,000; 38 per cent); Kenya (40,000; 42 per cent).
  • Babies born to mothers under the age of 20 and over the age of 40 have higher mortality rates.

Additionally, the report shows that the education level and age of the mother has a significant bearing on the chances of her baby’s survival. Neonatal mortality rates among mothers with no education are nearly twice as high for those with secondary schooling and above.

“The data clearly demonstrate that an infant’s chances of survival increase dramatically when their mother has sustained access to quality health care during pregnancy and delivery,” said Geeta Rao Gupta, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “We need to make sure that these services, where they exist, are fully utilised and that every contact between a mother and her health worker really counts. Special efforts must also be made to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached.”
Inequality, particularly in health care access, remains high in the least developed countries: women from the richest households are almost three times as likely as those from the poorest to deliver their baby with a skilled birth attendant. Despite this, the report suggests that the equity gap in under-5 child mortality is steadily reducing. In every region, except sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of under-five mortality among the poorest sections of society is declining faster than in the richest. More significantly, worldwide, the poor are registering greater absolute gains in child survival than their wealthier compatriots. “It is deeply heartening that the equity gap in child survival is continuing to narrow,” said Rao Gupta. “We need to harness this momentum and use it to drive forward programmes that focus resources on the poorest and marginalised households; a strategy which has the potential to save the largest number of children’s lives.”

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Note to editors:

About A Promise Renewed

A Promise Renewed is a global movement that seeks to advance Every Woman Every Child – a strategy launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize and intensify global action to improve the health of women and children around – through action and advocacy to accelerate reductions in preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths.

The movement emerged from the Child Survival Call to Action convened in June 2012 by the Governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States, in collaboration with UNICEF, to examine ways to spur progress on child survival. It is based on the ethos that child survival is a shared responsibility and everyone – governments, civil society, the private sector and individuals – has a vital contribution to make.

Since June 2012, 178 governments and many civil society organizations, private sector organizations and individuals have signed a pledge to redouble their efforts, and are turning these commitments into action and advocacy. More details on A Promise Renewed are available at www.apromiserenewed.org.

About Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed 2014 Progress Report

This year’s annual report focuses on newborn survival. This report not only presents levels and trends in under-five and neonatal mortality since 1990, but also provides analysis on key interventions for mother and newborn.

About UNICEF UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org/

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
For further information please contact: Rita Ann Wallace, UNICEF New York, +1 917 213-4034; rwallace@unicef.org  Melanie Sharpe, UNICEF New York, +1 917-485-3344, msharpe@unicef.org Najwa Mekki, UNICEF New York, nmekki@unicef.org, +1917 209 1804

 

New Year, potable water- How we spent our Ethiopian New year holiday

By Simon Odong

Kule Refugee Camp, Gambella, September 11, 2014- While the Americans were commemorating the 13th anniversary of 9/11 attack  on the world trade centre, the Ethiopians celebrated their 2007 new year day, we were with the South Sudanese Refugees in Kule settlement camp turning swamp water into safe drinking (potable) water.

Kule Refugee camp, opened in May 2015 and it  is home to over 50,000 refugees who fled from South Sudan due to conflict. The recent rains in Gambella coupled with run-off from the high lands channelled through Baro River, have already caused widespread flooding in Lietchuor Refugee Camp and Itang Town. The same rains have rendered most roads in Kule and Tierkidi Refugee camps making them inaccessible by large trucks. This means, nearly half of the population in Kule cannot be served with potable water through water trucking.As a result, women and children had to walk between two to four Kilometres to the nearest water point within the camp, while others resorted to drinking surface water.

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© UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Odong A Refugee Woman Draws water from the Swamp on September 11 before completion of emergency water treatment installation

In Response to this, The UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR), have ordered an immediate repair of all roads starting with the overburdened spots. While the roads are being fixed by Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam with support from UNICEF, today installed an emergency water treatment kit (EmWat) to minimise the health risks of using surface water and to reduce the burden of women, boys and girls hauling water over long distances.

The EmWat kit is donated by UNICEF, installed by Oxfam with technical support from UNICEF and UNHCR. As a stop-gap measure it will provide safe drinking water to some 12,000 refugees residing in the hard to reach portion of the. Until a time when the in-camp roads are accessible by water trucks. The kit works on the principles of aided sedimentation, filtration and disinfection before distribution through a tap stand connected to a raised storage tank.

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© UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Odong EmWat kit sedimentation tank

The long term solution to this problem however, is the construction of a piped water scheme. With an estimated US$2.5Millions, UNICEF is supporting this sustainable solution through designing the system; construction of water reservoir tanks and technical support to partners implementing the other portion of the system. Once completed, between April and May 2015, it will serve some 120,000 persons including the surrounding host communities of the two camps (Kule and Tierkidi).

In the WASH sector, UNICEF is supporting the Gambella operation in emergency areas such as this by pre-positioning essential supplies and equipment; support to sector coordination; mitigating the effects of the displacement on the host communities; looking beyond the emergency and providing ad-hoc technical support to partners.

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© UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Odong Refugees accessing clean potable water from the EmWat Kit

One refugee woman had this to say after fetching water from the installed kit, “Yesterday was my first day to drink water from this swamp after I felt tired of walking to Zone C, why didn’t you people bring this thing (meaning Emwat Kit) yesterday?”  This was how we spent our Ethiopian New Year, thanks to Oxfam who is now running the kit.

Showing results, key for both Media and UNICEF

By Frehiwot Yilma

UNICEF meets with media for the second get together
The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

ADDIS ABABA, 14 April 2014 – The second quarterly media get-together with local and international media concluded with a meaningful discussion on how best the media and UNICEF could work together to advocate for the children and women of Ethiopia. Attended by more than 15 journalists, the discussion focused on how to jointly address issues like child marriage.

More than ever, UNICEF is keen on working closely with the media in pushing development agendas affecting children and women. UNICEF is also eager to learn more from the media on how best it can position itself to create awareness and demonstrate results with the public, developmental partners and donors. This get-together is one of the platforms for both the media and UNICEF.

One of the issues that came out strongly by the media was getting a holistic picture of a programme or intervention. According to suggestions made by the journalists: figures and data should not be presented singularly but  rather within a context of trends so they can better understand the progress made as well as anticipate future developments. The UNICEF Ethiopia website presents many different resources including: different publications, research, photos, press releases, speeches, contact information, guidelines and other information useful for the media.

Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda
Elissa Jobson discusses the challenges of putting child marriage on the agenda at UNICEF Ethiopia’s second quarterly media get-together with local and international media. 14 April, 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Sewunet

Furthermore, the journalists suggested that government officials along with development partners could attend the UNICEF’s media roundtables to help give them a comprehensive view on different topics affecting women and children.

Journalists also expressed interest in learning about UNICEF programmes in more detail and about how a specific intervention produced results for the Ethiopian community as well as the future generation of the country. For this, journalists have requested media visits so they can witness results at woreda and kebele levels where the programme is being implemented.

The highlight of the get-together was summed up by a question raised by the journalists: what makes UNICEF and its programmes unique and worthy of advocating? And what is UNICEF’s plan for changing its perception of Ethiopian people especially in the rural areas from well known to harmful traditions? These are also questions to which UNICEF’s developmental partners can also contribute.

UNICEF strives to provide basic rights for children including the right to health, nutrition, protection, water, sanitation and access to education. All this is done in support of the Government of Ethiopia.

Since its establishment in 1952, UNICEF Ethiopia has created the capacity to ensure that its development work accelerates at national and community levels with good relations from bilateral donors, development partners and civil society, including the media in Ethiopia. This key position makes UNICEF a unique partner among development agencies and a resourceful agency for the media.

Read about the first get together here

SNNPInfo: New database system to support policy analysis and decision making in Ethiopia

By Mekiya Feki

SNNPInfo

The newly established South Nations Nationalities Peoples Regional State data base system, SNNPInfo is launched with the presence of the Bureau of Finance and Economic Development Head Ato Haileberhan Zena Mamo,UNICEF SNNPR Head Joyce Gachiri and many other higher officials. The database can be accessed via the BoFED website, www.snnprsbofed.gov.et/SnnpInfo.

SNNPInfo is based on DevInfo, a database system that harnesses the power of advanced information technology to compile and disseminate data on human development. The system has been endorsed royalty-free by the UN Development Assistance Group (DAG) to assist countries in monitoring achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for deployment on both desktops and the web. DevInfo provides methods to organize, store and display data in a uniform way to facilitate data sharing at the country level across government departments, UN agencies and development partners.

According to the Ethiopia’s RBM strategy, a strong database needs to be developed in order to improve the availability and timely dissemination of comprehensive statistical information to monitor and report the national/regional development efforts, to support policy analysis and decision making of government and development partners. Devinfo also contributes to the current national/regional development plan by supporting national authorities in harmonizing and standardizing collation, dissemination and use of data for planning, monitoring and advocacy.

The United Nations Country Team, with the technical leadership of UNICEF, supported the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) to adopt DevInfo as EthioInfo, the Ethiopian in-country customization in 2006.EthioInfo was envisaged as a tool for strengthening the capacity of counterparts in generating and disseminating data for situation and outcome monitoring of national priorities within the PASDEP (2005-2010) & GTP (2011-2015) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). EthioInfo is also a tool for enhancing the dissemination and use of statistical information and contributing to knowledge management efforts in Ethiopia.

In the objective of supporting regional governments put in place a common system for electronic data storage, to better manage the monitoring of key socio-economic indicators and support evidence-based development planning and to track progress towards achievement of regional priorities within the framework of National growth and transformation plan and the MDGs, a regionally owned web- based database, SNNPInfo 1.2 is the third regionally devolved Devinfo database customized for SNNP region next to Amhara and Somali. UNICEF is assisting the regions both technically and financially to avail socio economic data on children and women on timely bases for planning, monitoring, evaluation and advocacy.

SNNPInfo provides standard, accessible and timely benchmark data to partners, planners, policy makers, researchers and the general public for monitoring the GTP and other socio-economic indicators of the region. Currently the database contains 3 years (2010-2012 G.C) socio economic core indicators data selected from the regional GTP under 7 sectors; the future plan is to update the database bi-annually. The database supports both standard and user-defined indicators. It includes maps to administrative level for all zones and all woreda level. It also allows regional government and non-government organizations to link the database to all relevant administrative level data to be able to analyze geographic relationships of key indicators.

SNNPInfo provides easy-to-use facilities for querying the database and based on the data retrieved for producing tables, graphs and maps for inclusion in reports and presentations. Furthermore, it helps the user to export/import data to and from different application software’s like Excel, Pdf and other application software programs. SNNPInfo is a powerful advocacy tool. It is expected to contribute to increase awareness on reporting of GTP/ MDG indicators at regional level among a wide range of stakeholders. It also helps facilitate customer service at different levels by providing data on reliable and timely bases.

‘Toilets’ shouldn’t be a dirty word

This article originally appeared on Trust.org

In this 2011 file photo, a toilet is seen in a house destroyed by the January 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

WaterAid’s Director of International Programmes Girish Menon opened today’s debate on Water, Sanitation and Sustainable Energy in the Post-2015 Development Agenda at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Here are his reflections on why sanitation and water are so critical in the post-2015 process:

I spent this morning talking toilets at the UN.

Of all the potential topics of conversation with global decision-makers, needing the toilet might not be high on your list. We all do it on a daily basis but in polite conversation, it appears we’d prefer not to talk about it.

Whether we like it or not, the silence surrounding how we dispose of our bodily waste has to be broken. The health, prosperity and wellbeing of 2.5 billion people rests on it – 2.5 billion people who right now have nowhere to go to the toilet.

This lack of basic sanitation facilities causes diseases that kill 2,000 children under the age of five every single day. As well as gross indignity, women and girls in particular face sexual harassment and even violence when defecating in the open.

It’s a sign of how far we’ve come that today’s debate happened at all – that sanitation is now recognised as worthy of discussion at the highest level.

But there’s much further to go…

Put toilets at the centre of new goals

When the Millennium Development Goals were first agreed in 2000, sanitation wasn’t included. It was added later, as an afterthought. And now, progress towards the sanitation MDG target is massively off-track – in fact, it is one of the most off-track targets of all.

When the MDGs expire in 2015, a new set of ‘sustainable’ development goals and targets will replace them. It is vital that sanitation, along with safe water and hygiene, is at the forefront of this new framework.

So it’s been encouraging to hear key decision-makers in the UN acknowledging this today.  Sitting next to me this morning was the President of the General Assembly His Excellency John Ashe who said that sanitation is one of “the pre-eminent development challenges of our world”. Minutes later, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added, “Access to water, sanitation and hygiene must feature prominently in the post-2015 agenda.”

For the last three years, the water and sanitation sector has been discussing possible targets for the post-2015 framework. 200 organisations from around the world, including WaterAid, have come together in a process facilitated by the World Health Organisation and Unicef’s Joint Monitoring Programme. This consultation has led to a Furthermore, it includes a target on water and sanitation so that by 2030:

  • No one practises open defecation.
  • Every household, every school and every health centre has drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
  • The proportion of the population without access at home to safely managed drinking water and sanitation is halved.
  • Inequalities in access are progressively eliminated.

I’d recommend that anyone interested in this process read more about the targets and the consultation in this document.

This crisis can be tackled

But of course, none of this will be easy.

It needs member states to hold true to the ambition of creating a post-2015 framework that can both eradicate extreme poverty and achieve sustainable development.

It requires convincing donor and developing country governments to increase their financing for water, sanitation and hygiene.

It requires us to get better at making projects sustainable, so that the taps and toilets built today are still working in a decade’s time.

It requires us to move beyond serving just the easy-to-reach, to include all those who live in rural and remote areas, or who find their access limited by disability, gender, or ethnicity.

But it is possible.

I quoted Nelson Mandela this morning and his words seem entirely appropriate: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

This crisis can be tackled if national governments, donors, NGOs, civil society coalitions and the private sector work together to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people.

Time to act

All over the world, people now recognise the importance of safe sanitation not just to the world’s poorest people but to all of us. Two million people have called for governments to commit to reaching everyone, everywhere with safe water and sanitation.

Today I heard leaders at the UN talk toilets.

Now it is time to act.