Ethiopia is a Federal Republic with 9 regional states. It is the second most populated country in Africa with around 73.0440.000 million (Central Statistical Agency 2005). In the rural areas live 61.369.000 inhabitants. The segment of population under the age of 15 years is the 43% (MOH – 6th report on AIDS, 2006). Ethiopia is also one of the poorest countries in the world; the 89% of the population live below 2USD per day and 46% below 1 USD per day. The Human Development Index (HDR 2004) ranks Ethiopia in 170th out of 177th countries. The life expectancy at birth for male is of 49 years old and 51 for female. The under 5 year old mortality rate for males is 75 per 1000 and for female 158 per 1000. The total expenditure on health as percentage of GDP is only the 5.9%. The poverty (head count ratio) reaches the 44.2% and among them the 57% suffer of food poverty (extreme hunger). The Adult Literacy rate (5 age 15 and above) is 41.5% and the combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary school is 41.5 %. The maternal mortality rate is 871 per 100,000 live births. The HIV/AIDS prevalence is 4.4%; 13.7 % in urban area and 3.7 in rural area. The population without sustainable access to an improved water resource is the 76%, the 12% to improved sanitation and only the 50.8% of the population have access to drugs. The primary school age population is estimated to be almost 14 million in 2002/2003 which was about on fifth of the population. Though the primary schooling in Ethiopia is free for the average Ethiopian living below one dollar a day, it is difficult to cover their families’ school expenses. The poor families may be reluctant to send their children to school since their labour is an income for the family. About the 72% of school aged children have no access to formal education. Moreover, outside the main town, children have to walk long distance and through difficult terrain to attend school in often crowded classroom, inadequate trained teachers and school materials. Play grounds are basically nonexistent in Ethiopia, though play have significant role in the primary years of life and helps children develop socially, emotionally and intellectually. This affects the cognitive development of the child in the early age and beyond. The health condition and the sanitary situation presented serious lack. A great number of children still die for childhood disease that could be prevented through immunization and basic health service. Access to clean water and sanitation facilities are inadequate. Only the 24% of household have access to safe drink water. Forty percent of the children are severely and moderately underweight and the 52% are stunned and 11% are wasted. The children’s fundamental rights remain a major challenge in Ethiopia; the general poverty deprived the children to adequate food, clean water and medicine. According the Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (DHS 2001) 1 out of every 20 children born alive die in their first month of life, 1 out of 10 die before reaching the first birthday. The major diseases affecting the children under five, such as acute respiratory infection, diarrhoeal diseases measles, malaria and malnutrition are responsible for the 70% of childhood morbidity and mortality. Malnutrition, moreover, affects the ability of the children to resist to the infectious diseases. The 15% are with low birth weight that is closely associated with maternal malnutrition. The phenomenon of streetism is also increasing in the major town. It is estimated that at national level there are between 150,000 and 200,000 street children with a further one million vulnerable or at risk of ending up on the streets. Girls who live and work in the street face sexual abuse, unwanted pregnancy and early motherhood. It is estimated that only in Addis Ababa there are 10,000 street mothers. Adopted from CIAI’s website (Centro Italiano Aiuti all’Infanzia)


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