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The Royal Norwegian Embassy gave out a grant worth USD 17.4 million to UNICEF and UNFPA to support phase II of the program “Rights-based Approach to Adolescent and Youth Development in Ethiopia.”
The grant will be equally split between UNICEF and UNFPA and released independently to each agency on a bi-annual basis.
The program that is being supported by the grant focuses on adolescent boys and girls which are provided with improved access to an integrated youth-friendly service on protection and promotion related to reproductive health services, HIV/AIDS prevention services, and livelihoods.
“Promotion of gender equality, women’s and children’s rights and human rights are key to fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development in Ethiopia. Promoting the respect and protection of human rights, is also a cornerstone of Norwegian Policy,” Odd-Inge Kvalheim, Ambassador of Norway to Ethiopia stated at the grant signing ceremony held at Elilly International Hotel on Wednesday June 4th 2014.
The funding will benefit 403,000 adolescents and youth aged between 10 and 24 in 30 selected woredas of six regions; Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, Afar, Tigray and Addis Ababa, speakers at the event stated.
“The Government of Ethiopia, UNICEF, UNFPA and their partners have achieved good results in the first phase of the program. We will in particular encourage them to continue the benificial cooperation,” the Ambassador further stated.
The program has been and will be implemented in partnership with different governmental and non-governmental organizations.
One of the main partners is the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (FHAPCO) along with different ministries such as; Labor and Social Affairs, Health, Education and Women Children and Youth Affairs.
“We will not fail, rather we will collect all our experiences that we have had in the past and we will accelerate the implementation in an efficient way,” Berhanu Feyissa, Director General of FHAPCO stated.
He also pointed out that in Ethiopia, HIV infection has been decreasing significantly and many positive trends has also been seen in the past two years.
“HIV/AIDS has reduced dramatically in the youth population.  A recent study shows that the epidemic has gone down from 5.6 percent in 2007 to 2.3 percent in 2011 among the youth between 15 to 24 years of age. I believe our success in the health sector in general and the fight against HIV/AIDS in particular has been due to partnerships between governments, development partners, civil societies, affected communities and the private sector,” Berhanu said.
The “Rights-based Approach to Adolescent and Youth Development in Ethiopia” program aims to improve the capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions along with youth-run organizations to fulfill the demand of adolescents and youth in the selected woredas. It also works to empower communities and parents to ensure a protective and enabling environment which includes protecting them against gender-based violence and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs).