Antsokia, ETHIOPIA (October 17, 2014) — Children are now thriving in today’s lush green landscape of Antsokia, which was one of the hardest-hit areas 30 years ago, where an estimated 1 million people were affected by famine in Ethiopia.
“Today, children and their families no longer suffer from food insecurity,” says Margaret Schuler, World Vision’s national director in Ethiopia. “This is an amazing accomplishment. We regularly hear of farmers producing surplus as crop production in the region has increased by 100% in the last five years alone.”
The key to this, she says, is the investments that local government, donors and organizations such as World Vision have made in building the resilience of communities.
“Our work training farmers in better ways to manage forests, running small-scale farms and connecting households to local resources has proven that communities can become more resilient and withstand shocks over time,” declares Mrs. Schuler.
Today, nearly all children in Antsokia are now classed as adequately nourished under World Health Organization standards. Moreover, the vast majority of children now have access to primary school and all of them can consult skilled health professionals and visit clinics within short distances from their homes.
“A few years ago, I got sick with malaria and typhoid, but thanks to the health center nearby, I had access to the right treatment,” says Hikmet, an 11-year-old who is in sixth grade. “I now dream of becoming a doctor.”
For older people who went through the famine three decades ago, it is still hard to believe the transformation that has taken place in the valley. “In 1984, you would never see something like a big farm,” says Adebe, who was 20 years old during the famine. “Even trying to grow seedlings would have been impossible as everything was very dusty.”
Adebe is one of the many farmers who benefited from World Vision’s training programs. “I have learned to grow fruit trees and how to manage my land and protect it,” says Adebe. “I am able to provide fruit and vegetable to my children and I see that they are healthy.”
The Government of Ethiopia has also been a longstanding development partner while local government structures have been actively involved in project planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation which has contributed to this success.
Going forward, World Vision is committed to play a vital role to improve child well-being throughout Ethiopia.
“It is important that we continue to focus on the most critical factors impacting child well-being, including education, economic development, child marriage reduction, poor maternal nutritional status and low utilization of health services. Working together with communities and the Government of Ethiopia, we can all play a significant role in improving child well-being in the country,” said Schuler.
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World Vision first began working in Ethiopia in 1971. During the 1984-85 drought, World Vision participated in a massive relief operation that saved the lives of millions of people. After an intensive relief and rehabilitation program, the organization developed a new integrated development approach to ensure families were empowered to be a part of the process of improving their communities. This approach continues today, and World Vision now operates in more than 80 districts throughout the country.
Antsokia Gemza District
The Antsokia District is based in northeast Amhara Regional State, more than 200 miles from the capital, Addis Ababa. The District has 17 Kebeles and World Vision operates in all of them. World Vision Ethiopia’s Antsokia Gemza ADP has 4,625 sponsored children and has been serving over 106,000 people in the District, with a focus on poor households, female-headed households, orphans and vulnerable children, malnourished children, vulnerable people affected by disasters, pregnant and lactating mothers, and people affected by HIV & AIDS.
Currently in Antsokia:
- Primary school coverage has reached 86.4%
- Safe water and improved sanitary facilities coverage reached 75% and 96% respectively
- Food deficit decreased by 30%
- 31% of the households engage in off-farm activities
- The productivity of major horticulture crops reached 213.6%
- Expanded Program of Immunization coverage has increased from 84% in 2008 to 93% in 2013
- There is 100% access of health services; infant mortality rate has decreased from 77/1000 to 59/1000 and maternal mortality from 260/100,000 to 350/100,000; and cases of diarrhea prevalence among children decreased to 4.7%.
About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
- During the 1984-85 drought, World Vision participated in a massive relief operation that saved the lives of millions of people.
- After the drought subsided, World Vision worked to train farmers in better ways to manage forests, running small-scale farms and connecting households to local resources.
- Today, 30 years later, children are now thriving in the lush green landscape of Antsokia, which was one of the hardest-hit areas in the drought.