Every child is worth growing up in freedom. Unfortunately, millions of children worldwide are trapped in a system of modern slavery. For example in Ethiopia, where a combination of poverty and family problems and gaps in the legislation lead to the exploitation of children. That is why Woord en Daad, together with a consortium of local partners, is working to combat modern slavery by breaking the chains of child labour and exploitation in Ethiopia.
Buzayehu is 12 years old, but he has been through a lot already. He says, “After the birth of my brother, my mother was no longer able to take care of me. That’s why I went to live with my grandmother. After a month I had to leave there. From that moment on I lived on the street. I made some money by offering goods and services at the bus station and market. I was regularly abused. Sometimes I made enough money to buy bread, but often I searched the waste for food.”
Provide safety to children
Buzayehu’s story is just one example. Countless children suffer from child labour and thousands more vulnerable children are at risk of ending up in these degrading conditions. Woord en Daad is working, together with a local consortium and with a partial subsidy from Norad (see box), on combating child slavery. We want to support children between the ages of 6 and 14 who do work that threatens or affects their well-being; physically, socially or mentally. We want to offer these children safety and shelter and support them to build a different life. Such as Buzayehu, who now lives in a shelter and learns to look positively to the future again with the help of professional employees.
The approach of the project
The project in Ethiopia focuses on the prevention of child labour by creating awareness in the community and by supporting (vulnerable) families. More than 6,000 children and about 200,000 family members and people from the area will be reached. In addition, the project includes the shelter and reintegration of children who have been victims of human trafficking, child labour or other forms of exploitation. We also work together with the Ethiopian government to further develop legislation and legal assistance on this theme.
Collaborate with local partners
The fight against child slavery is only possible by working together with local partners. The valuable thing about this project is that we carry it out with local organizations that are deeply rooted in Ethiopian society. Ephrem Shiferaw is a senior program advisor and sees the added value of working in a consortium. Ephrem says: “Each of the partners has been selected on the basis of their added value and role in the program. The activities of one partner complement the activities of the other partners in the consortium. Such a composition of partners is of great importance in tackling the complex, multidimensional and multifaceted problem that is child slavery. “Thanks to the collaboration with local partners and the unique collaboration with Norad, we can focus on actually changing systems. And that system change is desperately needed to break the chain of exploitation.
Epfrem Shiferaw is convinced that we can realise our shared ambition and dream of making Ethiopia a safer place for children. A place where they don’t have to be caught in the vicious circle of poverty and child exploitation. He hopes that others will also want to get involved in the project: “In my opinion, the impact of entrepreneurs and investors on this case could be enormous, because of the resources they can contribute to the program.”
Award of Norad subsidy
Worldwide, more than 40 million people, including millions of children, are trapped in a system of modern slavery. Combating modern slavery – for example in production chains – is a topic that is high on the political and international agenda, also in Norway. The Norwegian government launched a new program in 2020 to join efforts against modern slavery. Norwegian Development Cooperation Minister Dag-Inge Ulstein said in a press release: “Modern slavery is one of the most serious forms of human rights violations. Children and vulnerable people are particularly affected. Combating all forms of slavery is therefore more important than ever. ”The Norwegian minister put words into action and the Norwegian government, through the Norwegian agency for development organization Norad, awarded a subsidy of 2.35 million euros to Woord en Act to counter modern slavery.
Tuva G. Bugge, Norad’s Modern Slavery Project Manager, explains, “Tackling the complex and multifaceted problem of child labour and human trafficking requires different strategies and angles to make it work. It is important to be able to offer children a child-friendly and safe environment. In addition, it is important that the government pursues a policy that prevents and enforces the exploitation of child labour. In the longer term, these factors will help reduce child exploitation in Ethiopia.”
“Woord en Daad is responsible for coordinating the project,” says Bugge. “It is also the role of Woord en Daad to ensure that there is coherence between the different parts of the project. Woord en Daad has a lot of knowledge of the local context due to the long-term cooperation with Ethiopia and the trust of the partners of the consortium. ”
Norad believes that co-financing is highly relevant for such large projects. The partial funding provided by Norad can act as a catalyst and trigger funding from other donors, Bugge believes. “In addition, co-financing reduces the vulnerability and risks associated with the availability of budget resources. It often helps strengthen ownership of the project and ensures that important lessons learned are shared more widely than if only one donor has access to it.”
About the possible role of entrepreneurs, Bugge says: “Entrepreneurs can help to see new opportunities within the project from their knowledge and perspective. They can take the project further and see how we can build on previous results in an innovative way. ”
Do you want to support this project?
The program receives 60% of the resources needed from Norad. The remaining amount requires contributions from other donors and organisations. More available resources means achieving more. The total budget of this three-year project is € 4,250,000, of which 60% has been allocated by Norad. We are still looking for donors for the remaining 40%. Are you one of them? By supporting this project you contribute to the fight against modern slavery and exploitation of children in Ethiopia.
For an exploratory meeting, please contact Roeland van Everdingen, 06-12 96 10 49 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Partners involved: Hope for Justice Ethiopia, Justice for All, Hiwot Integrated Development Organization, Digital Opportunity Trust, Woord en Daad.
By Jacoline de Kruijf and Marlies Moret