Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and remains challenged by the need to create economic opportunities for its fast-growing population. Community conflicts and extreme climate conditions have resulted in large scale forced internal displacement (more than 3 million persons displaced in 2019). Over last years, due to political instability and escalating conflicts in neighbouring countries (e.g. Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan) hundred thousands refugees have taken refuge in Ethiopia.
Open-door policy for refugee
Ethiopia is a country of destination, transit and origin for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and hosts one of the largest refugee population in Africa. As of September 2020, 792,030 refugees have been registered by UNHCR, nearly half of them coming from South Sudan. Yet, many refugees have been living in Ethiopia for protracted periods and, in some cases, for over twenty years.
Ethiopia maintains an open-door policy for refugee inflows into the country and allows humanitarian access and protection to those seeking asylum in its territory.
Nearly 99% of refugees are required to live in camps or settlements with limited job and livelihood opportunities. Some refugees only are permitted to reside in urban areas for medical protection and humanitarian reasons.
Finnish Refugee Council in Ethiopia
Through its work, FRC will aim at empowering target groups – i.e. refugees (in and out of camps) and host communities – by the access to functional literacy and technical skills adequate to the context where they live to positively transform their lives.
FRC got registered in Ethiopia in June 2019 and set up its country office in August 2020. FRC first project started in September 2020 in Gambella Region, which is located in the South West of the country, borders South Sudan and hosts more than 350,000 South Sudanese refugees in 7 camps.
The realization of the right to education, at the centre of FRC’s strategy, appears to be particularly relevant for South Sudanese refugees, considering the exceptionally high illiteracy rate among them; the literacy rate in South Sudan is the third lowest in the world, 27% only (female literacy rate being 16%, and male 40%).
Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) for enhanced refugees’ resilience in Gambela Region
The project aims at ensuring access to Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) for vulnerable refugees and host community members. Functional literacy is expected to bring about positive effects on targeted learners, especially empowering targeted women and PWDs. FRC intervention targets Jewi Refugee Camp, which hosts 54,603 South Sudanese refugees and local communities. The education is organized in the students’ own mother tongue, which provides the best potential for learning. The overall estimated number of adults attending the FAL courses is 1,200. Besides, at least 50 peer literacy facilitators, selected from target communities, will be trained to manage FAL courses; 10 officials from the Gambela Regional Education Bureau will also be trained on mainstreaming disability in adult education.
Budget: EUR 400,000
Duration: 1 year
Start date: originally 1.04.2020 – postponed to September 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic
Type/Sector: Humanitarian assistance/Education in emergency
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland – Humanitarian office
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