YMCA Ethiopia was established in 1951, with a vision of empowering young people for the renaissance of Africa. It operates in Addis Ababa, and the Tigray, Oromiya, Amhara, and Southern Nation and Nationalities (SNNPR) and Sidama regions. The head office of YMCA Ethiopia is located in the Gotera area of Addis Ababa.
YMCA Ethiopia in numbers
- 86 staff members
- 3,000 volunteers
- 25,000 volunteers
- 80,000 beneficiaries
- 10 local branches, new emerging branches in Tigray and Oromya
- 2 project offices
Programmes and activities
YMCA Ethiopia has four programme pillars:
- Youth leadership and civic engagement
Through the youth leadership and civic engagement program, young people can gain the skills, knowledge and motivation necessary to take part in civic engagement. YMCA Ethiopia encourages them to make a difference in the civic life of their community. Programmes are directed by the Subject to Citizen (S2C) Change Model, which empowers self-assured leaders and civically engaged youth positively to influence their own lives and the lives of those around them.
- Job readiness and economic empowerment
Unemployment among young people is a critical issue in Ethiopia, because they lack the education and work experience sought by employers. Ethiopia also suffers from a mismatch between their skills, and needs of the labour market. YMCA Ethiopia strives to increase access to vocational training: in 2020, it equipped 850 young people in food preparation, tailoring, hair dressing and graphic design.
- Health and Fitness
YMCA Ethiopia’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights approach integrates character building, life skills, and transformative masculinity (men’s engagement) to promote safer sexual and reproductive behaviors among young people. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health educators gave virtual training, and then cascaded the training through social media. YMCA offers indoor and outdoor sports including aerobics, basketball, Teens Table, badminton, gymnastics, and football etc.
- Community resilience, support and services
YMCA Ethiopia provides economic, educational and psychosocial support for vulnerable families, through training and seed money to generate their own income and ensure sustainability. Through its Safe and Inclusive Cities project, YMCA Ethiopia works closely with youth groups, community based organizations and local authorities to prevent urban violence.
Impact of COVID-19 on YMCA Ethiopia
YMCA Ethiopia conducted public awareness campaigns in market places, transport hubs and city centers, reaching over 170,000 people: the campaigns disseminate messages on social distancing, hand washing, and volunteerism and service. YMCA Ethiopia has also distributed hand sanitizers, gloves, soap, water tankers and food supplies to more than 15,000 most disadvantaged people.
Working in Tigray
Since 4 November 2020, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has been fighting the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). The violence across Tigray has forced people to leave their homes. YMCA Ethiopia spoke with the local staff and volunteers to identify the needs of the communities. With support from YMCAs in Canada, USA, Germany (EJW), YMCA Ethiopia has provided food and water to the most disadvantaged people in Mekle and Adwa. Their facility in Adwa is hosting nearly 1800 displaced people.
“We believe peace and justice are critical aspects of sustainable development. The current situation in Tigray, and in Ethiopia in general, is very painful, as we witness such human loss”, shares Dagmawi Selamssa Tessema, National General Secretary at YMCA Ethiopia. “This is affecting civilians, especially the women, young people and children we serve. Therefore, we are primarily carrying out emergency response to save lives. We want to engage youth to stand up for peace, rather than violence.”
This is why YMCA Ethiopia is currently working on promoting peace in the region and bringing psychosocial support through art, drama and peace dialogues.