Learn more about specific causes in Ethiopia that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentApproximately 60% of the land in Ethiopia is considered arid. Urbanization and increased human impact threatens the remaining agricultural land. Air pollution, land degradation from agricultural activities, and industrial wastes contaminating water constitute the major problems facing Ethiopia's environment. Ethiopia is particularly vulnerable to climate change.1 Ethiopia also has issues with waste management. One of the solutions to the waste problem in Ethiopia is its first waste-to-power plant that uses the incineration of garbage to power over 30% of the electrical needs of the large city of Addis Ababa.2
FamilyEthiopia is experiencing major population growth. The United Nations has predicted that if Ethiopia continues to grow at its current rate, it could have as many as 120 million people by 2025.1 In 2000, only 6.3% of the population used modern contraceptives, and in 2015, roughly 27.3% used contraceptives. The increase can be attributed to government-supported social marketing programs. Health extension workers have also contributed significantly to community-based efforts.2 Child marriage is a significant problem; 14% of the country’s girls are married by age 15 and 40% are married by age 18.3
Human RightsEthiopia has committed numerous human rights violations. The government has reportedly used foreign technology to spy on political activists and journalists within Ethiopia. There is only one telecom company in all of Ethiopia, which makes it very easy to abuse the freedom of the press. Furthermore, the government has responded to peaceful protests with a heavy hand, particularly in the Muslim community. The government and police forces arbitrarily detain and use excessive force against protesters.1 Of the 26,000 people arbitrarily detained during the state of emergency that ended in June 2017, only 10,000 have been released. The government reportedly agrees to protester’s demands to get them to end the protest but does not follow up on their promises.2
EducationEthiopia’s education system is growing rapidly. The government spends 4.5% of GDP on education. The number of elementary schools nearly tripled from 1996 to 2015. Only half of the students who enroll in the system make it to fifth grade, and only a fifth make it to eighth grade.1 49% of the country is illiterate and the quality of education remains low.2
PovertyApproximately 30% of Ethiopians live in poverty and the unemployment rate is at 17%. There is relatively little income disparity in the country; a majority of the people living in poverty do not fall under the classification of “extreme poverty,” and there are few enough wealthy people that most households are in similar financial states.1
ReligionEthiopia has historically been predominantly Christian. Ethiopia’s religious demographic is 43% Ethiopian Orthodox, 34% Muslim, 18.5% Protestant, 3% traditionalist, and 0.7% Catholic.1 The country’s constitution allows for religious freedom, and the separation of church and state is generally well enforced.2
Clean WaterEthiopia faces water shortages, poor sanitation, and little access to clean water. Only 57% of the population has access to improved drinking water.1 Ethiopia is especially prone to droughts. Water-related deaths are common in Ethiopia. Some common diseases are bronchitis, tonsillitis, diarrhea, vomiting, eye and respiratory infections, and malaria.2 Another issue for sanitation is the fact that 27 million Ethiopians practice open defecation, creating major health concerns.3
EconomyEthiopia’s economy is primarily based on agricultural output. The country’s economic growth has translated into poverty reduction in both urban and rural areas.1 Ethiopia’s economy and potential for economic growth are severely undermined by corruption. Furthermore, all land is owned by the state and can only be acquired through lease.2 The unemployment rate is at 17%, and approximately 30% of the country lives below the poverty line.3
GovernmentEthiopia’s government is a federal parliamentary republic. It remains very corrupt and is ranked among the most unfree economies of the world. There is also a lack of progress in institutional reforms, hindering the government’s efficiency.1 There is a legal framework with accompanying legislation that is intended to fight corruption, but the authorities struggle to enforce the laws. The government has issues with transparency, and many people evade customs and excise laws.2
HealthThe Ethiopian government is devoting more funding to health care in order to reach the country’s millennium development goals. UNICEF has trained thousands of healthcare workers to go and reach the remote parts of the country.1 Currently, Ethiopia is at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.2 Approximately 2.4% of Ethiopians are living with HIV/AIDS,3 and it has been estimated that nearly 1 million children have been orphaned due to the disease.4
ChildrenAuthorities have enacted legislation that bans the adoption of children by foreigners. This was a step taken in an attempt to prevent abuse that children are reported to experience abroad. There are also issues cases of incorrect information given by Ethiopian adoption agencies’, could lead to child trafficking cases.1 UNICEF has been actively involved in developing programs that will focus on child-specific welfare and protection, specifically to help social workers intervene on behalf of children in the justice system, and empower youth, and reduce HIV.2
AnimalsThe Afrotropical landscape of Ethiopia is filled with grasslands and woodlands. The countryside is known for its diverse array of butterfly species. The country is home to the Walia ibex, the gelada baboon, the spotted hyena, and the golden jackal. Threats to these species include decreasing habitat space, and the fragmentation of remaining habitat.1
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