We may not have met before – my name is Mikaela and I’m one of the International Programs Coordinators at Act for Peace.
It was always a dream of mine to work in the humanitarian space and to support disadvantaged communities around the world. I pinch myself that I get to be part of such a dedicated team that supports our experienced local partners to design and implement projects across 19 countries.
I started with Act for Peace during the pandemic, so most of my contact with partner staff has been limited to email and video calls. But today, I’m excited to share an update with you direct from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where I’ve just returned from.
I spent a week in Addis Ababa meeting with our partner the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (or EOC-DICAC for short), speaking with some of the refugees in their Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Livelihoods Program, and helping to deliver training to their staff and Refugee Outreach Volunteers (ROVs).
We held some focus group discussions with refugees participating in the program we’re supporting to learn more about the situation for refugees in Addis Ababa. The need there right now is just so high. Life is incredibly hard for refugees, with rent and the cost of living increasing, discrimination and scarcity of work opportunities, made worse by the inability of refugees to obtain work or business permits in Ethiopia.
Thankfully, EOC-DICAC is helping to resource a range of services refugees can choose from, including vocational training and business ‘start-up kits’, as well as services to enhance physical and psychosocial wellbeing, such as transport to counselling, hygiene kits, awareness raising, safe house and rental assistance.
During the trip, I helped my colleague James to deliver Community-Based Protection Training to EOC DICAC’s staff and team of ROVs. These ROVs are a group of around 22 refugees in the community who help EOC-DICAC to support and lift the voices of those living in the various refugee communities in Addis Ababa.
The ROVs were incredible in their passion, resilience and depth of knowledge about their communities. After learning new tools and approaches to help refugees in the community address issues such as gender-based violence and child labour in their own contexts, they were keen on coming up with action plans straight away. Their goal is to better support community members to address protection threats and access services as well as develop networks between the various communities and nationalities.
You really can’t beat face-to-face connection. It was so invigorating to meet with EOC-DICAC’s staff and some of the people they are supporting in Addis Ababa. This work we’re doing together, with your support and the help of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), is really changing lives.
I returned from this trip with even more respect for our partner (if that were possible!), and more motivated than ever to keep doing this work together.
Local Partner Profile: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC)
Over 850,000 refugees live in camps around Ethiopia’s borders, with the most vulnerable being transferred to the capital city, Addis Ababa. These include people who are chronically ill, with emergency illnesses, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and people living with a disability.
To help increase livelihood opportunities and enhance the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of the more vulnerable refugees in Addis Ababa, Act for Peace helps resource EOC-DICAC’s Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Livelihoods Program. The holistic package of support offers a range of services refugees can choose from, including livelihood support such as vocational training and business ‘start-up kits’, as well as services to enhance physical and psychosocial wellbeing.
Your partnership is making a difference!
In November, 881 Act for Peace Partners like you came together and raised $39,136 to support people uprooted by conflict and disaster around the world, including refugee families in Ethiopia, who can access a range of life-changing services. Thank you.
- For our local partner in Ethiopia, that they may continue their vital work with refugees in communities that are most at risk.
- For the staff, that they may continue to share their knowledge and support, to help refugees overcome the challenges and trauma they have faced and rebuild their lives.