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Empowering Vulnerable Communities

Working closely with our partner Habitat for Humanity Great Britain, in July 2021 the second of our joint Urban Slum Upgrade Project (USUP) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia commenced. Having reached the end of the second year in this three-year project, we look back on what has already been achieved and what is still planned.


Limited access to decent housing, safe water and inadequate sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is Ethiopia is responsible for 60-80% of infectious diseases. Diarrhoea is the leading cause of under-five mortality, claiming the lives of over 70,000 children annually. With a population of 5 million, Addis Ababa accommodates one-third of the country’s urban population with around 60% living in slum areas. Rapid population growth, poor maintenance and the absence of a sewerage system are all contributing factors to the severe shortage of clean water and the environmental health issues they’re facing.


This 3-year project aims to tackle some of these issues, for families within the area and the community. 4 areas have been identified as a focus for this project - the construction of houses, the construction of kitchens, construction of communal toilets and the implementation of a sewerage line. Two years into the project and six houses have been completed and handed over, with a further five that are designed, prepped and ready to start construction which will create homes for five families and benefitting 25 individuals. Our second time supporting the USUP, we have seen how life changing this can be for families and communities. Woinshet Shimelis, a recipient of a house from a previous project and spoke about the impact it has had on her and her family in this spotlight feature: https://www.coinsfoundation.org/post/woinshet-speaks-about-the-change



The construction of kitchens creates access to clean food preparation areas for those families moving into new homes but also many others who can utilise the communal facilities. With the first two communal kitchens approaching completion, another two kitchens are prepped and ready to be built. Plans for communal toilet blocks are also underway as well as planning for 1,000 metres of sewerage line. To date, 300 metres has already been finished but on full completion it will serve 215 families which equates to over 1,000 individuals.


To date, 1,183 individuals have directly benefitted from the impacts of the project, 238 male and 845 female. 343 people have also benefitted indirectly, such as communities living down and upstream of newly constructed sewerage lines.


To date, 1,183 individuals have directly benefitted from the impacts of the project, 238 male and 845 female with a further 343 people benefitting indirectly.


Empower 100 unemployed women and ensure their financial inclusiveness

Gender inequality remains a structural challenge in Ethiopia with women facing discrimination due to stereotypes, social taboos, and biased laws. Despite Addis Ababa being less rigid than rural areas, women still encounter significant barriers, and fewer opportunities, including limited access to education and formal sectors. Women contribute significantly to their communities, but recognition and resources are often controlled by men. Empowering women’s decision- making and promoting female-owned businesses can drive positive change.


A new addition to the project, this section focusses on educating and training women in basic business skills, financial literacy and gender equality. Knowing their rights and recognising different forms of violence is significant in creating awareness and changes in behaviours. Women have already started saving money to invest in starting up small businesses and are being supported to access further finance where needed.


Alongside this, training on good hygiene practises is being delivered within communities and schools so that individuals can continue to benefit and educate other members of their family and share this with the next generation.


We look forward to seeing how this project evolves as we enter the final year and work towards a better future for residents.


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