Stories from change-makers in Ethiopia

Woyzer Ermiyas Enana
Woyzer Standing Up For Girls Rights
One day, a man came to Woyzer’s home, looking for a wife.
He made an offer to her father for marrying Woyzer, who was just 14 years old at the time.

But Woyzer is a member of Plan’s Girls Advocacy Alliance, and she knew better. She knew getting married before she turned 18 could destroy her future.

So, she was adamant that she would not become his bride.

“I confronted my father and told him there was no way I’d be getting married and that he’d be wasting his time if he started preparing my wedding,” said Woyzer. “I didn’t want to end up like my sister, who got married when she was 12 or 13.”

Woyzer’s father agreed with his daughter and turned down the proposal.

Woyzer, and many girls like her, are learning to stand up for their rights through programs like the Girls Advocacy Alliance. And now Woyzer is even standing up for the rights of other girls in her community — by helping call off weddings.

“I put a note in the box at school to alert my teachers that my friend was about to be married,” explains Woyzer. “Her wedding was canceled too.”
Read about another girl like Woyzer
Ermiyas Gender Activist In Ethiopia
Ermiyas is a teenage boy in Ethiopia committed to fighting child marriage.
His activism started when he saw a friend being pressured into marriage when she was just 14 years old.

“She was really sad,” says Ermiyas. “She left school and had a baby. I know she can’t be happy because it was never her plan to abandon her education. I don’t want the same thing to happen to other girls.”

Ermiyas is now the facilitator for a Plan peer-to-peer discussion group. In these groups, girls and boys come together to talk about child marriage and the dangers that come along with it.

Through Plan’s group, Ermiyas learned a lot more about how harmful child marriage is. And now he’s determined to share that knowledge with others, speaking up about it at every community gathering he goes to.

Having boys engaged in advocacy efforts is crucial to fighting for girls’ rights and ending practices like child marriage.

“Opposing child marriage is important to me because I know that by speaking out I can help change attitudes and be part of the solution to the problems faced by many of my sisters and neighbors,” he explains. “That gives me a sense of real satisfaction.”
Learn more about our Gender & Youth Equality work
Enana In Plans Clean Water Project
Clean water changes everything. Enana knows this better than anyone.
Before Plan came to her community, the closest water source was an hour and half away. Girls, who are usually responsible for collecting water, would spend hours each day walking and waiting for their turn to fill their jerry can. Those were hours that should have been spent in school.

“We used to have to fetch water far away and the water was not clean,” Enana explains. “Sometimes we’d set off to go to the pond at 3am and might not get back home until 8 or 9am, just to get one jerry can of water,” Enana says.

The journey also left girls vulnerable to danger. “Women and girls would be abducted or raped because the way to the pond was through a forest and an abandoned field,” says Enana.

But thanks to Plan’s construction of a solar-powered water system, Enana’s community now has access to clean, safe water right near their homes. And with clean water comes a lot of positive change.

Girls get time back to spend in school. Families can drink water without worrying about disease. People are healthier and safer.

And Enana, and many girls like her, can stay focused on the future.
Read about our other work in Maternal & Child Health

Plan International has been working to improve children’s lives in Ethiopia since 1995.

Our work in Ethiopia

Sponsored Child In Ethiopia
Office & operations

Plan International Ethiopia’s country office is in Addis Ababa, with programs in Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, Southern Nations and SNNP.

Technical areas

Early childhood development, education, protection, disaster preparedness and response, refugees

Number of sponsored children

As of June 2022, people like you sponsor 27,051 children in Ethiopia through Plan International.

Why sponsor with Plan?

Gender equality is a fight we must all take on together. Through sponsorship, you can change lives and create long-term impact in communities.

The full circle of Fate

When you sponsor a child through Plan, you form an incredible friendship.

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But that’s just the beginning. With Plan, you also have the unique opportunity to:

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Send them birthday gifts and cards.

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Give them special holiday presents called Little Treasures.

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Subscribe them to Plan’s educational kids’ magazine, Sunny Days.

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Arrange a visit (pending any travel restrictions), with individual travel assistance from us.

Each gift offering is safely hand-delivered by us, and given to your child with personalized cards from you. It’s likely that the child you sponsor will have never seen anything like these gifts, and with the exception of Little Treasures they’re available year-round to make the bond between you and your sponsored child even stronger.

Meet a child to sponsor