Since initiating small-scale activities in 2003, IOCC's program in Ethiopia has grown exponentially, culminating with an HIV/AIDS education and awareness program that has reached over 11.5 million Ethiopians with prevention and awareness messages.
The current program, which will continue into 2011, is a comprehensive HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention training program conducted in cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC).
With funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the program reaches Ethiopians of all faiths in order to significantly reduce HIV/AIDS transmission rates. IOCC and EOC-DICAC train Ethiopian clergy and Sunday School youth and lay persons to conduct education programs that promote abstinence before marriage, faithfulness in marriage, and to reduce stigma and discrimination towards those with HIV and AIDS. The program conducts gatherings and mini-media promotions to raise awareness, including public rallies featuring clergy members. The HIV/AIDS program also includes components to assist people living with the disease and orphans and vulnerable children who have been affected by HIV and AIDS. Assistance includes food, clothing, medical care, and one-time start-up capital to create income-generating projects. In collaboration with Intra-Health, IOCC and EOC-DICAC expanded these HIV/AIDS activities in 2009 to include the issue of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS through mass education, one-on-one counseling, and small group discussions.
In 2008, IOCC completed the construction of a medical clinic in Woliso, a western highlands town 77 miles from the capital city of Addis Ababa with a population of about 37,000 through funding by the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society and a group of private donors.
Since 2005, IOCC delivered almost 300,000 new elementary, secondary, medical and other higher education textbooks in English to educational institutions run by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church throughout Ethiopia. The project has been supported by private donors, Brother's Brother Foundation and USAID's Ocean Freight Reimbursement Program.
With funding from the U.S. Embassy Julia Taft Fund, IOCC also works with the Refugees and Returnees Affairs Department of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to meet the needs of urban refugees in Addis Ababa. IOCC has organized livelihood skills training courses for refugee women and provided workshops for community members on the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) among refugees.
To address the needs of people with disabilities, IOCC also received funding from USAID to provide activities that will increase the employability of affected persons. Vocational skills and job training is offered, and workshops are organized to create further links between employers, employment agencies, and people with disabilities and to create awareness regarding the hiring of persons with disabilities.
Programs Prior to 2008
Additionally, IOCC programs for the development of clean water sources and improved agricultural techniques helped rural communities overcome the effects of poverty and drought. IOCC improved and developed local water systems for drinking and small-scale irrigation in these communities.
Ethiopia stories from the archives
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