In the summer of 1994, right after the first International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) took event in Cairo, Egypt at which DSW participated; a new thinking had paved the path for a platform to an active campaign of SRHR issues in Ethiopia by DSW. Prior to its proactive engagement that eventually led to the opening up a country office in Ethiopia, DSW was working in partnership with local organizations, among which had included ‘Save Your Generation Association (SYGA)’.

From the early days onward, the young people in Ethiopia, particularly of the adolescents were the main focus of DSW’s commitment to address their SRHR needs. One of the epic-making milestones hitherto stick to DSW’s reputation is the Youth-to-Youth (Y2Y) Initiative, a social franchising model one was pioneered by DSW in Ethiopia. This youth program in essence bore a nationwide phenomenon as a gift to and for the young people in Ethiopian by DSW.

A note from the Country Director

Every year we compile an annual report and publish it. The publication of such annual report doesn’t necessarily correspond to a calendar year. For it blends two halves falling in between two consecutive years. It contains materials mainly focused on major outcomes of the projects relevant to the period during which the annual report is compiled.

About this time last year we had reported the introduction of DSW’s new logo in our 2015/2016 Annual Report. The occasion we deliberately chose to mark DSW’s 25th year anniversary. Although DSW’s country office in Ethiopia was then only sixteen years old, the global DSW has already existed for quarter of a century. As we maintain honoring our anniversary milestone, we remain as buoyant as we are determined once again to share the major outcomes from our projects in this latest annual report.

In the 2016/2017 Annual Report, the most topics covered are confined to three projects. The intervention to prevent the prevalence of fistula has registered encouraging results contributing to Ethiopia’s own target to eliminate all fistula cases by 2020. Our plan drew more figures to identify fistula cases than we actually managed to refer the cases to the services. In the past seven months alone, there have been 63 fistula cases have had access to referral services and were attended at the relevant health centers.

One of the topics covered in our report also includes the integration of population, health and environment (PHE). The in-school youth clubs activities guided by DSW’s Youth-to-Youth Initiative (Y2Y) offer progressive outcomes worth reporting about. Our record indicates that more than 98,000 youth have benefited from awareness on SRH information and among them about 6,658 were given counseling services that include HIV testing courtesy of our youth program.

The youth program has comprehensive packages to espouse both in-and-out of school youth clubs. Given a specific need-based intervention in the youth program, we either target both or one. This time our focus is about reporting on the in-school youth clubs. Though sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is one of the packages in Y2Y Initiative, it remains as a cross-cutting issue for an integrated intervention.

When we partner the in-school youth for implementation of a youth program one which integrates SRH issues and nutrition, we particularly rely on those very youth we have empowered through disseminating relevant life skills to enable them become the change champions in their community. There are about hundred in-school clubs located across different rural districts of the Amhara region and they proactively take part to improve the sexual and reproductive health and nutritional practices. Two dozens more in-school clubs elsewhere in the country are either able to implement the Y2Y Initiative in the effort to address their own and those of their peers’ SRH needs or they are out there fighting fistula using their capability potential nurtured and mentored through the capacity building scheme organized at our training center.

The youth development training center is in essence a capacity building arm of DSW that has a vital strategic impact on the success of our projects. One of which project was financially supported by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation that had benefited in various training programs of married adolescent girls who had delayed their first birth and resumed schooling. Such and other projects continue to add values in our experience to undertake integrated intervention.

Our experience in an integrated approach gave us a range of advantage to implement various projects whose concepts contain both diverse and inter-related issues. For instance, our project in Bonga is themed as “Integrated Participatory Forest Management and SRH.” This project is a product of integrating population, health and environment (PHE). There are three actors all in different ways and interactively conserve the Bonga forest as they benefit from the forest resources to generate incomes for their livelihoods.

There are also some fast facts accompanied by relevant figures to give the larger pictures of the programmatic activities reinforced in each project that became the subjects of this annual report.

Arriving at my last one sentence with which to conclude this introduction to our work, I would very much like to extend my appreciation to all those who partner our efforts for attaining the successes we are able to report.