Ethiopia: Creating a system of mutual care and prosperity with youth at the fore

Ethiopia is symbolised by its youth - around 71 per cent of the population are under 30 years of age. On paper, this young workforce has seen Africa's oldest independent country go from strength-to-strength. Yet, the speed with which GDP has grown and foreign investors have entered comes with a hard truth - there are simply not enough opportunities to go around.

Today, some 22 million people are living below the poverty line with an estimated 80 per cent of the urban population housed in slums. In a bid to avoid the same fate, growing numbers of youth search for work overseas - unaware of the fresh threats that greet them on their journey.

Hardship and famine is most pervasive in rural areas where vulnerable groups rely heavily on agriculture as a source of income. Recurrent drought and other extreme weather events have already had a devastating impact - leaving households bound to traditional agricultural practices and inefficient marketing systems with little way out.


Ethiopia has a population of 129.7 million people


Some 22 million people are living below the poverty line

Our Reach

In 2023 26,688 people took part in our programmes

What we do in Ethiopia


Dorcas is active in Ethiopia to ensure the most vulnerable in society don't get left behind. Our work focuses on bringing concrete livelihoods opportunities to both rural and urban communities in a bid to close the poverty gap - and create a much-needed sense of stability in uncertain times.


Our TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) programmes are designed to equip young people with both the practical and interpersonal skills they need to enter the job market. Students learn a profession together with good work ethic and responsibility skills - with young entrepreneurs as mentors. We also help local farmers get their agri-businesses off the ground through our flagship value chains programmes.

Community Building

We foster sustainable communities and promote peace through our youth employment and livelihoods programmes, community-safety nets and emergency humanitarian aid responses including emergency WASH and disaster preparedness. Our work often takes us to the south, to areas worst affected by drought and conflict.

Child Protection

We help parents and caregivers adopt positive parenting techniques and manage stress, all with the aim to create a more stable family environment. Our combination of education, psychosocial support, awareness-raising and community mobilisation programmes are designed to help children realise their rights and prevent harmful practices such as early marriage.

Employable Youth in Ethiopia (EYE) - An Engine for Growth

Two million Ethiopian youth enter the job market every year. Yet, due to bleak prospects at home, many decide to leave the country through unofficial channels. These 'irregular' migrants not only leave their country behind, they also open themselves up to a number of acute threats including human trafficking and exploitation in the workplace.

Even if young people do decide to stay in Ethiopia and find work, wages are often too low to make ends meet - particularly in the cities where the wealth gap is glaring. Many develop a deep sense of hopelessness as the end of school approaches, triggering them to accept the risks that irregular migration brings.

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Meet our Country Director…

Fikru Tarekegn - Country Director Ethiopia

"Despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, my country remains one of the poorest in the world. During regular research trips across Ethiopia I have observed a high dependence on rainfed agriculture which, coupled with climate change and various forms of conflict, makes the situation challenging. In the midst of all of this, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Dorcas delivers a vital combination of food security, job creation, community safety nets and disaster response. We have a committed team, we believe in quality and we deliver what we promise. Together, we can make a difference."

Our partners

Programme Partners

  • Addids Hiwot Integrated Sustainable Development Organisation (AHISDO)
  • Bole Kifle Ketema Ideroch Council
  • Ethiopian Guenet Church Development and Welfare Organisations - various locations
  • Ethiopian Mulu Wongel Amagnoch Church Development Organisation - various locations
  • Selam Awassa Business Group

Strategic Partners and Donors

  • START Network
  • Save the Children
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Woord & Daad
  • Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
  • IOM
  • ZOA
  • Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER)

Contact Dorcas Ethiopia


P.O. Box 8989
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Office location
Woreda 03, house number 1547, Bole Sub city
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Phone number
Tel. +251 116 613710/613542