Where We Work


Demographics and Economy

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with over 86 million people. Ethiopia is ranked 174 out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index (UNDP, 2015). Since 2005, 2.5 million people have been lifted out of poverty, and the share of the population below the poverty line fell from 38.7% in 2004/05 to 26% in 2012/13 (using a poverty line of US $0.60/day). However, because of high population growth, the absolute number of the poor (about 25 million) has remained largely unchanged over the past fifteen years.


Access to education has been expanding rapidly in Ethiopia over the past 15 years, and net enrolments in primary school have almost trebled since 1994. Currently, 85.7% of Ethiopian primary age children are attending primary school. Secondary school enrolment has also risen, but remains at quite low levels, especially in rural areas and among the poorest income groups.


Ethiopia still suffers from some of lowest gender equality performance indicators in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ethiopia is ranked at 127 out of 142 countries in terms of the magnitude and scope of gender disparities according to the Gender Gap Index 2014 rankings. The morbidity rate of 75.5% for women, against 25.5% for men; the maternal mortality of 590/100,000 live births; and adult HIV prevalence of 1.9% for women, compared to 1.0% for men, are indicators of persisting gender inequalities in the area of health and life expectancy.

With regard to women’s participation in economic life, the 2005 National Labour Force Survey reveals that women represent 47% of labour force in Ethiopia, with highly unequal participation: 68.5% of employed women were unpaid family workers and 24.8% were self-employed in informal jobs.

In Ethiopia marriage marks the point in a woman’s life when childbearing becomes socially acceptable. For women, marriage takes place relatively early. The median age at first marriage is highest in Addis Ababa (21.4 years) and lowest in Amhara (14.7 years). 34% of women are either mothers or are pregnant with their first child by age 19.

Water and Sanitation

In Ethiopia, only 49% of the population has access to clean water, reducing to 39.3% in rural areas. Contamination of water resources by human and animal defecation is common and causes a high exposure to water transmitted diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, schistosomiasis, trachoma, scabies, and malaria. According to the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia 38,500 Ethiopian children under 5 years die every year because of diarrhoea (UNICEF Nov. 2013). The situation is made even more precarious by the lack of awareness about the link between clean water and disease and the shortage of doctors as the density of physicians is 0.025 per 1,000 inhabitants (WHO, 2009).

Indigeneous Minorities

People of the Menja minority are scattered geographically throughout southwest Ethiopia, making them more vulnerable to social exclusion. The Menja people are forest dwellers and make up approx. 10-12% of the population and they live scattered in several Woredas. The Menja people are isolated from the rest of the community and considered 'sub-human'. Historically this minority group have been subjected to complex forms of discrimination and their lived experience is similar to the 'untouchable' outcasts of India.

Amhara and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region


Demographics and Economy

In 2014, the population of Tanzania was estimated to be over 49 million people. It is predominantly an agrarian economy with 77% of the working population employed in the agricultural sector based on 2006 figures (World Bank, 2014). It is also one of the least developed countries ranking 151 on the Human Development Index, and remains below average for the group of least developed countries and for Sub Saharan Africa (UNDP, 2015).



Although the Gender Gap Index 2014 rankings for Tanzania are higher that those for Ethiopia, there remains significant challenges. In Tanzania women have less than two hours leisure a day (World Bank, 2015). 22.8% of girls aged 15 - 19 are pregnant and the teenage fertility rate is 129, the highest in the world. 20% of women between 19 and 49 revealed they have been sexually abused at least once while 40% have suffered physical violence.


Port Project

In 2013 the government announced the launch of a new port project to be funded by Chinese and Omani investors. An investment of US $10 billion is planned over a period of 30 years. The port will be the largest in East Africa. In order to facilitate the project, a large tract of land will need to be acquired by the Government and those displaced will be paid compensation. The levels of compensation are not sufficient to prevent impoverishment as the price of land has increased more than 10 fold in the district due to the arrival of speculators and investors. The announcement of this project has also attracted a high number of temporary workers with surplus money to Bagamoyo who incentivize transactional sex contributing to the spread of HIV and STDs, many more will arrive as the construction phase gets underway. AIDS is the third leading cause of death in Bagamoyo and 5.9% of people between 15 and 49 years old are HIV positive.

Local authorities have not formulated a strategic plan to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the port on vulnerable and marginalized groups. Vulnerable persons (young people and women) lack the skills and capacity to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the construction of the port. Community leaders and influential key actors are not always aware of the increased risks the port development will have on the needs and rights of young people and women. Local associations lack the resources and capacity to lobby and advocate on behalf of vulnerable people with the relevant authorities.

Bagamoyo District