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The Impact of COVID on Informal Workers

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Ethiopia organized a  workshop to address  on the impact of COVID-19 on youth in the informal sectors in November 3, 2020 at Capital Hotel – Addis Ababa.

A recent report published by Fridrich Ebert Stiftung on the Impact of COVID in the Informal Economy (2020) asserts that close to 90 per cent of the sub-Saharan African labour force works in the informal economy. Informal economy workers, who are mostly self-employed, are particularly vulnerable to health shocks since they are mostly not covered by social protection systems, earn their livelihood from low and irregular incomes, are not adequately represented in local and national governance structures, and are not protected by labour laws.

Ethiopia is  one of the hard-hits countries with COVID 19 and it’s majority of labor force dwell in the informal sectors. In his opening speech,  Mr.  Ayalew Ahmed, Vice President of CETU said that the informal workers in Ethiopia could be at higher risk of losing their job due to COVID but they are less covered in the legal and social protection systems. Mr. Demisse, representing CETU, one of the panelist said that  COVID would have tremendous impact on the informal workers, especially those work as street vendors, house maid, waitress, etc.

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Informal economy workers and their families remain exposed to the virus even if they stay at home, because they often live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions that make physical distancing virtually impossible. A lack of access to running water not only limits the possibilities for hand-washing, it often forces women to line up for water, thereby endangering themselves and their community. (ILO 2020a).

The overwhelming majority of workers in the informal economy have higher exposure to occupational health and safety risks because of the lack of appropriate protection, and thus an increased likelihood of suffering from illness, accident or death. COVID-19 adds to these risks. If they fall ill, most workers do not have guaranteed access to medical care or income security through sickness or employment injury benefits;

Ato Kassahun Mulatu, representative from Addis Ababa City Administration Trade and Industry Bureau presented that bureau has been making stride effort to minimize the occupational risks on the informal workers. As he said, the bureau has been taking some measures such as training, awareness on COVID, hygiene supplies, facilitating better work place for street vendors, Janmeda, etc among the measures taking place by the bureau.

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Four Youths who work in the informal sector  gave their testimony on how covid impacts their work as most of them admitted there business is at higher risk and disclosure due to COVID and related challenges.

Participants of the workshop share their reflection and make suggestions including the need to have in-depth study on the impact, sustain dialogue and experience sharing, collaboration and networking through forming alliance of decent work (as suggested by YMCA and it’s partners) was among the take homes from the workshop.



YMCA Ethiopia announce a launch of  Media Smart Youth – Ethiopian Movement

YMCA Ethiopia and eight civil society organizations officially launched Media Smart Youth coalition  movement, 9 Nov 2020, at  Capital Hotel, Addis Ababa.

It is evident that digital information technology, including mobile phones, the internet and the wide spread online social networks have transformed how we receive, interact with and create media. The change provides endless opportunities for young people to explore learn and socialize, contributing to their overall personal development.

Media, particularly the online media has become young people’s primary source of information, entertainment and space for exercising their rights.  It has increased their interest and engagement in local, regional and global social as well as political movements. Unfortunately, it has also become a vital space for different groups to communicate and promote their narratives and disseminate fake news and misinformation targeting young people.   

In Ethiopia where media messages dominate political debates and social media like Facebook and Twitter used for activism and organizing political movements, it is increasingly important for young people to engage with media critically and responsibly.

As a strategic tool for Meaningful Youth Engagement, the initiative we are launching, Media Smart Youth (MeSY) aims at empowering young people to easily access, critically analyse and evaluate media and enable them, be more responsible in creating and sharing media messages.  It will contribute in the development work we pursue and civil society movement.

During the official launching over 80 participants from federal and regional government representatives and officials, civil society, youth delegates and media professionals attended the meeting.

Media Smart Youth Ethiopia movement conceptualized and developed by Yohannes Teklu, a development practitioner for the last two decades.  The movement has eight founding member organizations and YMCA Ethiopia hosts and serve as coordinating body of the movement.

Youth Civic and Leadership Development


 Supporting Intergenerational Partnerships for Peace

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  • ·A total of 150 youth and adult Peace Ambassadors (75 from Bahir Dar and 75 from Adama) have graduated after receiving trainings on topics such as peace, peace building and strengthening partnership. 
  • Out of those graduated peace ambassadors, a total of 3000 community members (1500 people from Adama and 1500 from Bahir Dar) have been reached out. More specifically, youths, elder, community leaders, religious fathers, experts working with peace and order have been trained on matters such as peace and peace building, strengthening indigenous peace building values and enhancing cooperation and dialogue.
  • 1500 brochures/fliers that strengthen peace and partnership were written in both Amharic and Afan Oromo and disseminated to create public awareness.
  • Under a motto ‘’Strengthening Inter-generational Partnership for Peace one regional and one national workshops held in Adama and Addis Ababa respectively.  Key stakeholders and target groups, i.e. youths, women, adults, community elders & religious leaders from Adama , Addis Ababa and federal level have participated and discussed the peace and peace building issue.
  • Three booklets and documentary videos, showing best practices and lessons learned from the project, have prepared in three languages (Amharic, English and Afan Oromo), published and disseminated. 

for more information, please download  the following documents: 

 Supporting Intergenerational Partnerships for Peace (English Booklet) 

Supporting Intergenerational Partnerships for Peace (Amharic Booklet)

Supporting Intergenerational Partnerships for Peace (Afan Oromo Booklet)


Volunteers Call Announcement

COVID-19 - Public Awareness and Support for Street Vendors

Poor families and children are suffering during the Corona-crisis. The YMCA Ethiopia helps these people to effectively protect themselves - with information, food and health supplies.



YMCA Ethiopia - From the Field

YMCA Ethiopia has launched public awareness road show in Addis Ababa. The youth change agents and young C4D members participating in public awareness and hand washing campaign in public area and in the newly re-located vegetable market, JANMEDA, Sidistkilo area.

YMCA Ethiopia from the Field

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ymca ethiopia logo webThe Young Men's Christian Association, YMCA is a worldwide organization based in Geneva, Switzerland, with more than 2 billion beneficiaries from 125 national associations.
YMCA Ethiopia is pioneer in youth development which was first established in 1951. It has over 3000 young champions, 25,000 members and over 50,000 beneficiaries.  Our vision is to empower young people for the renaissance of Africa. We strive for Reaching more than half a million children, youth and women through power space, skill development  and opportunities At Present we work in Addis Ababa, Oromya, Amhara, Sidama, Southern Nation and Nationalities, Tigraye.

Organizational Mission & Vision


Empowering young people for the African Renascence


Develop young people and the whole community for the holistic transformation in body, mind and spirit through innovative program strategies and services.