SIHA’s focus of work in Ethiopia  is Addressing the Conditions of Trafficked Women Deported Back to Ethiopia, encompassing the issue of human trafficking and migration, specifically targeting women and girls, who have been deported back to Ethiopia and are facing hardship upon their return.

Ethiopia as a country has one of the most comprehensive and equitable criminal codes in terms of addressing violence against women, and the country’s family laws are largely adhering to international standards, especially when compared to other countries in the region. However, Ethiopia is also one of the most culturally diverse countries.  Individual cultures within Ethiopia promote their own customary practices.

Legal Framework

As customary legal systems and formal legal systems provide different definitions of the rights and equality status of women,the protection of women’s rights is uneven and unclear In 2004, Ethiopia criminalized FGM, yet it still needs to be fully implemented to ensure the law is translated into practice. Although, there are possibilities for proactively engaging in civil society work in Ethiopia, non-governmental actors find themselves blocked continuously from the Charities and Societies Proclamation. The Proclamation blocks Ethiopian NGO who working on rights-based issues, from accepting more than 10 percent of their funding from foreign sources and gives the government authority to appoint the NGO’s leadership positions.

After a 17-year period of socialist experimentation, Ethiopia’s socialist military government imploded in 1991. Ethiopia was reincorporated into the sphere of neoliberalism and adopted a social engineering project that brought unprecedented misfortune in the modern history of the country. The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) assumed power and adopted market-oriented structural and institutional reforms as a condition of getting an infusion of transnational capital and credit to resituate the Ethiopian economy. Ethiopia’s economy had been stagnant throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Since 2005, civil society organizations in Ethiopia have faced political repression.
Critical voices in civil society can no longer be heard and women’s public and political activism is now tightly controlled by the regime and faces an uncertain future. The nature of the repression being experienced by gender and women’s rights activists needs to be understood against the backdrop of Ethiopian women’s long history of involvement in public life despite the persistence of strong traditional and patriarchal cultures. The initial introduction of political space for civil society activism under the new regime created opportunities and a new type of activism based around women’s rights. Ironically, this also resulted in activists being re-designated as political actors by the ruling party.

Activists were perceived as a political threat and a challenge to opposition party politics. The response from the ruling regime has been to close down the space for civic society activism and rights-based work.

Addressing the Conditions of Trafficked Women Deported Back to Ethiopia

SIHA’s focus of work in Ethiopia focuses on the issue of human trafficking and migration, specifically targeting women and girls, who have been deported back to Ethiopia and are facing hardship upon their return. The challenges obtaining suitable work permits and travel documents forces the majority off of them to leave the country by irregular means, thus increasing their vulnerability of being subjected to human trafficking. The primary objective of SIHA’s project Is to improve the welfare and the human rights of women migrants or trafficked domestic laborers and to increase awareness of human rights violations around the migration of domestic workers.

Economically and Legally Empowering Ethiopian and Eritrean Migrants in Sudan and Improving Integration in Sudan

Refugee or migrant Ethiopian and Eritrean women who have limited understanding of refugee legislation and limited access to protection, health or economic support, are subjected to the institutionalized subordination of women embedded in Sudanese legislation.

Capacity Building for Civil Society Organizations on Human Rights and Gender Equality

SIHA provided and facilitated a series of training focusing on understanding essential frameworks of leadership (basics of leadership, levels of leadership, shifts leaders need to take, leading and managing practices), basic competencies of leadership and organizational development overview and assessment.

Our Work in Pictures:

SIHA has been working mostly in the regions of Tigray and Oromo, as well as in Sudan, with the Ethiopian Migrant community. SIHA currently has 15 member organizations in Ethiopia:

  • Action Professionals Association for People (APAP)
  • Association for Women’s Sanctuary and Development (AWSAD)
  • Beza Organising Association of Women in Need
  • Circus in Ethiopia for Youth and Social Development
  • Ethiopian Women Lawyer Association (EWLA)
  • Good Samaritan Association (GSA)
  • Love for Children Organisation (LCO)
  • Mothers and Children Multisectoral Development Organisation.
  • Mujejegwa Loka Women Development Association (MLWDA)
  • Multi – Purpose Community Development (MCDP)
  • Network for Ethiopia Women Associations (NEWA)
  • New Millennium Hope Development Organisation (NMHDO)
  • Siiqqee Women’s Development Association (SWDA)
  • Union of Ethiopian Women Charitable Associations (UEWCA)