Green job investment and better mental health services for young people in Ethiopia
With NOK 5.2 million (512 000 €) from the Kavlifondet, ADRA Norway and local partners are creating environmentally friendly workplaces for young people in Ethiopia. At the same time, new offers will be established to promote good mental health among students.
The funds will be used for a broad-based project for several hundred young people from families in a challenging life situation. They will be used for youth projects with an emphasis on education, mental health, environmentally friendly work initiatives, and training in recycling and reuse.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries, with one of the world’s youngest populations, according to ADRA Norway. Every year, more than three million young people enter the labor market with insufficient or poor education.
The Kavlifondet is a foundation that owns the entire Kavlik Group, which is the only food group in Norway that distributes the entire profit after operations to good causes. The public benefit is thus not part of the business, but its entire purpose.
Inger Elise Iversen, managing director of Kavlifondet, is very happy about the new cooperation agreement with ADRA Norway: “We are impressed by their many years of work and good results as a Norwegian aid actor. Now, we look forward to working together so that more young people can get a job while at the same time creating the good climate and environmental solutions in Ethiopia.”
Through the project, at least 360 students will receive approved vocational training in the installation and maintenance of solar cell technology. The solar industry is a growing market in Ethiopia, and the demand for installers is increasing. The renewable energy sector is becoming increasingly important in the face of climate change.
The education program is scheduled for the start of the semester after the summer holidays this year. Program director in Ethiopia, Elidhon Bardhi, believes that the collaboration between ADRA Norway and the Kavlifondet will contribute to both immediate and long-term changes in the years to come.
“Education in solar cell technology opens up employment opportunities in forward-looking professions. In addition, with this training, the young people can become robust “agents of change” who promote climate-smart behavior in many areas of society, says Bardhi.
Jonathan Telfer, the advisor for the project in Ethiopia, also emphasizes the positive ripple effects: “Vocational training of this caliber is crucial when Ethiopia is to cope with the transition to climate adaptation across all sectors”.
At least 600 students will participate in the courses in recycling. And the newly acquired expertise will be shared: a group of students at each educational institution will be given the responsibility of launching information and attitude-creating campaigns together with their families and local communities. Together, they will thus reach a large number of people.
Mental health care
The education program will also ensure that 600 students get increased access to mental health care and psychosocial support. One goal is for the students to learn more about how to take care of their mental health so that they are better prepared throughout their course of study and into the job market. Teachers and local resource persons must also receive basic training on mental health challenges.
“I am particularly thinking about how important it is to strengthen work with mental health. Young people in rural Ethiopia are facing the threat of conflict – at the same time they are feeling the consequences of the pandemic in an already challenging socio-economic situation”, says Sandra Björk Bergan, ADRA Norway’s advisor for the project.
ADRA Norway collaborates with the University of Bergen in its efforts to promote mental health among children and young people. ADRA Norway is also part of the core group of the network for global mental health in Norway.