Save the children in Ethiopia has successfully launched its Every Last Child Campaign in Jigjiga, Somali Regional State on the 15th of December 2016.

The launching of the three-years campaign was attended by children, teachers, representatives of the federal government, representatives of key government bureaus from the two regional states (Afar and Somali Regions), the parliamentarians, religious leaders, community figures, youth and women associations, international and local NGOs, UN agencies, local and national media and other stakeholders.  

The campaign aims to increase the commitment of government and other stakeholders to work together to improve access to the reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), expansion of quality early childhood care and education (pre-primary education) for children aged 4-6 years; as well as strengthening the fight to stop child, early and forced marriage and FGM.

To this end, Every Last Child campaign calls for fair financing so as appropriate budget will be allocated for children both at federal and regional levels; equal treatment of girls and boys in every aspect of their lives and accountability to children in pastoralist and developing regions in Ethiopia. This will enable children to survive, learn and protected to have a better future.

Senior advisor to the President of the Somali Regional State, Mr. Abdelfattah Ahmed stated during  his opening remark “Save the Children has been the best friend of children in Somali Region and this campaign will contribute largely to the progresses being made to realize children’s future.”

The Regional Health Bureau Head Mr. Hassen Ismael on his part said, “the Regional government has been working aggressively to improve the health services to mothers, children and the newborn; and the priority of the Save the Children’s Every Last Child Campaign remains the priority of our Regional State. We jointly advance to respond to the children’s demands.”

Both boys and girls played key roles for the colorful and successful celebration of the launching event.

Over 30 children who represented different primary and junior schools boldly aired out their demands in local, national and global languages that are in line with our campaign breakthroughs; and officially asked the government officials to deliver to the Three Guarantees; fair finance, equal treatment and accountability to deliver to children’ demands.

Representatives of federal Ministries and the Regional council and the Bureau Heads have shown strong solidarity and pledged to commit to respond to the demands of children with the view of realizing their better future.

The campaign will utilize the approach of blending its major activities with basic education, health, child protection and other programs of Save the Children which are implemented throughout the country. 

Save the Children Ethiopia’s Deputy Country Director for National Programmes, Mr. Ekin Ogutogullari, reminded the audience in his speech that the commitment of few or a group of individuals can make a difference in the lives of children. He stressed that the commitment and hard work of those who represent their respective institution can do a great job to change the future of children.

Director of Research, Uptake, Campaigns and CRG, Dr. Eshetu Bekele on his part said that despite the fact that there has been a tremendous improvement on the health, education and protection of children both at national and global levels, but there are still children that are left behind. Save the children’s Every Last Child campaign targets those left behind children in Ethiopia. In his presentation from the EveryOne to the Every Last Child Campaign, he identified the categories of children that are left behind in Ethiopia, the objectives of the campaign, our aspirations and strategies on how to achieve our ambitions, among other things.   

Doris Mpoumou, Director, Save the Children’s AU Liaison and Pan Africa Office, have made a brief presentation on the African Union’s (AU) campaign on ending child marriage. Doris emphasized on the commitment of the AU and how Save the Children is contributing to the success of this continent wide campaign. She also indicated as Save the Children’s AU Advocacy office is closely working with the Ethiopia country office on this campaign and other issues.

RMNCH policy dialogue carried out

On the eve of launching the Every Last Child Campaign, health policy dialogue was conducted targeting representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC), the Parliamentarians, regional health bureau and the Media. The purpose was to flag the situations of the RMNCH especially the newborn issue in the pastoralist regions, stage the equity care and service delivery issues and to leverage more consensus between and among the federal and regional health sectors and other stakeholders. The dialogue was mainly to hear on the government’s commitment towards the MNCH and to emphasize how the newborn issues at various levels are being prioritized, including in the implementations as one of its key concerns; and therefore, this prompts real synergy amid-campaign launch and to work through the 2018.

As a background to this dialogue, Dr. Eshetu presented on Save the Children’s strategic focuses and priority areas as well as commitments towards fulfilling its 2030 ambitions for Every Last Child in Ethiopia.

Representatives of the federal ministries, as well as Afar and Somali Regional sector bureaus have confirmed that the newborn care and services deserves huge attention; and the regional health bureaus will prioritize this in 2017 and beyond as well. They also underlined that the support of the Ministry of Health as well as Save the Children remains essential to intensify the service for every last child campaigns success across the pastoralist and developing regions.

Media Roundtable conducted

As part of the Gates health advocacy on the RMNCH, media roundtable was organized in Somali regional state a day before the launch of Every Last Child Campaign. The media roundtable was organized for the media house drawn from the federal level and the Regions. It was attended by the representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs, together with the Regional Health Bureau, Education and the Bureau of Finance & Economic Cooperation; both from afar and Somali Regional States.

To aware and sensitize the media on SDGs a background presentation was made by Dr. Eshetu. He stressed on the difference between the MDGs and SDGs and how the national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) is aligned as well as how Save the Children is playing its role in achieving these national and global goals. This was carried out with more focus on SDG- 3+4 while their interdependence with all other goals is there. Eshetu asked the Federal and Regional officials on how they addressed children issues in their planning and budgeting and executed them. This was intensively discussed in relation to the Health Sector Transformation Plan (HSTP); ECCE and Child Protection by boldly stressing on the roles of the key stakeholders. The media people also asked the authorities a range of questions around these issues.

The outcome was that the media professionals became familiar with key targets of the SDGs and the alignment of the SDG3 to the RMNCH. Likewise, the Regional authorities are informed that they are expected to perform in accordance with the pledges in the SDGs to improve the lives of the excluded children through increased funding and political commitment. Overall, the media roundtable was sufficiently covered and broadcasted nationwide in different local languages.