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Empowering the poorest communities to end child poverty

How We Work

November-2010-152People in the communities we work with in Ethiopia have experienced deep levels of poverty for generations. But it doesn’t need to continue this way.

Partners for Change works with communities helping them to develop their own solutions to their problems, particularly those of orphan and vulnerable children. We help people to come together, form organisations representing all sections of the community, and develop sustainable ways of changing the lives of their most vulnerable members.




To do this community organisations develop a range of activities – these include:

  • Direct orphan support – carers are found from within the community and are provided with money for food and clothing for their new family member. Children are provided with additional tuition. Training and a start-up loan to set up a small business are provided to the carer and once they are generating sufficient income the support stops and moves on to benefit another orphan child.
  • Education – tuition classes help disadvantaged children to catch up with missed classes. Adults who haven’t receive an education – especially women – can take basic literacy and numeracy classes to help them run their small businesses.
  • Health and sanitation – Community members build and maintain communal toilets, showers and kitchens. Volunteers from the community collect refuse and keep their communities clean and safe for all.
  • Urban agriculture – people are trained how to grow fruit and vegetables in confined areas and learn how to keep chickens and sheep.
  • Income generation – women save money in self-help groups and start up small businesses, they support each other and grow in confidence and change their status in the community.
  • Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation – in some areas the weather is changing and as a consequence people face the threat of flood and / or drought. The community organisations find ways of reducing the risk to life and property from flood and learn how to harvest water and grow food from drought resistant crops

The community organisations are given on-going training, visit other more established organisations and learn from them. They develop income generating projects such as community grain banks, bakeries, shops and dairies and all profits go toward continuing the work.

Profits from this grain bank in Debre Berhan

In order for children to flourish they need a loving family and to grow up in a community that can provide them with opportunities. The Partners for Change approach ensures this is done with the community making the decisions and enabling the poorest people to create a better future for themselves and their children.

A tried and tested partnership model

We work in close partnership with our Ethiopian partner JeCCDO

Our work is informed by the following key principles

  • Partners for Change is committed to long term and sustainable change for poor urban slum communities in Ethiopia
  • Change is only possible if local people make the decisions, and manage development programmes themselves
  • People in the UK can learn and benefit from engagement with Ethiopian communities

Partnership is central to our work – we partner with

  • Local people from the communities we work with who volunteer their time and knowledge
  • Local government in Ethiopia who give land for activities such as tutorial classes, urban agriculture demonstration plots, community organization offices, income generation schemes (e.g. community grain banks and dairies) amongst others
  • JeCCDO – our operating partner who works closely to enable the community organisations to develop and run the work
  • Charitable trusts who provide funding
  • Members of the public in the UK who donate time and money

Community members support each other.

Partnership with charitable trusts such as Comic Relief has been central to our success.

Pupils at Willingdon school raised funds through writing, illustrating and selling a book, learning business skills in the process

This approach has been incredibly successful and JeCCDO has pioneered many new approaches in Ethiopia such as urban agriculture, self-help groups, community managed disaster risk reduction and urban climate change adaptation. We are keen to reach more urban slum communities to this end in 2011 a training centre for community based organisations was opened in Debre Zeit and a second is scheduled to open in Bahir Dar in 2013.