Elimination of Violence Against Orphaned Girls

Elimination of Violence Against Orphaned Girls

Addis Ababa, EthiopiaAddis Ababa, Ethiopia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Children’s Heaven provides services to orphaned girls. We aim to protect them from violence and to provide love and support when violence has occurred.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Orphaned girls in Ethiopia are vulnerable to violence, due to gender related socioeconomic and cultural conditions. Violence can be sexual abuse, excessive domestic work or physical abuse in their communities. Abuse results in health, emotional and behavioural issues, as well as social and economic costs. The rights of orphaned girls, particularly those living or working in the street, or engaging in commercial sex, are often violated since they have limited access to institutional protection. The girls at Children’s Heaven have experienced various forms of violence; of 81 girls who receive services, approximately 65% have experienced violence. Some of the girls have been sexually abused and raped, with pregnancy as a consequence. We aim to stem violence against orphan girls in Ethiopia.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

By establishing a violence prevention and victim support center for at-risk orphans, we echo voices of girls who have experienced great tragedy in their young lives-voices that often remain unheard. The goal of our Violence Prevention and Victim Support Center is to protect vulnerable orphaned girls from all forms of violence and to provide support and assistance when violence has occurred. Primary roles of the Center will be advocacy, education and intervention. Violence occurs in the home, schools, community, workplace and care institutions (African Child Policy Forum, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, 2008). We will focus on the home, school and community. We will identify relevant stakeholders (government, civil society, NGOs and community based) who have a vested interest in preventing violence to girls and invite them to participate in a Violence Prevention Community Coalition. We will work closely with these stakeholders to develop partnerships for long-term solutions.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

To address violence in the home, we will develop, implement and evaluate: (a) home visitation programs to foster good relationships between orphaned girls and their extended family or guardians, and (b) culturally appropriate and gender sensitive parenting programs that educate and support families to provide a violence-free home. To address violence in schools, we will: (a) establish NO - VIOLENCE AGAINST GIRLS Clubs in targeted schools, (b) help the school establish, implement and monitor a Code of Conduct that reflects violence prevention practices and child rights principles, and (c) award schools for best performance. Violence against girls in the community includes physical and sexual violence, notably against street girls and HIV positive orphan girls. To address violence in the community, we aim to: (a) collaborate with community leaders to promote social norms that emphasize respect, non-violence and gender equity, (b) provide training and materials to community-based organizations, (c) form support groups that will enable orphaned girls to speak out about violence and abuse that they have themselves experienced, and (d) conduct Quarterly Consultative Meetings with community leaders and relevant government offices. The Center will involve all of these stakeholders to develop an effective reporting system of violence incidents. Additionally, these partners will collaborate to facilitate a rehabilitation and recovery program at Children’s Heaven for orphaned girls who have been victimized, whether in the home, school or community.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children’s Affairs (MOWYCA) is the institution responsible for coordinating government and non-governmental efforts related to child services and protection. Of 348 members, only 54 are working in girls’ care and rights. Major duties of MOWYCA include financial support for victims, provision of basic needs (shelter, food, health care), legal aid, educational support and child support. Our difference is that we focus directly on environmental norms and practices that contribute to violence against orphaned girls. We will work with families, as well as schools and the community, filling an unmet need. We will develop a system to report and document cases of abuse and will lobby government organizations for laws to prohibit any forms of violence.

Founding Story

Hanna Fanta, Founder of Children’s Heaven, shares her story. “ I grew up in Ethiopia. My parents owned a dairy farm which was passed on to me to manage. But I had an opportunity to work for the United Nations in New York, and lived there from 1989 to 2004. Leaving behind my two biological children and a granddaughter in the U.S., I returned to Ethiopia in 2004 to do an assessment of the situation of orphans in Addis Ababa. What I found changed me forever. In Addis, I discovered an overwhelming number of orphans facing excessive emotional and physical burdens due to poverty, living conditions, abuse and gender discrimination. In 2005, I started Children’s Heaven with five girls, to provide a safety net and get them off the streets. The program grew to 81 in 2011. My aha moment came in 2004, when the overwhelming situation of the orphans won my heart. I decided then that I would serve them for the rest of my life, to share their burden and create a better future for them.”
About You
Children's Heaven
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Children's Heaven

Organization Country

, Addis Ababa

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Addis Ababa

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for more than 5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost, Quality.

Social Impact
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve

We aim to protect vulnerable orphaned girls from all forms of violence and to provide support and assistance when violence has occurred. By establishing a violence prevention and support center for at-risk orphans, we provide sanctuary for girls who have experienced great tragedy in their young lives. The girls who receive services at Children`s Heaven have lost one or both parents and many have experienced abuse at home or at school. Pregnancy, infection with HIV and emotional scars are familiar consequences. Primary roles of the center will be to advocate for the girls and navigate the legal system on their behalf, educate teachers and community leaders about the prevalence of violence against orphans, and offer counselling and rehabilitation services to victims at Children`s Heaven.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

At Children's Heaven we have periodically conducted a counseling program to strengthen the girls both emotionally and physically so they will be able to defend themselves when they are most likely to experience abuse, in school and on the streets. This emotional support is enabling the teens to learn crucial communication skills to assert themselves, and to defend themselves physically and verbally. This program is offered to our teen girls from time to time, depending on the frequency of volunteer visits from local professional counselors who assist us. The counseling program has given the teens confidence to be better young women, to improve their lives, and to realize that they have power and need to use it appropriately and effectively. We are gratified when these efforts lead to improved school attendance and learning new skills that can be translated to jobs.

What is your projected impact over the next five years?

At the local level, we aim to reduce acts of violence to orphan girls through the activities described. We plan to develop an effective reporting system among all relevant parties to facilitate monitoring of activities and the number of incidents. The reporting tool will be made available to other social services organizations and NGOs. Collaboration among stakeholders is necessary to develop this system but it will benefit the entire community, and will serve as a template for other communities and cities that experience a high incidence of violence against orphaned girls. Staff and Board members who are associated with this project will disseminate information about challenges and successes through social media such as FaceBook, through written reports and at professional meetings.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

First, cultural norms and taboos will present barriers. We will address this challenge by developing culturally sensitive materials to use in the parenting program, at the NO VIOLENCE AGAINST GIRLS club activities, and in community presentations. Second, to facilitate communication among stakeholders (government, NGOs, community based organizations), we will use project management principles to identify common goals, build consensus and develop formal partnerships for long term solutions. Third, to overcome lack of resources, we hope to use grant funds to hire a staff person to serve as the coordinator of the center. Additionally, we plan to develop an international mentorship program to link staff to members of the Children’s Heaven Board U.S.A. who have expertise in specific areas.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Establishment and public recognition of the Violence Prevention and Victim Support Center

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Write a job description for the Coordinator of the Center, hire the Program Coordinator, open the Center, identify mentors.

Task 2

Develop culturally sensitive materials to use in the parenting program, schools, girls clubs, and community.

Task 3

Identify/invite stakeholders to participate in Violence Prevention Coalition, develop strategic goals for coalition.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Reduction in the number of reported incidents of violence against orphan girls in their homes, schools and community.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

With consensus among stakeholders, design and implement the reporting system that will be used by local organizations.

Task 2

With the participation of our stakeholders, conduct 3 community awareness events and establish 3 Girls Clubs.

Task 3

Sign contracts with schools who agree to adhere to the Code of Conduct that reflects violence prevention practices.

Tell us about your partnerships

We help girls who have lost one or both parents to AIDS to obtain food, clothing and shelter, stay in school, and learn skills necessary for healthy adulthood. We partner with two local organizations, Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations (CCRDA) and Ellilta (EWAR), who help us render quality services that address physical, mental and social needs. We honour our partners who have been instrumental in making Children’s Heaven such a success at the local level. Without mutual commitment, we could not have accomplished as much as we have during the past 7 years.

Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your innovation? If so, where and why?

Children’s Heaven has signed a operational agreement with the government of Ethiopia to offer basic services through its Community Based Child Development Program. This partnership has already begun to provide basic services and will expand to include these services in Woredas 1, 2, 3 and 4, in the city of Addis Ababa city, Kolfe District. These operations, and collaboration among staff, provide the groundwork for the next phase, which is to launch the innovation – Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Orphaned Girls – within the same locations and populations.

What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?

We are well positioned to achieve success. Ethiopia has signed the United Nations Convention of Child Rights agreement, and government agencies have workable policies and guidelines regarding orphan girls. Our goals mesh with the goals of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), a non- governmental, independent pan-African policy advocacy organization, which works for the realisation of child rights. The work of ACPF is inspired by universal values and informed by global experiences and knowledge. The forum aims to provide opportunities for dialogue to contribute to improved knowledge of problems facing African children. Most importantly, our Staff and Board are deeply committed to our vision and goals. The girls themselves and their extended families share this commitment.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Due to the stressful nature of working with girls who have been physically or sexually abused, our staff would benefit from mentoring by experienced counselors. To help us identify action plans and monitor progress, we may need assistance with project management tools. Sustainability goals include sales and donations through our website, thus training in social media would be a great help.