Ethiopia this year launched a strategic youth-centered National Voluntary Community Service Programme to help the country create a platform to empower youth to engage in peace, sustain economic growth, increase their entrepreneurship skills and engage in development.
According to the UNFPA, youth and adolecents make up a third of the Ethiopian population.
The National Voluntary Community Service Programme is a one-year intervention Implemented by the Ministry of Peace with the technical and financial support of UNDP and Sweden International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) who have provided USD 1 million each for the programme. UNDP is supporting this programme as part of its strategic governance intervention in Ethiopia.
The programme celebrated its first milestone in March with a graduation ceremony for 10,000 youth volunteers who had attended a 45-day pre-deployment training led by the Ministry of Peace. This training focused on skill development such as life skills and leadership, digital media smart use, civic rights and social virtue, peacebuilding, consensus building in diversity, entrepreneurship and employability, community service, and learning activities.
The youth will soon be deployed throughout the country (to places different from where they came from) to provide community services for the next ten months.
The aim of the deployment to foster and promote the culture of voluntarism, national harmony, social cohesion, and integration benefiting both the youth and hosting communities and the public at large. Further, it is also expected to empower the youth themselves to constructively engage in national development and governance processes and to be champions of peace and contribute to nation-building, peaceful co-existence, and sustainable peace.
In his congratulatory remarks, PM Abiy Ahmed encouraged the youth to focus on the productive pulse of Ethiopia, by cultivating aspirations, energy, and hard work also appealing to them to be open to learn and enrich to others cultures different from their background.