She Thrives: Reducing Child Labor in Ethiopia’s Agricultural Sector using a Gender-Focused Approach

Project Duration:
December 2020
February 2025
Funding and Year:

The She Thrives project seeks to build agency of vulnerable women and girls in the Ethiopian agricultural sector, change community social norms and traditions that uphold child labor and gender inequality, and transform structures (including laws, policies and institutions) to be more gender equitable and support efforts to reduce child labor in Ethiopia.

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The Problem

In Ethiopia, agriculture is the leading sector for employment and coffee is the number one agricultural export commodity; nationwide, 4 million small-scale households are engaged in coffee cultivation. Oromia and SNNPR are Ethiopia’s largest coffee producing regions, accounting for almost 95% of the country’s coffee production. Unlike other agricultural export sectors primarily occupied by men and boys, women and girls undertake 70% of the labor in Ethiopia’s coffee sector. In addition to harvesting, washing and sorting coffee cherries, women and girls’ work includes highly hazardous tasks such as handling pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.

In Oromia and SNNPR, women not involved in coffee cultivation often cultivate spices and khat, which include similar risks. Due to high private labor costs and the manual nature of this agricultural work, women are frequently assisted by children who are engaged by their families or neighbors as informal workers.

In addition to the physical and psychological impact of hazardous informal labor on the children and women who engage in it, these harmful practices rob individuals of their potential to pursue education and fair-paying jobs, to improve their lives and the lives of the household members and larger communities, and to contribute to society. 

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Our Strategy

The She Thrives project aims to reduce child labor in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector, with a focus on the informal sector, using a gender-focused approach by implementing activities that will :

  • Increase capacity of the Government of Ethiopia to address child labor in the agricultural sector, with a focus on the informal sector, using a gender mainstreaming approach. Activities involve collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth (MOWCY), and the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to strengthen the capacity of government agencies to address child labor in the agricultural sector. In addition, the project will collaborate with the Ethiopian Women in Coffee Association (EWCA) to train private sector partners on understanding and preventing child labor and other labor violations within the coffee value chain.
  • Improve the ability of communities to reduce child labor, using a gender mainstreaming approach.
  • Increase economic stability of households vulnerable to child labor, with a focus on women and girls. Activities will include ensuring vulnerable households have enhanced technical, life skills, and access to employment services; diversified income; and increased access to social protections.

The project will provide direct services to 10,300 people, including vulnerable women and men, and girls and boys engaged in or vulnerable to child labor in 10 districts ("woredas") within the geographic regions of SNNPR (Gedeo) and Oromia (Ilubabor-Yayu).

Grantee: Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE)
Implementing Partners: Balaya Children’s and Family Charitable Organization (Balaya), Women Children Integrated Development Association (IWCIDA)
Contact Information:
(202) 693-4843
Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)