Work in Ethiopia began by combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, expanding to improve access to water, food, education, and jobs, and to treat podoconiosis.

Improving Health and Economic Stability for Families

  • Ethiopia has the second highest population in Africa with an estimated 99 million people.
  • Nearly 40% of citizens live below the poverty line.
  • 80% of Ethiopians live in rural areas and rely on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood.

The vulnerability of families is frequently compounded by natural and man-made hazards such as drought, floods, disease outbreaks, inter-communal conflict and refugee influxes from neighboring states. In addition, access to clean water and basic health care, including life-saving maternal and neonatal services, remains low.

How Your Donations Help the People of Ethiopia

Since initiating small-scale activities in 2003, IOCC has worked in close cooperation with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission. Your donations improve healthcare, access to food, clean water, education, and jobs for Ethiopia's families.

Combating HIV and AIDS

Coffee Talks Help Curb HIV in Ethiopia's Children

The aroma of coffee brewing and corn popping welcomes expectant mother Mintimar, 28, and daughter, Kalkidan, 3, as they gather with others for an Ethiopian coffee ceremony hosted by an Orthodox priest in their town of Debre Markos. The ritual of preparing and serving coffee and snacks to guests is a symbol of hospitality and fellowship. Working in partnership with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC), IOCC is delivering HIV/AIDS awareness messages over coffee as a way to help curb the spread of an epidemic that has orphaned 900,000 Ethiopian children, and infected more than 760,000 of the country's people. Whether HIV-infected or not, children born to women living with HIV face a higher risk of illness and death. Poverty, isolation and limited access to health care facilities often make life-saving care out of reach. IOCC's program aims to reverse this tragic outcome.

More than 720 IOCC trained Orthodox clergy and female community leaders use such gatherings around the country to educate pregnant mothers about getting tested and preventing the transmission of HIV to their unborn children. Men are also welcomed and encouraged to be tested along with their wives. On this day, Aba Tefera, an Orthodox priest, and his wife volunteer for the screening to help remove the stigma of being tested. Mintimar and three other expectant mothers also agree to HIV testing. IOCC has reached more than 370,000 women and 361,000 male partners with its HIV/AIDS prevention message since 2009, and screened nearly 22,000 pregnant mothers and 12,000 male partners for HIV.

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  • This debilitating but preventable foot condition afflicts three million Ethiopians and threatens the health of 35 million more. With the support of our donors, we’re responding with a successful prevention and treatment program that is being adopted as a model by other nations also trying to eradicate this neglected disease.

  • IOCC has also provided shoemaker training to young men formerly working as street vendors. They produce much needed custom footwear for sufferers of podoconiosis and simultaneously earn a steady income they can use to return to college or to start a family.
Assistance for People with Disabilities

IOCC is helping to bring mobility and a better quality of life to people with disabilities and their families by improving access to high quality mobility services. The program provides ready access to wheelchair assembly parts and job training for production workers, physiotherapists and wheelchair recipients, which in turn will benefit the lives of 2,900 wheelchair users, including 750 children. We've also partnered with local organizations run by people with disabilities to provide start-up capital for their small businesses and trained 750 people in basic business skills.

Your Gift at Work—Meet Belete

9-year old Belete was born without legs. His parents both work— his father as a day laborer and his mother as a home-based baker-- but the family barely gets by. His parents couldn’t afford to take time off from work to carry Belete to and from school each day.

As a result Belete spent most days in the yard of his family's modest home in Ambo, Ethiopia, staying out of sight so passersby wouldn’t stare at him. He quietly passed the hours fashioning crude toys out of sticks and twine.

But thanks to your generous support, Belete is much happier and "on the move!" He received a new wheelchair from IOCC and can now attend school with his siblings. He is rapidly flourishing in class and at play with his new classmates. Thanks for giving Belete a bright future!