UNDP’s COVID19 support partnership with Japan has helped to create jobs for vulnerable communities who were finding it hard to make ends meet during the pandemic, while communities have been supported to invest in keeping their cities clean and green.
Ethiopia announced its first COVID case in March 2020 and by March 2021 the country had recorded over 200,000 cases.
According to UNDP Ethiopia’s Deputy Resident Representative for programmes, Mr. Cleophas Torori, “Mitigating the negative effects of covid-19 on small and micro-enterprises in Ethiopia by providing them with the knowledge, tools and resources has been and will continue to be a major focus of the partnership between UNDP, the Jobs Creation Commission and the Government of Japan. Helping them to recover from the crisis and adjusting to the new market dynamics will be a specific focus in 2021 and beyond. This project is the latest in a long line of partnership initiatives supported by the Government of Japan, a key strategic partner of UNDP over the years, ranging from capacity building in peacekeeping to livelihood interventions for refugees and host communities and now to covid recovery”.
The COVID19 support focused on existing UNDP-supported initiatives. These included the partnership with the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction around the Urban NAMA COMPOST project that promotes greater use of integrated solid waste management and urban greening. The COMPOST interventions in Adama, Bishoftu, and Dire Dawa were provided with COVID19 support allowing for the creation of over 5,000 temporary jobs, over 3,000 for women.
Waste management and greening was also the focus of the COVID19 support in Jigjiga.
Mohammed Abdulkadir is a young man living in Jigjiga and says that COVID restricted the movements of those like him who run around earning daily wages. The COVID19 support for communities is helping in two ways. In addition to earning an income from this temporary work, Mohammed is happy because he stresses that cleanliness and beauty are essential attributes of a city.
Tigist Abraha lives in Dire Dawa and makes a living sorting plastic to be recycled. She appreciated the COVID19 support because it wasn’t a handout but helped her to keep working. When COVID19 hit she found that the highly interactive nature of her work placed her at a disadvantage, and she found herself collecting less plastic and therefore bringing less money to her family.
Local communities benefited from these extra jobs which helped to clean up health hazards including the cleaning of over 800km of open drainage areas.
Haile Figa lives in one of the four zones in Gedo and west Guji receiving the COVID19 support. The area has high population density and hosts large numbers of IDPs and returnees following conflicts in recent years. This has placed a heavy burden on the land and natural resource degradation is a concern in the area. Haile took part in conservation activities and used the money he earned for his children’s schooling and to buy some poultry for the family.
The partnership with Japan also supported a COVID19 emergency response project launched by the Jobs Creation Commission (JCC) to evaluate, monitor, and with gender-sensitive measures counter the negative impact of the pandemic on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in both the formal and informal sector.
Following the training of stakeholders in all nine regions and two city administrations and the introduction of the new online platform launched by the JCC to solicit submissions from interested enterprises. The project also worked with the Development Bank of Ethiopia to distribute soft loans and grants to the selected MSMEs across the country. Hasna Alew lives in Semera and was one of the 13,272 MSMEs (70% are female-headed businesses) who were successfully shortlisted from the over 17,834 applicants across the country. Informal businesses are provided with 10,800 birr grants while soft loans ranging from 30,000 to 60,000 birr are provided to MSMEs. The project also provides from 16,000 to 75,000 birr wage subsidies to micro and small businesses respectively.
Hasna was a member of a thriving association selling in Semera and neighbouring towns and even had contracts to supply the local university. The rising cost of transport and the lockdown of universities meant that Hasna’s stock was sitting around and getting spoilt. Hasna is using the 10,800 birr grant support she received from the COVID19 to reconnect with her suppliers and buyers and get her business back on track.