Ethiopia launches national youth volunteer service program

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The Ethiopian government is launching what is poised to become Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s flagship program of “trans-boundary volunteers.”

With this program, youth volunteers are to serve outside of their respective ethnic-based Federal states, seemingly which is why it is named “trans-boundary”, in the country.

1000 graduating students drawn from different parts of Ethiopia are taking part in the program which started on 8 August. And the volunteers are to get credit for their participation when they are looking for employment after graduation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the volunteers today before they are deployed to where they are assigned.

“When you serve the community as volunteers, you also need to learn and acquire knowledge as well,” the prime minister told the volunteers. He meant to emphasise that there is knowledge in the community outside of university and other institutions of higher learning.

Apart from providing new graduates with relevant work experience, the motive of the program is to foster what the government describes as “people to people relation” and national feeling.

Ethiopia has a history of mobilising youth for volunteer work in the community. Soon after the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974, Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam’s government embarked on a nationwide illiteracy eradication program by deploying hundreds of thousands of youth in the countryside in different parts of the country to provide basic education. The plan was successful so much so that illiteracy was significantly reduced in the country.


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