Our Activities in Ethiopia

ACEPO-Africa in Jigjiga, Somali Region in Ethiopia

ACEPO started its operations in Jigjiga in the Somali region in Ethiopia in 2023 immediately after establishing an office in the capital, Addis Ababa. Our goal is to prevent and end violence against women and girls, support and promote education, ensure child protection, as well as stop female genital mutilation, and to promote women’s livelihoods.

The Somali state is among the poorest regions in the country, with an unemployment rate reaching nearly 87% among the working-age population although these figures should be approached with some reservation, as they do not include individuals who are self-employed in agriculture, for example. Many families earn a meager living from livestock farming, cultivation, or the sale of firewood and charcoal.

Extreme weather events resulting from climate change make livelihoods and sustenance even more challenging. The Somali region suffers from severe drought, which makes agriculture difficult. On the other hand, in 2023, heavy rains and floods have caused damage to settlements and agriculture.

It is typical in the Somali region for girls to assist in raising younger siblings, participate in household chores, and marry at a young age and they are often vulnerable to dropping out of school to work to supplement their families’ poor livelihoods.

Female genital mutilation is highly prevalent in the Somali region, with almost every girl and woman aged 15-49 having undergone the procedure. So far, the reduction of cases in the area has been minimal, around 0.4 percent per year.13,14. ACEPO will address these issues in collaboration with government institutions, UN Agencies and international donors.

The Status of Women’s Rights in Jigjiga in Somali region of Ethiopia

The status of women in Jigjiga is weaker than that of men, and women’s rights are still a relatively unknown concept for many. A woman’s value is often measured by the role she plays as a wife and mother. Girls and women suffer from harmful practices such as child and forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and gender-based violence.


77.% women survey reported drought as their biggest challenge followed by COVID-19 (72%) resulting in increased rates of school drop-out by girls hence increase in early child marriage (40%) at the age 20-24, child labor, and female genital mutilation.

Approximately 33.9% women and girls living in settlements reported some form of gender-based violence while 27.3% others experience limited access to services and resources.

Only 27% of female-headed-households surveyed reported having access to education reflected the gendered roles (64%) reported by both men and women surveyed.

An estimated 82.6% of the girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation. Nearly half of girls and women aged 15-19 have been subjected to the practice.

Majority 70% of primary school-age children in Jigjiga do not attend school, and more than half of them are girls. Traditional gender norms, heavy domestic workloads for girls, and long distances to school are typical barriers to education.

Ethiopia has progressive legislation and programs aimed at promoting gender equality, with the goal of ending child marriages and female genital mutilation by 2025.

However, the challenge lies not in the legislation but in the persistence of harmful practices, primarily fuelled by a conservative social climate and deeply rooted perceptions of women’s roles in society.


Despite these grim figures, there have been improvements over the years. Female genital mutilation is now less prevalent than in previous generations, and an increasing number of Ethiopians believe that the harmful tradition banned by law in 2004 should be abandoned.