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Childcare centre in Arba Minch Prison

31 May 2024

An often-forgotten group of children are children born and raised in prison together with their incarcerated mothers.

Due to various social, cultural, and economic reasons, many women are forced to take their children with them while serving or awaiting a sentence. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (2018), approximately 500 children live in Ethiopian prisons.

There is no school or other arrangement for the children, and they spend the whole day with their mothers and other inmates. They are not allowed to leave the prison grounds.

Some prisons offer courses for the women that give them opportunity to be certified in various skills, and some women also run shops in the area. Unfortunately, many of the women with children cannot attend this because they do not have a safe place to leave their children.

In cooperation with Ministry of Women and Social Affairs and with financial support from Et Rikere Liv Foundation and Erna and Knut Engs Children Foundation decided to build a childcare center in Arba Minch prison.

The Handing Over Ceremony of the Arba Minch Prison ECCE Center took place May 27, 2024. It marked the establishment of a model facility for incarcerated mothers and their children in Ethiopia, while also highlighting the harsh realities these families face.

Prominent figures from the Women, Children and Social Affairs Ministry, along with prison authorities, acknowledged the importance of expanding the work started by PfC across the country. The high quality of the building, achieved within a limited budget, was also widely appreciated.

The ceremony concluded with a call to action and the formation of a committee to create a clear plan going forward, involving all partners. The collective effort of the government, NGOs, and prison authorities was deemed essential for the success of the Arba Minch childcare centre.

Attendees included leaders from the Gamo Zone WSCA, the Southern Ethiopia head and vice head of Women, Children and Social Affairs, the Southern Ethiopia head of the Prison Authority, the head of Arba Minch Prison, the State Minister of Women and Children from the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, and media representatives.

29 children living in the prison compound are ready and excited to start attending their childhood care and education.

PfC would like to extend special thanks to our financial partners Et Rikere Liv Foundation and Erna and Knut Engs Children Foundation as well as the Ethiopian Ministry of Women and Social Affairs, Arba Minch prison, Southern Ethiopia Women, Children and Social Affairs and Gamo Zone Women, and Children and Social Affairs.

Centre-based Childcare