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VSO has been working in Ethiopia since 1996, and it is currently one of the largest country programmes with over 100 volunteers working in the areas of education and health.

85 000 000
Capital city
Addis Ababa
GDP per capita
HDI ranking
174 out of 187
Life expectancy
59 years


The majority of volunteers in Ethiopia are working in the area of education. The percentage of children enrolled in primary school increased from 64 per cent in 2002 to 95 per cent in 2011. Gross primary enrolment rate for girls increased from 83.9 per cent in 2005/06 to 91 per cent in 2011. There remains much room for improvement in the quality of the teaching-learning process, but students are highly motivated and parents place a high value to education.

VSO volunteers are working at a number of different levels in Ethiopia to support improvements in education management and teacher training, which will ultimately have an impact on the quality and relevance of education children receive. Senior teachers and education managers are working at national government institutions supporting the development and implementation of national policies, such as improved teacher training programmes and monitoring and evaluation systems. Meanwhile, experienced teachers are working within regional education bureaus and teacher education institutions to help deliver training programmes and develop the skills of their local colleagues.


Our health programme will help implement the national Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP). The plan aims to improve the population’s health through quality preventive, basic curative and rehabilitative health services. Although potential health service coverage has reached 90 per cent in 2011, the uptake rate still remains low at 0.36 outpatient visits per capita.

A shortage and high turnover of health workers in Ethiopia, and a shortage of essential drugs and supplies have contributed to one of the world’s highest maternal and child mortality rates. Every year, about 25,000 mothers die and 400,000 more suffer long-term disabilities due to complications during pregnancy, delivery or postpartum period. One of the major problems is lack of skilled birth attendants with about 85% of pregnant women delivering at home.

VSO is committed to supporting the efforts to improve child and maternal health by implementing health management information systems and integrating family planning, reproductive health and HIV and AIDS services. Our strategic partners include the Federal Ministry of Health, teaching hospitals and civil society organisations.

Contact us

Get in touch with VSO Ethiopia at:
PO Box 23531, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Find out about volunteering

By volunteering abroad with VSO you get to put your skills, energy and personal qualities to work helping people break out of poverty. Interested in volunteering abroad?