Good Practice

  • Foster Home

The Rehabilitation Project is one of the prominent interventions of IFSO, which has been implemented since 2002 in Addis Ababa. Among the different kinds of services this project has been providing for its beneficiaries, Foster Home (Temporary Shelter) service is identified as the most effective one.

The foster home (temporary shelter) was established with the objective of giving service for children who are sexually and physically abused and are highly in-need of the service due to the severity of their cases and the unavailability of concerned families or guardians.

Steps of Implementation

  • 3 foster homes/temporary shelters were rented, organized and furnished in a way that is child-friendly;
  • Sexually abused and seriously affected children are admitted to the foster homes to access basic needs and get psycho-social counseling, medical treatment, educational support and Therapeutic Training (Music, drama, Photo/ Video).
  • 3 trained foster mothers and 3 cooks are employed to provide appropriate care, treatment, and balance diet for the fostered children.
  • The project coordinator, Counselors, Social Worker and Community Workers have been assigned to make appropriate follow up of the health, psychological, academic and social status of the children in the foster homes.


  • The psych-social and health problems of 198 sexually abused and vulnerable children were addressed.
  • The court cases of 198 sexually abused children were finalized and they were reunified with their parents/guardians.

Contributing factors

The followings are some of the major contributing factors for the successful implementation of the foster home services.

  • The presence of enabling government policy to tackle the grave consequence of child sexual abuse;
  • The availability of concerned government bodies and like- minded organizations which are ready to work in cooperation with the project;
  • The improvement in the awareness of the people to report abuses to the concerned government bodies and the enhancement of the effort of pertinent government bodies to engage in the legal and rehabilitation process of the survivors;
  • The establishment of different referral networks who are concerned with child sexual abuse and related issues;
  • Unavailability of organizations which provide similar services for needy beneficiaries especially for male sexually abused children.


  1. Girls’ Hostel

Educating girls is extremely important to the wellbeing of individuals and households which in turn contributes a lot to the development of nations.

In Ethiopia, the Ministry of Education stated that between 2010 and 2011, 2.1 million girls aged 11-14 were out of education, with 59% being from the Amhara and Oromiya regions.  Barriers to girls’ education include household workload, early marriage and childbirth, low value attached to girls’ education, shortage of educational materials and female-specific facilities, safety concerns due to long distance to schools.

Understanding these facts, IFSO in collaboration with CIFA Onlus, an Italian humanitarian organization and the Ambasel Woreda Administration, has established a girls’ hostel in Wuchale town since 2012 with the objective of helping poor girls residing in rural areas of Ambasel Woreda pursue their high school education who otherwise could not make it possible due to poverty and distance of secondary and preparatory schools.

Steps of Implementation

Looking for an appropriate compound and rooms suitable to establish the Hostel, which can accommodate 30 girls

  • Maintain and furnish the rooms
  • Employ appropriate staff(Social worker, hostel mother, cook, and cleaner)
  • Set criteria of selection
  • Identify and select needy and competent girls among those taken 8th grade National Exam.
  • Place the girls in the hostel and ensure their enrolment to the existing high school in Wuchale Town.


The 30 girls have been provided with hostel service to pursue their education starting from grade 9 as of 2012/13 academic year at Wuchale 17 Secondary and Preparatory School which is situated nearby to the Hostel. In the current academic year (2015/16), the girls are attending grade 12 and preparing themselves to take the 12th grade national examination.

26 of the 30 girls who took the Ethiopian National Grade 10 Examination have been qualified to join preparatory school. Of these girls, 17 of them scored 3.00 and above. What is more, one of these girls scored 4.0 (which is straight A in all the subjects she had taken). As a result, she has received a special award at the zonal level. This in turn helped IFSO to get attention and recognition up on the concerned government bodies.

The girls are very much happy with the service they are receiving and always express their deepest feelings with tears brimming in their eyes. The following statement given by one of them represents the feeling of all girls:

“In our area, we used to commute 3 to 6 kilometer to reach the nearby school while attending primary school. Thus, many other girls of the area were forced to quit school due to forced marriage and/ or abduction.  Despite this, we are fortunate enough to get such an opportunity. IFSO is taking care of us like our biological parents. We are now proud of ourselves and become confident that we can perform even more compared to our male counterparts. Had it not been for the support of IFSO, our fate would have been migration to the Middle East or being employed as house maid in different cities.”  

 Contributing Factors

The following are the main reasons for the successful implementation of the hostel service:-

  • Smooth relationship and strong cooperation of the Woreda Administration, which enabled us to obtain a hostel compound and an office free of charge.
  • Presence of well trained and experienced hostel mother who ensure that the girls are getting proper service and attending their education regularly.
  • The active participation of the hostel girls in a committee consisting of 5 members to check and control the proper utilization of the recourse, the normal functioning of the hostel and their regular studying program.
  • Provision of individual and group counseling as well as life skill trainings by the Social Worker and other project staff has enabled the girls to cope up the problems they face.
  • Periodic visit and monitoring made by the head office and the partner organization (CIFA) representatives.


  1. Skill Training

Integrated Family Service Organization (IFSO, started the Vocational Skill Training 1998. The project was carefully designed after assessing the needs of drop out youth and the existing of job-opportunities of that time. The beneficiaries were selected from the poor households at least with two or more siblings with the aim of uplifting them from poverty.

Accordingly, the center trained 664 youth school dropout girls and boys in marketable fields and a mix of creative, technical and social courses such as Catering, Housekeeping, Food Preparation (National International), and Food and Beverage Control, Hair dressing, Heavy Machine Operation, and Video Graphic. French and English language skills were also part and parcel of the courses. In addition, there were counseling sessions which helped the trainees to cope up with their problems and exploit their potential for the betterment of their future.

The training was a one year program scheduled in three terms, the first 9 months for theory and practice (four and five months respectively) and the last 3 months for apprenticeship placement in different hotels. Each entry had also a day long trip outside Addis where they can share their experiences and strengthen their relation.

The trainees started demonstrating their efficiency during their practice time and most of them have secured jobs in star rated hotels even before their graduation. Some of them have opted to run their own business with the knowledge and the skills they acquired.

The vocational skill training program was an important intervention in addressing the needs of the poor target youth and their family in a sustainable manner. In this regard, the trainees have changed their and their families’ life dramatically and they have well taken care of siblings as per-the expectation of the project.

The project phased out in 2008 due to the government’s introduction of new Technical and Vocational Training Policy which led to the boom of the Private Technical and Vocational Colleges.

 Steps of implementation

  • Establish and organize the training center
  • Develop selection criteria and invite applicants through advertisement.
  • Advertize and register the candidates based on the set criteria
  • Conduct home visit to each of applicant’s home to assess their living condition and verify their eligibility
  • Conduct final selection of trainees by the selection committee ( local government, parents and project staff)
  • Provision of orientation for the selected trainees
  • Conduct theoretical and practical programs in the training center and assign the trainees in different hotels for apprenticeship


Some of the major changes in the lives of the trainees and their families can be summarized as follows:

  • Houses are either renovated or extended if not reconstructed,
  • The integrated courses particularly counseling has helped the trainees to discharge their responsibilities in supporting their families socially and economically.
  • Through the extended family counseling support of the trainees, parents have got awareness on good parental style which has improved their child carrying practice.
  • Trainees have developed self-confidence, problem solving, leadership and social skills.

 Contributing Factors

  • Scarcity of similar training institutions
  • High demands of skilled man power in hotel operation and the existence of high number of school dropout youth searching for job
  • The training program was well organized in terms of training curriculum, competent staff, kitchen facilities, material supply as well as close follow up and supervision
  • Strong linkage and cooperation with hotels in the city in terms of facilitating apprenticeship program and knowledge sharing


  1. Social Support through para-social workers

The Social Support Program initiated to complement the small number of professional social workers in the country so as to reach a wider community with semi-skilled volunteer social workers with the aim of improving the capability of communities in utilizing the available resources for the purpose of supporting disadvantaged children in particular and vulnerable community members in general. The role of Para-social workers relies up on utilizing Ethiopian indigenous knowledge, social, cultural and religious assets that acknowledges the values of the society in addressing their own problems.

Accordingly, with a view of enhancing the problem solving capacity of volunteer Para-social workers by using existing community resources, trainings were given on social work skills, practice and perspectives for 42 volunteers drawn from Schools, ABE centers, Health Extension Workers, Police and Idirs.

The Para-social workers have actively involved in resource mobilization, conflict resolution (both at school and community level) group and individual counseling, reunification, referral linkage and facilitating legal service as the need arise. In this regard, the Para-social workers have been playing a vital role in supporting underprivileged children and the community who are in difficult circumstances. This pioneer intervention has also promoted community volunteerism and has been taken as a model by several primary schools in meeting the psycho-social and economic needs of vulnerable children.

The followings are some of the major accomplishments of the Para-social workers:

  1. 150 poor students have been served one meal a day and 54 students have got school materials.
  2. They succeeded in supporting 37 drop out students to resume education through individual counseling and material provision. Furthermore, 139 children were helped to get medical treatment through referral system.
  3. They were also able to resolve conflicts arose between 39 children and their parents/guardians and also reunify 10 street children with their families through mediation.

Contributing factors

  • Existence of rampant social and economic problems
  • Inadequacy of professionals in the area to address the problems
  • Commitment and devotion of the selected volunteers (Para -social workers)
  • The presence of contextualized user manual
  • Close collaboration and involvement of partner organizations as well as Addis Ababa university School of Social Work and VIA, College of Social Work in Denmark
  • Willingness of the community members in providing resources

Steps of the implementation

  • A joint workshop, initiated by AC International Child Support, was conducted on the strengthening and utilizing the traditional problem solving mechanisms which was attended by eight partner organizations including IFSO
  • VIA university college of Denmark and Addis Ababa university school of Social work developed a training manual
  • A one week TOT training was conducted in Bahir Dar for selected project social workers drawn from partner organizations.
  • Volunteer Para-Social workers were selected from the respective target groups and attended a week training
  • Para-social workers have engaged in mobilizing resources and supporting disadvantaged children and community
  • Arrange experience exchange workshops among Para-Social workers from all partner organizations
  • Monitoring and support of Para- social workers by project staff