8.03 Tatek Abebe; Bethlehem Tekola                         

Childhood, rights and wellbeing in Ethiopia

Rights discourses are increasingly infused in national policies and NGO programs that address the well-being and living conditions of Ethiopian children. Key development interventions that intend to promote positive wellbeing outcomes in terms of health, education, nutrition etc. draw on rights-based approach. Yet some values within the paradigm of childrens rights not only contradict deeply held ideas about the role and place of children in society but also how their needs and wellbeing are (ought to be) realized, and by whom. For instance, the idea that children are individuals (citizens) that hold separate rights may not sit well with the widely prevalent notion of social life. Furthermore, it tends to suggest a vertical child-state relation at the expense of the multiple duties and responsibilities borne by children inside society. The position of the state, NGOs, children, families and communities regarding the topic of childrens rights, and proper childhood are also diverse and contested. This panel aims to bring together papers on complex understandings and experiences of children, childhood, rights and wellbeing in Ethiopia. In particular the panel seeks to shed light on the interface between rights-based approaches to child development on the one hand and on the other perspectives on childrens wellbeing and growing up in diverse social, cultural, ecological and livelihoods contexts. How does childrens right relate to and departs from (collective) rights and values of families? How do children perceive and contribute to their own wellbeing and that of their families and communities? How do families and communities navigate possibilities for the proper upbringing of children in the face of rapid social transformation? We welcome papers that explore values and valuations of childrens rights and wellbeing, how notions of universal rights translatesinto, resonate and conflicts with local ideas of childhood, as well as how class, ethnicity, gender, disability, geography, culture, economics and politics intersect and dissect the above themes.


Ms. CHANYALEW KASSA Sophia Childing relational to parenting – A sociological study in two socio-economically and geographically contrasting settings in Ethiopia 
Dr. TATEK ABEBE Community perspectives on children’s rights in a multi-ethnic town in Ethiopia
Mr YISAK TAFERE Child Rights Discourses and Local Practices: Female child marriage and circumcision in Ethiopia