The HIV/AIDS pandemic has deeply affected Ethiopia. Adult prevalence of HIV in Ethiopia stands at about 2%. HIV/AIDS has led to a seven-year decrease in life expectancy and a greatly reduced workforce. As with many crises, youth are left disproportionately affected.
"Due to the combined effect of poverty and AIDS, more than 5.4 million children under the age of 18 years [have been] orphaned, out of which 855,720 (16%) lost at least one parent due to AIDS." ~FHAPCO, 2010
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 million children total in Ethiopia have been orphaned by AIDS. Significant numbers of children orphaned by AIDS have been left to raise families in what are known as “child-headed households”. These children are forced to nurture their younger siblings including food, clothing and shelter.
In response, People to People has undertaken a number of efforts to combat the spread of the disease and to serve the humanitarian needs of those affected. The organization actually first started by organizing a meal and special day for AIDS-affected youth and orphans in Addis Ababa. Since then, a number of projects have materialized, including educational outreach for high school students about HIV transmission and prevention through addressing behavioral change. Anti-AIDS clubs have also been organized whereby students have learned about the disease, advocated change, and performed AIDS awareness dramas to educate other school children.