Urban governance and planning

Young women and men influence urban governance and planning on Human right, safety and economic opportunities among other central issues.

Under this objective; YWCA is working to influence policies, regulations and norms which obstruct the rights and leadership potential of women and youth. We bring the voices of women and youth to the decision-making table. We create opportunities for them to advocate for their rights at local and national. Currently active project under this category are;

Safe and Inclusive Cities

Project objective; Contribute for making cities safe and inclusive for young women and men.

In doing this, the intervention focuses on three critical and interconnected issues: reducing young people’s engagement in urban violence, improving economic opportunities and strengthening young people’s influence and civic engagement.

Program outcomes

Outcome 1: Urban violence and conflict affecting young women and men have declined in fragile urban areas targeted by the strategic partnership

Outcome 2: Vulnerable and excluded young people, especially young women, working in the urban informal sector are enabled to engage in decent work in cities targeted by the strategic partnership

Outcome 3: Through strong CSOs, young women and men are influencing urban governance and planning on safety and economic opportunities in cities targeted by the strategic partnership

Outcome 4: Civil Society effectively generate and use knowledge to ensure evidence-based responses to urban violence and fragility affecting young women and men.

Target group: Young women and men and their groups and associations

Under the safe and Inclusive Cities Project Of YWCA, Young women and men living in fragile urban areas of Arada, young women and men making their living in the informal sector, including the most vulnerable and excluded segments of the youth population such as unemployed young people, factory workers, commercial sex workers, substance abusers and young women subjected to violence in public transport.

Project Period: Jan 2018- Dec 2022

Source of Finance; PLAN International.


  • With the active leadership of the Youth, four community profiles are developed; these profiles clearly shows the socio-economic dynamics of a specific community and also illustrate the different safety challenges of young women in their community.
  • Based on the developed profiles, youth have formulated an action plan and carry out initiatives to make their communities safe. Such initiatives includes; Street light, closing of drug addiction houses, educating more than 1000 youth on violence prevention issues, engage youth in community impacting volunteerism activities etc
  • More than 100 Young Women and men engaged in the informal economic sector are empowered through training on economic rights and entrepreneurship. Moreover, a network of young women and men working on informal sector is created to advocate for the fulfillment of their economic rights and to hold local duty bearers accountable.
  • 50 youth and representatives from community based organizations have increased their knowledge and understanding on social accountability tools. Youth led social accountability and advocacy activities are held. Interface meetings with woreda officials were an opportunity for the youth to push their agendas and challenges.

Case story of one of the youth members on Safe and Inclusive Cities Program

Case story of one of the youth members on Safe and Inclusive Cities Program which is one of our programs that we do in partnership with Plan International Ethiopia.

She narrates her experience as YWCA family In the Safe and Inclusive Cities Projects as follows: My name is Sosina Aweke, I am 27 years old. When a few friends of mine and myself joined the Safe and Inclusive Cities Projects all of us were earning our living in informal business sectors which is a very unstable and unsafe working environment and it was getting more and more difficult as days go by.  But after YWCA reached out to help the youth in the Safe and Inclusive Cities Projects to provide ways to establish formal business sector. I am one of the luckiest girls to come across the opportunity of getting the chance YWCA offered. I took training on Basic business skill, Entrepreneurship and Marketing strategy, after that I was able to know on which area of business I wanted to pursue my carrier. So with the help of Safe and Inclusive Cities Program organized by YWCA I started school at Hewan beauty and design training center to learn skills on makeup, manicure care and pedicure care. In my stay at the school I am able to learn and pursue my passion to the fullest.


         Sosina at her makeup school

Currently I am at the ending of my school time at Hewan beauty and design training center.

With the partnership YWCA made with the woreda sector to provide a safe and stable working place for those of us who are shifting from informal to formal business sectors; I myself was able to get a safe and stable working place from the woreda Women, Youth and Children Affairs

which they gave me which is located in Arada subcity woreda 7 . I am very thankful and proud to say that I a working there making a living and living a better life in the formal business sector.       

Sosina at her new work place   

Case story of one of the initiatives on Safe and Inclusive Cities Program 

Lighting the Darkness

The streets of Woreda2 have been without enough light for many nights. Residents believed that mobility at night is like suicide mission. Many people lost their lives and were harshly attacked on those streets; women and young girls suffered the brutal forces of perpetuators only because of their femininity, mercilessly rapped and dropped into road side dirty ditches.

The youth organized under YWCA’s safe and inclusive cities supported by Plan international began to engage on community safety after attending training in which they carried out different activities that helped them to understand, analyze and plan on the safety issues of their community. Ermias recalls it as follows “when we began to draw our safety mapping most of our streets were colored with black markers; suddenly it reminded me the screams of men and women in the cold of silent nights whispering into my ears.  Yeah, this is my community, my reality.”

Members of youth –led safety groups at woreda 2 working on safety planning  

As part of their engagement, the youth and some community leaders began to prioritize the issues of their community and street lighting become one of their top concerns. After completing their safety planning and submitted their street lighting initiative, YWCA supported them to carry out community dialogue and purchase 108 bulbs for street lighting at the most dark and crime spots. Youth coordinator of Woreda 02 Yohannes Amsale said “In the safety community process we were working with community leaders, woreda government officials and community police officers. The community police officers were very interested with the issues and they insisted to work hand in hand with us. It was fascinating; we immediately began to work with them and we started mobilizing the community, reaching businesspersons. This became intensified when we successfully delivered 108 bulbs with the support of YWCA on the public gathering we organized jointly with the community police officers. Thereafter, we were able to convince the community members to pull-out their light on their doors. Moreover, with community leaders and community police officers we approached Ethiopian electric Service district office for the maintenance of main street lights”.


Ermias, presenting safety mapping to local government officials and community leaders

Accordingly, a total of 823 bulbs were installed on Tributary Streets from which the 108 bulbs were with the support of WYCA, the 686 bulbs donated from private sectors and community members, the other 29 bulbs on the main Street maintained by Ethiopian electric Service district office. Now, most of the streets in woreda 02 are equipped with lights. A group of youth with 42 members is also working on community safety on voluntary basis in collaboration with community police and community security committee. The youth led safety groups members observed that their initiative has contributed to the reduction of violence and crime in our dark streets and increase safe mobility for most of our community members especially for women and young girls who have been suffering mostly.