Hawassa (also spelled Awasa) is the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and has a population of roughly 259,000. The city is located on the shores of Lake Awasa and fishing, as well as subsistence farming, are the main sources of income for the local population. But for the majority, life is a daily struggle. Poverty is severe and most Ethiopians live off less than one dollar per day. The effects of poverty permeate all levels of society, but children are the hardest hit. Mothers often have to return to work when their babies are just a few months old, so babies are not sufficiently weaned. Of the infants between the ages of twelve to 23 months, 60 per cent show signs of stunting (below age-appropriate height).
A little girl in the playground at the children’s village (photo: K. Snozzi)