Kids Hope Ethiopia, in association with our Canadian organization Canadian Humanitarian, has developed a model we call the Holistic Child Centered Network (HCCN) .

A visualization of the model is below.The child is at the core of the HCCN model. Every part of our program is designed to build a network of support filling the child’s basic needs.

the model


history and development of model

Over the years that Kids Hope Ethiopia has been serving vulnerable children, we have developed a model for support that consistently has positive results for students. We have applied this model in multiple locations with consistent results to previous efforts.

Two very important components of the model are not written but vital to its success. These ingredients are: “The Ethic of Care”, and “Hope”.

Kids Hope Ethiopia decided that it needed to do something different than what was being done before.  While worthwhile, many NGO programs for children isolate one aspect of need, and only provide specialized help in one area, leaving gaps in the overall needs of a child.

child's needs

As we look at developmental and emotional assessments of students who initially came into our programs, common gaps in life experiences and individual needs were found. The HCCN model is built to fill in those gaps.

Education alone, or a hot meal alone, is not enough to answer all the demands a child has in order to grow and development fully. We have developed our programs using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The pinnacle of this Hierarchy is to achieve one’s potential.  Therefore, the main question that drives program activities and governing principles is: “What will help each child to reach their potential?”

The HCCN model still is evolving to some extent, but the major pieces have been in place for 10 years, and results are consistently reproduced from center to center.

child's home life

The model strives to support children in a family environment, rather than institutions or orphanages. Most students were already in a family or extended family situation when they are enrolled into a Kids Hope Ethiopia program. Students are usually living with a surviving grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling. All students have lost one or both of their parents, and often other members of their family.

education center and staff

After school programs occur at one of our Education Support Centers. The Education Center is located near the school the students attend, and in their home neighbourhood. It is important that the Education Center be accessible every day.

The Education Center facility is most often a rented home, and is chosen so it can house a library, study hall, music room, computer lab, and play areas for student activities. It provides access to running water, shower facilities, and provides a safe, secure place for students to be together and learn.

Staff at the Education Center include: a program manager, cooks, house cleaner, guards, teachers, social worker, and accountant. Staff members become mentors to students who attend regularly. Some staff have been with the programs for as long as the program has existed, providing stable, long term support to the students.

support program

Each student comes Monday to Friday, morning or afternoon, depending on their school schedule. Students receive a hot meal either at lunch time or at supper time.

The students range in age from kindergarten (3 years old) to grade 12 (18 years old).

They have tutoring classes to help with their homework, and special interest clubs to help them learn new skills (art, drama, dance, sports, literature clubs, environment, debate). These clubs are selected by the students as their individual and group interests suggest. As often as possible, these clubs bring in additional adult volunteers from the community, so the students are given the chance to meet people who have knowledge and skills in that area.

On the weekends, the students come to the center to have a shower, do their laundry, help one another with braiding their hair and learning how to care for themselves and their clothing.

Each student is registered in school, has their school supplies and uniform provided, and their tuition paid. Education Center Staff sign all student registration documents, and in doing so become co-guardians of the children. This adds legal protection for each student in their community.

As the students move through their grades to university, college, or vocational training, Kids Hope Ethiopia continues to assist covering living expenses, transportation, books, and school tuition until they are finished with their formal training. Post-Secondary students graduate from attending the daily after school program, and become part of Kids Hope Ethiopia’s Scholarship Program.

Social workers at the center work with guardian families, students, and the schools to assist in helping the student remain actively attending school, and encourage the guardians to continually support the child in school. This is a critical piece as it improves the school environment for the student, and helps the student to feel supported in their educational goals.

Many Education Centers provide special programs for guardians, to help them learn a skill to increase their household income or assist in trainings to begin a small business enterprise. The Education Center offers information sessions to help guardians understand child development, grief and loss, and how to help support the student in their care.

Kids Hope Ethiopia provides a health program that includes medical and dental maintenance. Expedition groups bring in foreign trained medical and dental professionals to care for the students and their families. Special contractual medical clinic agreements and dental health care agreements made within the child’s community are used for year-long support.

role of expedition volunteers

Expedition groups are a huge part of the support to an Education Center, and the HCCN model. General volunteer groups bring individuals who affirm, by their presence, that the student is important and worthwhile. Foreign volunteers bring love, knowledge, skills and hope to students as they interact together. As volunteers teach or have special activities to share ideas, they allow students the opportunity to see the world in a different way, and to think about or hear about new ways of being.

Specialized expedition groups that are field studies, or have specific professional skills to share, help students to be served, train Education Center Staff new skills, and assess the impact of the model in student and guardian family lives.


In a very short period of time, students who are able to participate in this model feel supported, special, and cared for. Hope is a key element to bring a student from surviving day to day, to a quality life moving towards a future. Hope in the heart of a student allows them to work hard every day to achieve their goal of succeeding at school, despite present challenges. They are able to see how they can remove themselves from the cycle of poverty.

The results have been remarkable, and for some students almost unbelievable, as they have responded and grown into adults. Kids Hope Ethiopia now sees many of their students maturing, attending post-secondary education programs, and becoming contributing adults in their community, with skills for employment. Kids Hope Ethiopia believes this is the answer to breaking the cycle of poverty.

The community of Alemgena is located just outside the city limits, to the southeast of Addis Ababa. Alemgena is considered a rural community, although it is fast becoming linked to Addis Ababa, with new housing developments and commercial business parks.

In 2007, Kids Hope Ethiopia began an education support program in cooperation with a local Ethiopian Charity called Yenege Tesfa Histenat, which translates into English as Kid’s Hope. This center has 50 active students in its program ranging from grade 1 (aged 5 years) to grade 12 (aged 18 years). Programs at this center are based on our Holistic Child Centered Network model.

During the day, students attend 1 of 3 of the schools in the area. These schools are very crowded, so students rotate shifts each month. An early shift means the student attends school from 8 am until Noon, a late shift means the student attends school from 1 pm to 5 pm.

To accommodate, the Education Center also holds programs in shifts; the late shift students come to the center in the morning, and early shift students in the afternoon. All students receive a hot meal during their school day either at lunch or supper.

There are student clubs for traditional dance, music, computer, book club, soccer, drama, science, and model building. All club meetings are all held on site at the Alemgena Education center. Tutoring in basic course studies, as well as English Conversation, occur daily.

A special thanks to the Community Initiative Program for funding through 2014 and 2015

Kids Hope Ethiopia and Bright for Every Kid Association (BEKA), a local Ethiopian organization, have teamed up to support children, female guardians and male community members – each in their unique way – in rural Ethiopia. Gindo Town, Ethiopia is the site of an Educational Support Center for 50 vulnerable  children, a large vegetable garden operated by the children’s female guardians  as well as a service club of male community members called Foresight Fathers. Through the work of Kids Hope Ethiopia, our local partner BEKA, and the initiative of the people of Gindo change is happening: a community is blossoming.

A special thanks to the Community Spirit Initiative Program for funding through 2011 and 2012.

In 2003, Dr. Northcott met with government leaders in the Ministry of Social and Labor Affairs (MOLSA), and the Child and Youth Affairs Organization Office (CYAO). Their strong recommendation to assist with current issues for children was to support foster based child care centers.

In the northern part of the City Of Addis Ababa, is a sub-city called Guelele, and was identified as an area that was extremely impoverished. This is where Kids Hope Ethiopia began its first Program in 2004.

Working with a local Ethiopian Charity, and the local Guelele government, over 400 orphaned and vulnerable children were recommended as needing this program.   Available funding allowed for 40 of these children to be selected for registration.

A year later (2005), the program added 10 more students. Today it still has 50 students attending the program, although most of the original students are now in university, or have graduated from college, or vocational programs and are working.

Teachers offer help with school work, life skills training, health workshops, and personal grooming instruction. The Education Center provides them with access to a library, laundry, and shower facilities for personal care, and membership in democratically elected student-run clubs.  Education Center clubs include a gymnastics club, art club, public speaking, drama, and a music club.  This Education Center also has a computer lab for the students to learn basic skills.

Students attending this program now range in age from grade 1 (6 years old) to grade 12 (18 years old).

Kids Hope Ethiopia has recently begun a program in the community of Halicu in the Oromia Region of Ethiopia.  As of Fall 2015, the Halicu program will be a full Education Support Center, based on the complete Holistic Child Centered Network (HCCN) model.

Akaki Kality is a semi-rural subdivision, 30 minutes south of Addis Ababa.

Our students, along with their guardian families, were relocated to this community between 2003 and 2006, because their homes were demolished in central Addis Ababa to make way for new commercial construction. The government built small homes in the country side to accommodate them, but the rent was more than most families could pay. There was little infrastructure and few jobs in this area. Access to water and electricity was limited.

This program began in 2004 with an Ethiopian Charity named “LIGA”. LIGA operated a small Kindergarten school, operated by a group of journalists, artists, teachers, and musicians that were among the displaced people. Since they were unemployed, they decided to use their talents to help others.

From 2004 until 2006 students met under a blue tarp structure, using rows of long sticks tied together as their desks. In 2006, Kids Hope Ethiopia built a three room school to house the students.

Since then the community has grown, and needs have changed. Local government schools are now available. Our students needed support through their higher grades, and more services to help them succeed. So the decision was made by Kids Hope Ethiopia to change the program to follow the full Holistic Child Centered Network (HCCN) model.

In the fall of 2013 we welcomed 70 students, aged 5 years to 12 years of age, to the new Education Center. Most of these students were part of our previous LIGA school student base. Vulnerable Children Society is our partner for the Kality Program, and all activities are held in the VCS Love and Hope Center in Akaki Kality.

Kids Hope Ethiopia has been working for several years to assist a community development program in the Sheshamene area, which includes the communities of Kersa, Turge and Korge. This involved a number of programs for women, youth, and men to develop small businesses, farming and volunteer service to help their own communities. Known as the Foresight Fathers, Provident Mothers, and Youth Programs, these programs have been wonderfully successful.

In the fall of 2013, Kids Hope Ethiopia was asked to assume these programs, and implement the full Holistic Child Centered Network (HCCN) model. Intake medicals on both students and guardian families were completed by the October 2013 expedition group. There are 109 students now enrolled in the Kersa Education Support Center, ranging from grades 4 to 12.

Kids hope Ethiopia joined forces with the local Ethiopian Charity called “PATH Ethiopia Literacy, Education and Vocational Center” in July of 2007 to support 50 young people and their families in this poor sub-city of Addis Ababa. During the next few years this program grew to include 70 students from kindergarten to grade 12.

In 2012, at the request of Kids Hope Ethiopia, new managers of the Ethiopian Charity named BEKA became the Ethiopian Project Partner to supervise and oversee the Kirkos Center activities. This program is based on the Holistic Child Centered Network (HCCN) model, and has a full after school program for 70 students from the inner city area of Addis Ababa called Kirkos Sub City. Students still range in ages from grade 1 to grade 12. However, many of the original students from 2007 are now in vocational training, university or have graduated and are working from post-secondary education programs. New students have replaced them, and the project continues to serve this part of Addis Ababa.

The students meet in a rented facility close to their homes and schools, after school and on weekends.

The program also provides vocational training and micro enterprise training and support to interested guardians, in Food Services, Catering, and Weaving.

Kids Hope Ethiopia began an extension of the Scholarship Program in Malawi in 2014.  We now support 30 high-school students so that they are able to remain enrolled in school until graduation.
Scholarship Program

Kids Hope Ethiopia has had great success in seeing many students in the HCCN Model achieve acceptance into universities, colleges, technical and trade schools, and vocational training programs.

We have students enrolled in health officer training, nursing school, engineering programs, lab technician programs, accounting programs, hairdressing school, culinary school, computer technology institutions, attaining woodworking and metalworking certificates, and more. These students attend campuses in Addis Ababa, Jima, Dilla, and Gondar.

Depending on the type of post-secondary institution, and the city in which it is located, the students have a variety of costs such as tuition, transportation, books, and living expenses. These costs and fees can be prohibitive to a students being able to attend post-secondary education, even though they have been accepted.

The Scholarship Program has been developed in order to address those issues.  Each student receives a monthly stipend, as well as tuition and books paid for during their post-secondary education. The student reports to the Kids Hope Ethiopia office in Addis, to the Scholarship Program Manager. They provide receipts for transportation costs, books, and living expenses. They also report on their attendance at their classes, and grade standing at school. Once graduated and employed, the student commits to return 25% of the funds over a period of time, to assist future scholarship students.

Kids Hope Ethiopia facilitates an alumni type of spirit for all the students, regardless of which education center they attended, so they can connect with fellow students on the same campus and can support one another emotionally. We sponsor an annual get together for all scholarship students, usually during one of our expeditions. These allow the students to connect with one another during their semester break, and facilitate their friendships.

Kids Hope Ethiopia has a number of individuals who have set up grants and awards for students to apply to within our scholarship program. The students love the incentive to strive for good marks to be awarded a laptop or bursary funds.

Support Street Children and Mothers (SSCM) is a registered Ethiopian Charity that Kids Hope Ethiopia began working with in the fall of 2007. This organization assists homeless young adults by providing them with vocational training programs. It aims to provide 50–90 disadvantaged young men and women with vocational training yearly in one of three different areas: hairdressing, woodworking, or metalwork. The Vocational Training Center is provided with basic operational funds from Kids Hope Ethiopia. SSCM has graduated over 350 students since Kids Hope Ethiopia began supporting this project.

This program is housed on SCCM’s own compound with buildings and education materials in the Urael area of the City of Addis Ababa. It would be considered an inner city area of Addis Ababa.

Students attend the center during the week for nine months of classroom training and end with one month of practicum training at a job site, outside the center.  Each successful student earns a certificate of trade approved by the Ethiopian Government. The project incorporates small business training to help the individuals operate small businesses, utilizing the skills they obtained in the program, and staff training to help improve the quality of education offered to the students.