Ethiopia’s Yekokeb Berhan Program for Highly Vulnerable Children is a five-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is designed to improve child-wellbeing by ensuring that highly vulnerable children and their families can increase their knowledge, skills, self-reliance and access to appropriate, quality-driven services that will, in turn, lead to healthier, more productive and more fulfilling lives.

The program is implemented by Pact, in partnership with UNICEF, Child Fund, FHI360, 40 local implementing partners and the government of Ethiopia (primarily the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs) in all nine regional states and two city administrations.  Trained, incentivized volunteers individually assess over 500,000 children annually through application of the program’s Child Support Index. Care plans and interventions follow, all of which are monitored for quality-assurance and documented on the program’s national database.

The Child Support Index in Ethiopia builds on the original Child Status Index and several other adaptations.  It is designed to:

  1. Screen for program eligibility (based on the number of unmet needs) after it is determined that the child meets at least one category of vulnerability, as determined by the Government of Ethiopia’s Standard Service Delivery Guidelines for programs serving orphans and vulnerable children.
  2. Understand and measure the assets and needs of each child and caregiver who is enrolled in the program.
  3. Function as a care-plan for recommended interventions, based on the assessed needs of each child and caregiver.
  4. Determine priority for care for emergency-action when it is determined that a child is severely malnourished, has (possibly been) abused, and/or is HIV+ but not receiving treatment.
  5. Determine whether an enrolled child is eligible for transition out of the program (e.g. graduation) or soon will be.
  6. Help Implementing Partners plan and budget for the interventions needed, for example for school supplies or household repairs, based on the aggregate level of need that the CSI assessment reveals.
  7. Help Implementing Partners provide background information to partner organizations in the community, such as health centers and other NGOs, so that they can plan for the number and type of referrals that they will receive.
  8. Measure change over time.

By contrast to the original Child Status Index and other assessment tools, the Child Support Index of Yekokeb Berhan is unique in several ways:

  • It contains 7 indicators directed to the primary caregiver and 13 for each child, thus making it a truly “family” index
  • It requests some indicators not contained on the original CSI, e.g. related to disability, HIV-testing, economic strengthening and the coordination of care
  • It is designed so that a combination of pre-selected indicators can serve as a screening tool for specific benefits, e.g. 8 indicators for a Vulnerability Assessment to determine eligibility for Economic Strengthening support; 2 indicators for a referral to the World Food Program, etc.
  • It uses culturally sensitive Ethiopian pictographs and other symbols to make it easier-to-use for low-literate volunteers

The two-page CSI score-sheet also contains a question under each indicator that asks, “Care Action Planned?” which trained volunteers fill out for all low-scores (one dot or two).  There is a separate code sheet that lists the interventions that can be recommended.  The code sheet should also be referenced when monthly reports are completed to record what interventions actually occurred since the last report was submitted.  In this way, change can be measured over time, and new planning undertaken for the future.  The website contains the CSI tool, training manual and coding sheet.

For more information, contact:
Lucy Y. Steinitz,  Ph.D. – Senior Technical Advisor
Yekokeb Berhan Program/Pact for Highly Vulnerable Children
P.O. box 13180  – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: +251 911 88 23 17  Website:
Email: (w) (h)