Damboya, ETHIOPIA/New York, UNITED NATIONS - Tadelech Ermias remembers the ridicule she faced when she refused to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM), which was considered a requirement for brides in her community. "It was inconceivable then for a girl to get married without being cut," she said.
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Two years ago, 16-year-old Salia Shemsu waited to be married off. Like many young girls in Ethiopia, it was only a matter of time before she would need to leave her family for a husband. Then an opportunity she never expected arrived. A local announcement called for young people to join an entrepreneurship programme. Salia responded immediately. Salia’s district is among 30 in Ethiopia where a joint UNFPA-UNICEF programme is now empowering vulnerable adolescent girls and boys to support themselves and make healthy decisions – by providing them with the knowledge and skills to do so.