This article describes the obstacles faced by the Ethiopians in having affordable, good quality basic health care services, reproductive health care services and primary education. The findings highlight the link between limited access to basic services and poverty, low incomes, insecure livelihoods and poor nutrition. Research findings on four Ethiopian sites indicated that majority of the population have inadequate diets, insufficient health care and education facilities, compounding gender discrimination and lack of women empowerment, and inaccessible reproductive health care. After analyzing gathered information, three areas of concern were focused upon: poverty viewed as an emergency; the need to invest in citizenship and education; and aid conditionalities, conflict and poverty. This paper suggests that to overcome poverty and the prevailing gender inequality, massive investments in basic adult, primary and secondary education and women involvement in governance and citizenship are necessary. To implement all these, the call for international support for funding is deemed necessary.