Our work in Ethiopia

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Our work in Ethiopia

Concern began working in Ethiopia in 1973, the second most populated nation in Africa with over 100 million people. The country is particularly vulnerable to weather-related shocks, with over 80 percent of those in rural areas dependent on rain-fed agriculture. It faces the added challenge of hosting over 900,000  refugees and asylum seekers from other countries.

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The focus and scale of our humanitarian work has changed to meet the severe and extensive drought conditions that have particularly affected the southern and south eastern regions of the country since 2016 These areas have experienced poor rains for two successive years, which has led to crop failure and livestock deaths, leaving millions of people in urgent need of food and water.

According to UNOCHO, 8.5 million people in Ethiopia required food assistance last year, in addition to the eight million chronically food insecure people who received food or cash through the government-led Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP). It is anticipated that 7.9 million people will require food security assistance in 2018.

Emergency response

To meet urgent needs of those facing extreme food and water shortages, Concern expanded its emergency response to the pastoralist areas in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNP), Afar and Somali regional states. Last year, we directly reached a total of 805,624 people in six regions of the country.  Our programmes indirectly benefited over 2 million people.

In response to the El Nino-induced drought, the worst in 50 years, we work to deliver life-saving nutrition and water and sanitation services in disaster-affected communities in the south and south-east. We also save lives by treating and preventing malnutrition in Pugnido refugee camp in Gambella, home to more than 60,000 refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan.

Ongoing resilience building

Our long-term programmes which build the resilience of communities and provide nutrition to children and mothers is aimed at tackling the root causes of poverty in Ethiopia. We continue to work with the poorest to improve food and income security, nutrition, health, water, and gender equality. In Addis Ababa, our vocational training programme is helping the poor and vulnerable, as well as migrants from rural areas, develop skills for livelihoods in an urban setting.

In response to the effects of climate change, we promote natural resource conservation, climate-smart agriculture and land rehabilitation to help communities withstand the effects of weather shocks. As droughts and floods are likely to recur, longer-term programmes focussing on community resilience are increasingly important. Concern runs integrated, multi-sectoral, resilience-building programmes that focus on livelihoods, food security, and health and nutrition in 23 rural districts of the SNNP, Amhara and Tigray regions. Through these programmes, we are seeing people graduate out of extreme poverty. Read our case study.

Another recent success was the introduction of the humble Irish potato to drought-stricken areas of the highlands where large numbers of people were facing hunger. So far, it has produced extremely high yields and has spread beyond the areas in which we work.

Urban support

With Ethiopia seeing some people moving from the countryside to the city in the hope of escaping the effects of drought, Concern also works in Addis Ababa running a vocational skills training programme with support from the Tomar Trust and Harambee donors. This is helping people gain the technical and business skills needed to either get jobs or to be able to set up their own enterprises. View related video

Students learn plastering skills through Concern's vocational training programme in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia. Photo taken by Cheney Orr/Concern Worldwide.

Supporting refugees from South Sudan

Following the outbreak of fighting in the newly formed South Sudan, Ethiopia has received over 356,000 South Sudanese refugees into the Gambella region.  Concern has responded, initially providing emergency nutrition treatment centres for new arrivals. Now we run the nutrition services in Pugnido camp – the largest refugee camp in Gambella hosting nearly 63,000 refugees.

South Sudanese refugee Nyamaun Gelwack Kuer and her children, Nyagwa, Nyalet and Nyabuay being registered by UNHCR staff at Pagak camp, Ethiopia following fighting in Malakal town. Photo: Concern Worldwide.

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