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Improving lives in Ethiopia

Over the past two years, Concern Worldwide has been working with some of the poorest people in Ethiopia.

Our recovery programme helped people who had been badly affected by the east Africa drought in 2011.

The programme was funded by the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee. Here are some of the people we’ve helped.

Wasihun’s story

Wasihun came to our attention after his two-year-old son was admitted to our nutrition programme. While there, his son received emergency care. We also gave Wasihun the help he needed to feed himself and his family.

Building a livelihood

In March, Wasihun planted potatoes with seeds we distributed. We also helped him to cultivate his plot in preparation for new crops like barley and highland fruits. Wasihun’s aim is to use the profits from his plot to purchase small animals like goats and sheep so that he can feed his family in the long-term. In the meantime, we are developing a drip irrigation system so that local farmers like Wasihun can grow crops all year round.

Malnutrition in Quaro

Quaro is a remote village in Bugna, north western Ethiopia, accessible only by foot. The people here rely on small plots of land to grow food. When the 2011 drought hit, they were badly affected as they hadn’t enough to eat. Malnutrition is a huge issue for pregnant women and children under-five.

Teaching about nutrition

So we’ve been running a programme to teach mothers about how best to feed themselves and their families. The local girls’ club is having a huge impact on the success of the programme. Firdu Belay and Etadan Semaln – both working at the school – have been trained by a Concern worker. They in turn have taught the 31 students of the club to communicate health and nutrition messages throughout the community. Firdu said:

It makes a big difference using young girls. They are good at absorbing the messages and passing them on. They are an asset to the household. They continuously teach. 

Etadan added:

There aren’t many health workers in the area, so it’s important to use our local girls.


Getu Berihun with wife Emaulay Alazie, Laydiba, Bugna, 18 June 2012. Getu’s story

Getu Berihun and his wife Emaulay Alazie live in Bugna, a small village in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, where 95% of the rural population relies on agriculture. Emaulay was admitted to our emergency nutrition programme last year during the drought. At the time she was pregnant with their now four-month old son.

Seed distributions

With the seeds and potatoes provided by Concern, Getu began planting his plot. He was so keen to get started that he planted all of the 25kg of potato tubers on the day he received them. Potato is a new crop to this highland area, so we provided two days of training on plantation methods, harvesting, storage and pest management.

Food shortages

In recent years, erratic rains, drought and frequent pest infestations have made food extremely scarce. We provided Getu and his family with crop and vegetable seeds including onion, cabbage and potatoes.

Working hard

Because of the help they've received, Getu and his family are now in a better position to prepare for their own future. Getu explained:

The community suggested me as a hard worker and as someone who wanted to be successful. I want to use any food grown to feed my family. But if I have any extra, I can sell it. It’s a good incentive to work hard.