Our work in Ethiopia

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Our work in Ethiopia

Concern has been working in Ethiopia since 1973. Ethiopia is subject to erratic weather patterns, including droughts and floods, and remains vulnerable to food shortages in certain areas.

We work to help build the resilience of communities and individuals to these climatic changes as well as responding when emergencies strike.

Emergency response: urgent food crisis

2015–2016 saw the worst drought in recorded history in the highland areas of the country. As a result, lowland regions are now experiencing severe drought.

Last year, we were extensively involved in emergency programming in Ethiopia, reaching over two million people in four regions of the country. Our operational area increased from ten to 34 woredas (districts) with staff numbers increasing from 270 to 700. Response interventions included emergency nutrition (CMAM), water trucking, rehabilitation of water sources, scabies treatment, and provision of non-food-items (NFIs) for flood- and landslide-affected families. The response was hugely successful, averting deaths and suffering, and helping people on the road to early recovery through an extensive seed restocking programme. These interventions were implemented through funding support mobilised from , and from generous donations from the Irish and UK public.

This year, 5.6 million people are severely food insecure and require immediate food assistance. As part of our emergency response work we have further expanded operations to two new areas, including a new region: Afar.

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Ongoing resilience building

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 in Wollo in Amhara Region, and Wolayita in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region. These projects complement government programmes targeting the poorest and most vulnerable in Ethiopian society. The programmes include nutrition and health education, water and sanitation projects, and livelihoods’ support and training. Through these programmes we are seeing people graduating out of poverty.  Read case study

Another recent success story is the introduction of the humble Irish potato to drought-stricken and hungry areas of the highlands. So far, it has produced extremely high yields and has spread beyond the areas where 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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