Ethiopia has had one of the fastest growing economies in the Horn of Africa region—and the world—in the last two decades. But the benefits of this growth have not been equally shared among the country’s 100 million people, and the COVID-19 pandemic, recurring drought, and conflict in the northern part of the country threaten Ethiopia’s hopes and its path out of poverty.
The majority of Ethiopians in rural areas rely on rain-fed agriculture for their subsistence, but climate change, shortage in public and private investment in the sector, as well as conflict in some areas—and an upsurge of desert locusts in 2020-2021—have had negative effects on food production and incomes. As many as 20.4 million people across Ethiopia require food support, according to the World Food Program. It is one of four countries in East Africa where Oxfam is responding to extreme hunger.
Oxfam is addressing urgent humanitarian needs in multiple areas, while also tackling the root causes of poverty by helping people make a decent living and adapt to and survive climate change. We also work to empower women and girls in all our programs and ensure women can advocate for their rights and participate in making policies that affect their lives.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE PEOPLE IN ETHIOPIA FACING?
People in need of humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia
Percentage of the population that depends on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood
Number of refugees in Ethiopia
WHAT ARE OXFAM’S SOLUTIONS TO HELP PEOPLE IN ETHIOPIA?
Oxfam is working with local partner organizations in Ethiopia to fight inequality, and to end poverty and injustice. Active in the country since the 1970s, Oxfam is both responding to emergencies to help people survive immediate short-term crises, such as drought and conflict, and also working long term to help provide more sustainable solutions to inequality, poverty, and injustice.
HELPING PEOPLE IN ETHIOPIA SURVIVE IN THE SHORT TERM
Oxfam is helping people displaced and whose livelihoods have been disrupted by conflict in the country’s northern regions. Many of them are also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent devastating desert locust infestations. We intend to reach 750,000 women, men, and children this year and next with emergency food packages, livelihood assistance, clean water and sanitation, and hygiene kits to help people survive with dignity.
Oxfam is responding to an ongoing drought in the southern Somali region and neighboring areas, which is affecting an estimated 8 million people. We are planning to help 180,000 people with clean water and sanitation, livelihood, and protection support for pastoralists and agro-pastoralists affected by drought.
Ethiopia currently hosts more than 823,000 refugees, one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. In the Gambella region, Oxfam is working closely with refugee-led organizations and helping people displaced by conflict in neighboring South Sudan. Our primary areas of work include providing clean water and sanitation, and helping people with disabilities and others access humanitarian assistance. From 2020-2021, partly due to Oxfam’s efforts, more than 40 percent of the households in the Nguenyiel refugee camp improved hand washing practices at critical moments, a major component in preventing water-borne diseases and coronavirus. Oxfam is currently operating in all seven camps in Gambella and at a reception center, providing water and sanitation assistance to 350,000 people.
HELPING PEOPLE IN ETHIOPIA THRIVE OVER THE THE TERM
Oxfam helps farmers, especially youth and women in rural areas, to develop climate-smart approaches to agriculture that improves production and livestock health. Working with local partners, we promote ways to improve the availability and efficiency of water resources, organic farming, and training in business and entrepreneurial skills development.
For example, we help women farmers in rural areas raise bees and produce honey. In 2020, one group increased its production by 60 percent by improving its practices, and the women are earning more per kilo than the previous year. Elsewhere in the country, training by Oxfam and partners has helped 12,355 maize and wheat farming families achieve an average of 30 percent improvement in their crop yields.
In areas where climate change is affecting farmers and herders, Oxfam is working with local partner organizations to help people adapt to and survive unpredictable rainfall and drought. We have helped families improve the diversity of their diet in the last year (2020-2021), increasing the percentage of households consuming five or more different types of food from 35 percent to nearly 48 percent. We’re also increasing the proportion of farming families getting veterinary care for their animals to go from 18 percent to 80 percent.
Oxfam is working with women’s rights organizations to ensure more women in Ethiopia can exercise their civil and political rights, participate in decision-making processes, benefit from economic and social advancement opportunities, and enjoy a life free from sexual and gender-based violence. Our programs range from raising awareness of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health care, to training judges and other officials on the rights of women to own and access assets such as land. In addition, Oxfam supports more than 300 community-based women self-help groups that make it possible for thousands of women to borrow money to start small businesses.