In areas where families were heavily reliant on their animals to survive, the loss of livestock has reduced one-time breadwinners to being recipients of aid.

Arid land and undetected diseases continue to threaten the remaining animals and are leaving entire communities in the Afar region of Ethiopia without sufficient food and income to survive.

Based on our recent observations and spot checks in the Afar region of Ethiopia, there is a huge need to build and strengthen local communities so that they are able to cope with this ongoing crisis and be in a stronger position to deal with future environmental disasters.

Thanks to the support of our UK donors, Islamic Relief is responding to ensure that more than 57,000 people in the Afar region of Ethiopia will be able to withstand and reduce the effects of drought in the future by:

Improving access to water: Severe drought has led to rivers drying out, leaving entire communities and their animals without any water. Our teams in Ethiopia are developing plans to construct a new borehole and to rehabilitate existing water sources, as well as upgrading motorised water pumps with solar panels to ensure the environmentally friendly and cost effective pumping of water. Additionally, at these water sources, water troughs will also be constructed, providing drinking water for livestock.

Improving food security: Traditionally, livestock provide households with a variety of food and non-food products from milk and meat throughout the year to leather and wool, and, if not restocked, the families will be unable to consume the nutrients they need to live. Reports by the United Nations indicate huge losses in the number of small animals and cattle due to the ongoing drought.

Thanks to your donations, we will provide female-headed households with sheep or goats that are well accustomed to the local climate. One of the animals will be a male to allow them to reproduce and they will be purchased from local markets.

Livestock treatment vouchers will also be provided to enable free vaccinations for at least three months to ensure the animals remain healthy until households are able to generate their own income and cover veterinary expenses.

Developing income generation activities: Loans will be provided on a revolving scheme, alongside essential business skills training, to support farmers in earning an income. Activities such as livestock marketing and beekeeping, as well as the production and sale of various products, will provide an additional income essential to ensuring families are able to cope with the effects of the drought.

Improving pasture availability: The region had vast areas of land covered with mild pasture which is now decreasing due to new settlements and overgrazing. Islamic Relief will work with local institutions and the wider community to reclaim 300 hectares of pasture land to ensure livestock have plenty of farmland for grazing, especially in the rainy seasons.

Supporting community animal health workers (CAHWs): CAHWs are community-based vets who provide treatment and vaccination in collaboration with the government animal health provision. In the Afar region, CAHWs are unable to provide these services due to a lack of kits and drugs. To ensure communities have access to the necessary veterinary services for the wellbeing of their livestock, we will provide training, basic drugs and vet kits to CAHWs.

Enhancing disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities: Early warning systems are essential to ensure communities can cope with the effects of severe drought. Islamic Relief is working to ensure local communities in the Afar region are able to identify, assess and work to reduce the risks of disaster through a CMDRR (Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction) approach. This includes strengthening community-level structures by establishing and training village and neighbourhood level DRR committees.

Islamic Relief will also work on strengthening the early warning information system established by the government and provide logistical, financial and contingency planning support of neighbourhood-level DRR committees.

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