Climate change is having an increasingly big impact on communities across eastern Ethiopia. With poor rainfall and recurrent drought, people’s health and livelihoods are at risk.

Insufficient supplies of safe water and a lack of food mean that the young, elderly and displaced populations without access to government resources become malnourished and risk catching water-borne diseases. Increasing tensions are also growing as competition for resources grows.

The lack of rain is reducing pastoralist communities’ herds and economic capital weaken in strength and number. As livestock becomes malnourished, household poverty is sadly increasing.

For people across Ethiopia, life is incredibly challenging:

  • 11.5 million people require emergency food aid (UN World Food Programme, 2019)
  • Almost 30% of the population are living in poverty (UNDP, 2019)
  • Around 4 out of every 10 children suffer from moderate to severe stunting (UNICEF, 2019)
  • 65% of women and girls (aged 15-49 years) have undergone FGM/C (UNICEF, 2017)

Islamic Relief in Ethiopia

Islamic Relief worked in Ethiopia to provide critical relief during severe droughts in 2000, 2001 and 2002, opening a permanent office in January 2004. In the throes of the famine in 2011 and again starting in 2016, we also launched wide scale emergency response operations.

With the ongoing effect of climate-change on local communities, we’re also working with local communities to increase their resilience to potential disasters and become financially self-sufficient. Long-term development projects improve access to water and sanitation and working to keep families food secure. By helping communities prepare for potential disasters and offering livelihood support, including insurance loans, satellite mapping technology and veterinary training, we work with communities to rebuild/keep their cattle stocks safe and become financially stable should disaster strike.

In addition, we are also working on promoting women’s and girls’ rights from a faith-literate perspective, tackling harmful social attitudes and practice. Our gender-based violence (GBV) project blends advocacy, income generation, capacity building and education to combat major forms of GBV prevalent in the community.

This includes female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), early and forced marriage (EFM), widow inheritance, assault and exclusion from education and opportunities to participate in socio-economic activity. Our work is dismantling religious and cultural misconceptions by working alongside faith leaders and local community members to combat the physical, emotional and socio-economic impact of harmful practices.

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