Ethiopia possesses a rich history, cultural and natural diversity, and significant mineral resource deposits. However, despite economic growth in recent years, poverty remains an issue with over a third of the population surviving on 1 USD a day. Population growth, water scarcity, climate variability, environmental degradation and food insecurity also hinder development. Refugees fleeing the ongoing crisis in neighboring Somalia and poverty-driven internal migration pose increasing challenges.
DWS Ethiopia began joint programs with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) in 1971 in response to drought. Activities now target remote areas prone to natural disaster and food insecurity, where there is limited or no intervention by other organizations.
DWS Ethiopia, also known as LWF/EECMY, focuses on:
- Ensuring food security and sustainable livelihoods
- Managing natural resources in an ecological manner
- Preparing for, responding to and rebuilding after emergencies
- Developing skills and leadership in local communities
HIV and AIDS, gender, environmental and climate change concerns figure centrally in all of DWS Ethiopia’s work.
DWS Ethiopia runs integrated community development projects in the Afar, Oromia and Somali regional states in response to local needs. Rooted in community participation, leadership and decision-making, these projects improve socio-economic conditions in remote rural areas. Priorities include agricultural development, safe water access, natural resource management, empowerment of women, response to HIV and AIDS, capacity building, education and health services.
In 2007 at the invitation of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, DWS Ethiopia began responding to the needs of Somali refugees northeast of Jijiga in the Somali region. The program focuses on providing water and protecting the environment. Currently, DWS Ethiopia assists approximately 16,000 Somali refugees living in the Teferi Ber and Sheder refugee camps near the border with Somaliland.
DWS Ethiopia provides emergency food assistance in areas where both humans and livestock are facing acute food shortages due to decreased rainfall. Since 2008 DWS Ethiopia has worked with ACT International and other partner agencies to supply humanitarian relief in the drought-stricken districts of Jijiga and Dawe Kachen in the east and southeast of the country.
DWS Ethiopia is implementing a drought preparedness project in the Dawe Kachen district of Oromia regional state, an area whose population has been impoverished by recurrent, severe drought. The project uses measures such as veterinary training or the construction of water harvesting ponds to strengthen rural communities’ ability to weather unusually dry periods.
Sustainable Food Security
DWS Ethiopia is drawing upon knowledge gained through two decades of water use and irrigation work to address current food security concerns. In the future, projects will emphasize climate change adaptation and enhanced community ownership in efforts to ensure an adequate food supply and sustainable ways of earning a living.
For further information please contact:
Mr Duane Poppe, Program Officer
Dr Lemma Degefa, Country Representative