The prolonged drought in southern Ethiopia has plunged communities in the Borena zone into a state of crisis.

Five consecutive seasons of minimal rainfall have triggered massive crop failures, livestock losses, and physical deterioration among the populace. This dire situation has exacerbated chronic food and nutrition insecurity, particularly among pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities who depend heavily on agriculture and livestock for sustenance. Borena zone, characterized by its harsh and arid conditions, has been severely affected by this drought, described as the worst in forty years. Over 800,000 people are in urgent need of food assistance as their livelihoods hang in the balance. Responding to this crisis was imperative, and Alliance2015 members Ayuda en Acción (Spain) and CESVI (Italy) have jointly stepped up their efforts. Through collaborations with local partners and funding from the Emergency Fund of Alliance2015 (EFA), interventions have been mobilized to mitigate the impact of the disaster. 

credits: Ayuda en Acción

The emergency project titled “Protecting lives and livelihoods of drought-affected communities in Borena zone, Ethiopia” aimed to provide immediate relief to the most vulnerable households in Dire and Miyo woredas, the worst-hit districts in the region. The project run between April to July 2023, and focused on two immediate outcomes. First, the project aimed at protecting core-breeding animals through the provision of veterinary drugs. Second, the project focused on improving food and non-food basic and immediate needs of drought-affected vulnerable households through the provision of unconditional cash). 

To protect the remaining small core-breeding cattle in the areas of intervention as well as supporting local households’ food security and income, the project has supported 500 households the provision of veterinary drugs for an average of three head of cattle during three months following the indications from the Regional State Livestock Agriculture and Natural Resources Development Bureau.  

With the aim of providing an urgent response to severely affected households by the drought, the project has supported 271 households´ food security and income through the provision of unconditional cash for the amount of 6000 Ethiopian birrs per beneficiary. A total of 1654 people have benefited from the multipurpose cash assistance, of which 846 are women (51% of the total targeted population). Feedback from most of the recipients indicated that they used the money to pay for vegetables and other food items, small livestock like hens and shoats, animal feed, school fees, clothes for children, medication, pay off debt, and some even shared the cash with relatives or friends as they received when it was most needed, at the peak of the drought season. 

Credits: Ayuda en Acción

The project reached a total of 635 households. In fact, 4068 people (49% women) have received support for food security, nutrition and income through  the distribution of veterinary drugs and cash assistance during June and July 2023. .  

On 30th of July 2023, the project closing ceremony was held in Moyale town. It brought together different key-stakeholders and the major achievements and lessons learned of the joint emergency response were presented. A total of 31 participants were present during the event, including government representatives from Borena Zone.   

It was highlighted the commitment and involvement of target communities, local authorities and other organizations present in the areas of intervention who supported Ayuda en Acción and CESVI in achieving the best results in a short period of time. The Borena Zone Disaster Risk Management Office delegate Mr. Gezhagn, close the event adding during his last remarks words of gratitude to the implementing partners for the efforts and work implemented as well as encouraging all Alliance2015 members to keep a close coordination and synergies for future actions in benefit of the needed communities severely affected by the drough. 

credits: Ayuda en Acción

In the realm of international development, the effectiveness and sustainability of projects hinge greatly on the extent to which communities are empowered and engaged throughout the process.

Alliance2015’ approach to promote participatory development not only underscores this principle but also serves as a testament to the transformative potential of collaborative efforts. Central to our strategy is the belief in the intrinsic value of community involvement. By fostering partnerships with local stakeholders and authorities, the organization has cultivated a conducive environment for meaningful engagement, dialogue, and cooperation. This collaborative ethos has not only enriched the implementation process but has also deepened understanding of local contexts, dynamics, and needs.  

At the heart of the members’ approach lies the recognition of communities as active agents of change. Through participatory mechanisms such as inclusive decision-making processes, community-based monitoring systems, and regular feedback mechanisms, beneficiaries are empowered to shape the trajectory of interventions, prioritize their own needs, and assess progress. Moreover, the emphasis on accountability and transparency serves as a cornerstone of its approach. This culture of transparency not only enhances trust and credibility but also fosters a sense of collective responsibility and stewardship over project outcomes.  

In conclusion, Alliance2015 commitment to promoting participatory development represents a paradigm shift in the way international development is conceptualized and implemented. By placing communities at the forefront of decision-making processes, fostering partnerships, and prioritizing accountability and transparency, the organization exemplifies a holistic approach to development that is not only impactful but also empowering and sustainable.  

As we reflect on the lessons learned from this experience, it becomes evident that true transformation can only be achieved through genuine collaboration, empowerment, and solidarity with communities. 

credits: Ayuda en Acción

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