The Horn of Africa is experiencing the longest and most severe drought on record, entering its 6th consecutive rainy season with little to no rain and posing a threat to millions of people struggling to survive amid scarce water resources, increasing hunger levels and insecurity due to conflict.
Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, there are at least 22 million people (about the population of New York) in a state of severe food insecurity (WFP* 2023), of which some 5.1 million children (about twice the population of Mississippi) are estimated to suffer from moderate and severe acute malnutrition in 2023, with disastrous consequences for their health and growth (WFP 2022).
Particularly tragic levels of malnutrition are found in Ethiopia, in the Amhara, North Wollo and Wag Hamra regions. Moreover, the spread of water-borne diseases due to inadequate sanitation services, including cholera, is materializing in the country (OCHA* 2023).
Ethiopia is the second country in the world with the highest humanitarian risk, after Somalia (IRC* 2023). Alliance2015 member organizations have been present in the country for years to support the population. CESVI has been working in Ethiopia since 2021, concentrating most of its interventions in the Borena area in the State of Oromia, one of the regions most affected by drought in recent years. Here, most of the population lives off livestock, and herders have already lost most of their animals. Those still alive are often too weak and sick to produce milk, the primary source of nutrition for children in the region.
CESVI, together with Alliance2015 partner Ayuda en Acción – and partnering with CIFA and International Livestock Research Insititute (ILRI) – have implemented the project ‘Livestock insurance for pastoralist resilience building in Moyale, Miyo and Dire districts of Borana zone, Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia’. The intervention, funded by Cordais and the RESET Plus Innovation Fund of the European Union, has supported 300 pastoralists by distributing forage and medicines for the livestock in the Borena area.
The project assisted pastoralists, particularly women and younger people. It allowed them to diversify their livelihoods by increasing access to digital technologies, thus strengthening their risk-management skills in the face of climate emergencies.
Because of the intervention, many have overcome difficulties. They can now make a living from their work like Dhale Dima, born in Dire Woreda, in the Teso Lado cluster, and father of a girl who attends the village school and a small child. Only recently, they lived in hardship and could only sometimes have a regular meal until one day, in August 2021, Dhale Dima was selected for the project dedicated to forage production for young people in Madacho Kebele.
The young people had 30 hectares of land to sow and carry out their agricultural activities during the activity. In addition, they attended daily training courses on leadership and entrepreneurship and techniques for managing and trading the fodder produced. They bravely threw themselves into the enterprise and started selling the forage while learning, for the first time, how to save money for their future.
“I am very happy to have taken part in this project that today allows me to have my own business to support my children and look to the future“, said Dhale Dima. Today, his children no longer suffer from hunger, and the inhabitants of Dire Woreda hope to continue in this direction and build a better future for themselves and their country.
*WFP = World Food Programme *OCHA = United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs *IRC = International Rescue Committee