Like most countries in the Horn of Africa region, Ethiopia is prone to droughts.
In fact, Islamic Relief started to work in the country in 2000, responding to a severe drought affecting great swathes of the Somali region, close to the Somalia border. Four years later we opened a country office.
Working closely with local government and communities, we deliver both emergency and long-term development programmes in some of the most remote pastoralist regions in the country and in the capital, Addis Ababa. We work in the Afar region on the Eritrea/Djibouti border and the Somali region, close to the Somalia border.
Given the propensity to drought in the country, clean water is a major priority. We have delivered clean water supplies to half a million people over the years and we are building dams and drilling and rehabilitating wells and boreholes, which have so far provided water for a quarter of a million people.
In Afar and Somali regions, livestock are vital to people’s livelihoods and to help protect these important assets we are training community animal health workers, establishing private veterinary pharmacies, and providing animal treatment and food.
Despite many improvements in health care in Ethiopia, many children die each year due to preventable or treatable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and malnutrition. In remote areas, many births occur without the assistance of a skilled health professional, and as a result, many mothers die each year.
In Afar and Somali regions we are expanding and equipping maternal and child care units, training health workers, providing ambulances, including motorbikes for the more remote areas and supporting the vaccinations of thousands of children.
In our health and nutrition work we prioritise the most vulnerable: pregnant women, children under the age of five, older people and people with disabilities.
Access to education, particularly for women in rural areas, is a major challenge. In a bid to provide primary education for all, we are building, upgrading and furnishing primary schools and supporting tens of thousands of children in hard-to-reach areas through primary school.
We are providing school kits, text and reference books, teaching aids and laboratory equipment and also improving the skills of teachers and parent-teacher associations for a more long-term impact. Furthermore, we are particularly encouraging families to send their girl children to school through community education, income generating activities and the construction of sex-segregated latrines.
Our work also helps people to be able to earn a decent living. In Addis we are providing micro-credit and vocational, technical and business training for young people. In Afar and Somali regions we are supporting small-scale agriculture projects involving irrigation, livestock and beekeeping.
The effects of climate change are looming above all of this work. Globally Islamic Relief is lobbying to address this key issue.
In Ethiopia, we are helping local government and communities to establish community-based early warning systems and put in place disaster-preparedness plans.
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