Hawa Girash a mother of two accompanied by her children walks in to temporary emergency rub hall tent by UNICEF to receive recovery assistance after the failure of spring belg and poor summer kiremt rains caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño/ UNICEF Ethiopia 2015/Tesfaye, creative commons on flickr Sept 2015
The Belg and Kiremt rains are vital to the survival of many Ethiopian farmers and pastoralists who depend on steady, predictable rainfall to plant their crops and feed their animals. This year the rains were late and erratic, or in some cases failed altogether in the northeastern part of the country leading to drought. This November, many famers have no crops at all to harvest, and animals that make up the basis of pastoral livelihoods have died or become unproductive.
Some argue that these are the warning signs of another food security crisis, and are calling for humanitarian aid to prevent further deterioration of the situation.
However, Ethiopia is not the same country it was 20 or 30 years ago where droughts and other factors led to widespread famine in the 70’s and 80’s killing hundreds of thousands of people. Ethiopia has grown tremendously economically, has halved extreme poverty, and has implemented programs to prevent food insecurity including the only national safety net program in Africa. Whether these advancements are enough to prevent a crisis remains to be seen.
Are we missing the warning signs for action, or should we trust the resilience building efforts of the government and other organizations to get Ethiopia through this drought? Add your opinion in the comment section below.
BRACED has two projects running in Ethiopia, one is a consortium led by Christian Aid, one by Farm Africa.
The BRACED project led by Christian Aid is working with six partners to build people's resilience to climate extremes. The project focuses on 7 primary woredas: South Omo Zone, Borena Zone, Arsi Zone, East Hararge Zone and 5 secondary woredas in the Orimiya State. It assumes a reach of 90% of radio listeners in the primary woredas, which is supplemented by on-the-ground publicity, led by BBC Media Action.
The project's activities include:
- improving access to reliable climate information through the use of text messaging and public service announcements on local radio stations
- maximising key assets such as livestock produce and other sources
- increasing the capacity of local communities to respond to climate threats through training and the development of disaster response plans
- better understand the specific impact of climate extremes on women and girls in order to plan a sustainable response to each of these challenges..
The BRACED project led by Farm Africa is working with several partners to build people's resilience by enabling households, businesses and communities to better manage their resources and everyday risks. BRACED will use these innovative market-based approaches with vulnerable pastoralist/agro-pastoralist households.
The project is also working with private investors to address climate risks by promoting financial models and economic opportunities. It will also stimulate the appropriate diversification of economic activity among the most vulnerable, through public and private sector partnerships.
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