Reality of Resilience: perspectives of the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia

  • By Roop Singh, Mulugeta Worku, Solomon Bogale, Adrian Cullis, Alebachew Adem, Ben Irwin, Sheri Lim, Lorenzo Bosi, and Courtenay Cabot Venton
  • 14/12/2016

Women walk through drought-stricken Ber'aano Woreda in Somali region of Ethiopia. Credit: UNICEF Ethiopia.

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This report highlights lessons from the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia, including how and why different communities were impacted, effective approaches to resilience building and challenges faced.

Key messages:

  • The timing and spatial distribution of rainfall, beyond total deficits, impacted livelihood activities such as agriculture and pastoralism during the 2015–16 drought in Ethiopia.
  • Early response costs less and results in better outcomes. Mechanisms that trigger early funding based on pre-agreed indicators are critical to overcome some of the political, institutional and media effects that have kept the humanitarian system in a state of crisis response.
  • Flexible funding and adaptive programming is needed for humanitarian and development organisations implementing projects. This will pivot funds, depending on need, and help stimulate more timely action.
  • There is increasing evidence that financial services such as index-based insurance are an important part of building resilience. These services need to be accessible to the most vulnerable people.
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