The 2015/16 El Nino-induced drought peaked significantly during the December 2016 to March 2017 dry season, causing a deterioration in the livelihoods of the communities in the South Omo region of Ethiopia, affecting the health of livestock and causing a drop in milk production.
This further reduced the nutrition of households that were dependent on livestock for food and income. In addition, many farmers experienced harvest failure following the erratic and below-average rainfall, extended dry spells as well as attack by pests. Others were unable to plant due to a lack of seeds and the loss of their oxen used for ploughing.
In response to the needs of these communities, from April 2017 to Sept 2018, Christian Aid in partnership with local partners and the DEC East Africa Appeal Fund, has been implementing a phased approach in the Bena Tsemay and Malle districts of South Omo.
The project was designed to benefit over 50,000 communities by improving access to safe water, providing unconditional cash for the most vulnerable groups, support to protect and improve livelihoods and small business grants to improve the income of women self-help group members.
Ethiopia, SNNP Region, South Omo Zone, Malle and Bena Tsemay districts
1st phase April 01 to Sept 30 2017 and
2nd phase 12 months (From Oct 01, 2017 - Sept 30, 2018)
50,032 Individuals (Children, women, PLW, elderly and people with disabilities and men)
(Implementing) Partners (optional) Action For Development (AFD) and Women Support Association (WSA)
Disasters Emergency Committee
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
Christian Aid Ethiopia delivers projects and programmes through a partnership model and this particular project was implemented through two partners, Action For Development and Women Support Association.
The first phase focused on life saving interventions in targeted communities. Responses during the first phase included:-
- unconditional cash transfers
- water infrastructure and treatment
- animal feeds and animal treatment.
The second phase added:-
- provision of boreholes
- construction of water and irrigation infrastructure
- training of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) committees and hygiene promoters
- land management
- provision of seeds and agricultural tools
- Village Savings and Loan Associations
- Accountability and coordination issues.
This integrated approach was used to complement other aid agencies and government programmes. The programme focused on both relief and early recovery as well as having elements incorporated for long-term sustainability such as water infrastructure and community governance/management.
Affected people and communities, especially vulnerable groups, were engaged effectively at various stages of the programme (design, implementation and monitoring). During the early stage-design period, focus group discussions were conducted with the affected communities to determine their needs and priorities, which were then incorporated into the implementation and monitoring processes.
12,000 individuals now have improved access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services.This has reduced the prevalence of waterborne disease whilst also cutting down the average travel time to collect water from 1.5 hours to less than 15 minutes which in turn has increased the availability of time for productive work.
Animal health has improved due to the provision of animal feed, treatment and vaccination. This meant that animals were able to be kept for longer before being sold and as a result, households were able to get milk and other dairy products such as butter, which improved their nutrition.
The program has helped over 3,000 struggling farmers to resume their activities by supplying drought-tolerant seeds, hand tools and training on crop production and pest control as well as construction of small-scale irrigation. As a result of this, the communities have experienced greater food security.
The small business grants and technical support provided for self-help groups raised awareness of women, increased their participation in resource management and decision-making, enhanced self-confidence and social relations among the members. Women who were involved in self-help groups were able to adapt saving practices and got easy access to credit, thereby enhancing their economic and social empowerment.
The unconditional cash transfers supported the highly food insecure households and vulnerable groups (including women, children, the elderly and disabled) in the communities. This has improved their purchasing power and enabled them to buy food and other essentials.
The communities also gained a better understanding of their accountability as well as the ability to raise complaints and get satisfactory resolution to them.
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