The conflict that has flared up between Guji and Gedeo communities in southern Ethiopia since March 2018, has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and without security or livelihoods. Approximately 850,000 people were displaced in Gedeo zone and about 200,000 in Guji.
Christian Aid committed approximately £50,000 emergency response funds to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable households in west Guji zone. We delivered supplementary food and non-food items to a total of 1,500 households through our partner Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Service Commission (EECMY DASSC) during July to September 2018.
Kercha District, Ethiopia
July to September 2018
1,500 households (approximately 9,000 individuals)
The EECMY DASSC implemented the project in coordination and collaboration with relevant government offices, and community structures on the ground. This was done following a systematic process: project identification, formulation, approval, implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
As a result, the project was able to oversee the distribution of 40,000 kilos of supplementary food, 550 blankets, and household utensils such as plates, cups, tea-pots, cooking-pots and jerry-cans to a total of 1,500 households, primarily for children, lactating mothers, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Tilahun Figa is no stranger to violence. He and his family are still recovering from the traumatic experience of ethnic violence that took place in Ethiopia. Before this errupted, Tilahun made a living buying and selling agricultural produce like coffee, sorghum, bananas and maize.
His community, the Gedeo, attacked the neighbouring community, the Oromo, which saw more than 600,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) being created. Tilahun, at the age of 44, is a husband and a father of eight and for the first time in his life, he is now an IDP.
The irony is that as a result of the conflict, Tilahun and other Gedeo, have been living together in a displacement camp with the Oromos and have learned to co-exist in peace.
Ayantu Zewude aged 30 is contemplating naming her new born baby Nigel. Nigel was born towards the end of July 2018 and the name in Oromo means peace. Nigel, however, was born during a time of conflict but Ayantu looks forward to the time when the Oromo and Gedeo will one day co-exist in peace and harmony.
Ayantu is from Oromo while her husband is from Gedeo. They are from the same ethnic groups that were fighting each other and just before the escalation of the conflict, Ayantu’s husband left. “My husband was fearful for his life as the community was aware of his ethnic background. He left just before Nigel was born,” said Ayantu, who has not seen him since then.
She recalls the night, she and her children had to leave their home with other community members, in fear for their lives. “They burned many houses and even killed some people.” said Ayantu.
The help she is receiving at the displacement camp site isn’t enough for her and her children. The food from the government is barely enough and only two blankets have been provided to cope with the cold at night. This isn’t enough for families like Ayantu and her seven children.