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As you know, on 26th October we will be hosting our first ITL virtual project visit. Together with a small group of supporters, and using the power of Zoom, you will ‘journey’ to rural Ethiopia to meet the Christian Aid staff, partners and wider team involved in delivering the ITL Preparedness and Early Response to Public Health Emergencies project. 

In order to prepare you for this ‘project visit’, we will be sharing a couple of teaser articles in advance of the day.

We appreciate most people haven't visited Ethiopia before. With this in mind, for our first article we wanted to share some interesting facts about the country, to help inspire you and capture your imagination in advance of the session.

This landlocked nation is home to spectacular panoramas (there are approximately 60 volcanoes located in Ethiopia’s rift valley), fascinating traditions and a vibrant heritage.  

Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed is the Prime Minister or Head of State of Ethiopia. The Chief of State or President of Ethiopia is Zewde Sahle-Work.

Click here to listen to the rousing Ethiopian national anthem and to view some images from across the country - ♫ Ethiopia National Anthem ♫ - YouTube

Ethiopia sights

Population and Economy:

Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation in Africa and one of the quickest developing economies in the world. Between 2004 and 2011, the economy grew at a rate of 10.6 percent per year. 

The economy in Ethiopia is mainly driven by nature, agriculture, and fisheries. Coffee is the most significant export and Ethiopia is in fact the largest coffee producer in Africa.

Despite this progress there is much work still to do, as millions of people continue to be impacted by poverty. The levels of extreme depravation are largely due to the rapid population expansion combined with natural catastrophes impacting the livelihoods of inhabitants. The situation is compounded by a range of other challenges - preventable diseases, including malaria, account for at least 60% of health problems in the country and average life expectancy is just 50 years old.  

Language, Culture and Religion: 

People in Ethiopia are very religious. More than half of the inhabitants are Christians and most observe the Ethiopian orthodox church, one of the most ancient Christian churches worldwide. A further third are Muslim.  

Ethiopia’s population is made up of more than 90 ethnicities and nationalities. According to the most recent census, more than a third are from the Oromo ethnic group, 27% are Amhara and Tigrayans make up 6%. People in Ethiopia speak more than 80 languages -  Amharic, Somali, and Oromo are the most widely used regional languages. 

Ethiopian residents are well-known for their excellent hospitality, cordial welcome, and compassion for strangers. In fact, Ethiopia hosted the third largest number of refugees in Africa in 2020, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. 

The rock-hewn churches of Laibela

Ethiopian Food:

Primary Ethiopian cuisines contain spicy meat stews, vegetables and sauces, and injera flatbread.   

A common vegetarian dish in Ethiopia is Misir Wot, a tasty red lentil stew.

Why not try it out yourself using this recipe? -

 Misir Wot - Ethiopian Red Lentils - Spice Cravings