Both household-level and systemic changes are needed to ensure that households in Ethiopia are able to withstand frequent, prolonged shocks such as drought.
Ethiopia has experienced significant poverty reduction in recent years, but is home to one of the most shock-prone areas of the world. Household, community, and systemic changes are all necessary to increase resilience.
Ethiopia is vulnerable to severe, recurring droughts as well as increasing rainfall variability and rising temperatures, conflict, invasive species, and environmental degradation. Prolonged drought from 2015 to 2017 followed by heavy rain and flooding in 2018 left many households facing significant food insecurity. These prolonged and recurrent natural disasters put development gains made in recent years at risk and place a significant burden on the national government and the international humanitarian community.
The Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), to which USAID is the largest bilateral donor, is one of the largest safety net programs in the world. The program has a target caseload of more than six million beneficiaries and aims to prevent the depletion of household assets, stimulate markets and improve access to services, and rehabilitate and enhance the natural environment through labor-based public works.
In addition, international organizations work in Ethiopia to increase food security, build sustainable livelihoods, and improve vulnerable households’ ability to withstand shocks. Ethiopia’s drylands are particularly vulnerable to weather-related shocks, so activities that improve market linkages, increase access to key livestock inputs and better livestock health services, help construct water harvesting schemes, and support livelihood diversification are particularly important for building resilience.
Opportunities for Strengthening Resilience
The 2015-17 drought demonstrated a number of factors that help boost households’ recovery from shocks in Ethiopia. These include increased pastoralist access to fodder and water, markets, and veterinary services; livelihood opportunities; investing in human and social capital; and increasing access to hazard insurance and correctly timed food and cash transfers. However, limited livelihood diversification, coupled with a lack of off-farm income and an increasing number of landless youth, poses significant challenges to the country. Systemic factors that currently hinder community resilience must be addressed through programming that complements household-level interventions.
More About Ethiopia
Resilience Evidence Gap Analysis (REGA)
13 Sep 2023 - USAID , LINC , Stacie Gobin , Karri Byrne , Matthew Klick , Tesfaye Berhanu , Solomon Bezabeh
Examine the most focused and relevant resilience findings, including information on the sequencing, layering and integration of interventions in Ethiopia.
USAID/Ethiopia Resilience Learning Activity (RLA) Fact Sheet
13 Sep 2023 - USAID
Learn how RLA is building a common understanding and direct investments in resilience-building strategies and interventions.
Meeting Immediate Needs and Protecting Development Gains
20 Apr 2023 - USAID , Mercy Corps
After four failed rainy seasons, the Resilience in Pastoral Areas-North Program took a market-driven response to drought in Ethiopia’s Somali region.
Utilizing a Positive Deviance Approach to a Resilience Context
19 Apr 2023 - USAID , Resilience Evaluation, Analysis and Learning (REAL)
Four case studies explore the usefulness of positive deviance approaches to identify specific stressors and improve household resilience.