Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Building Resilient Communities

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Building resilience to financial, health and environmental shock is central to transforming lives and seeing communities reach their full potential.

Building resilience is important if we are to address not only immediate hardships, but also develop solutions to longer term issues.

In northern Ethiopia, The Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) work in one of the harshest inhabited places on earth. The yearly rainfall is between 15cm – 30cm and temperatures reach highs of 54C.

Afar’s people are at the forefront of climate change. Their environment is extremely fragile and they frequently face unpredictable and erratic conditions. Since 1999, the region has endured four major droughts and has been subject to political isolation due to border disputes. It is currently in the midst of the largest plague of locusts in over 50 years, and must now prepare for the immediate and long- term consequences of the global health pandemic (COVID-19).

Because of this, APDA are focusing more now than ever before on building community resilience:

Water security – A major consequence of climate disruption has been desertification and land erosion. APDA are re-diverting rivers so they are once again accessible and including dams, water-spreading weirs and cisterns to ensure water can be accessed for longer in times of drought.

Veterinary care – Para-vets are trained to provide vaccinations, nutritional supplements, identify disease and provide medicine. 93% of Afari people are dependent on livestock for survival, yet on average herds-people have suffered up to 50% loss of livestock in the past 2 years.

Community resilience training – Community Disaster Risk Reduction Management (CDRRM) and Natural Resource Management (NRM) training is provided to develop practical skills in caring for newly planted trees, crops, grass and animal husbandry. These build upon existing knowledge of land use and drought cycles.

Diversifying income – Key to building resilience is expanding and diversifying income-generating skills. APDA provide training for women to start small businesses such as grass mat weaving and tailoring repairs. As climate shocks are unlikely to reduce, APDA are working to ensure families have alternative means of earning a living.

To find out more about these projects, read our summer newsletter here.

If you would like to donate to APDA’s resilience community projects, you can do so here.

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