Building resilience in Afar

Awra, in the central Afar region, has seen severe weather conditions. The area experiences extreme fluctuations between long periods of drought, and severe floods when the rainy season comes.

Our partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) have been working with a community here, where 125 members of the community, 40% of them women, have learnt to protect their area from adverse rainwater flooding and erosion. Through watershed management structures such as check dams, stone bunds and terracing, they are reducing the harmful effects of the changing climate.

The community are eagerly working to prepare for the coming rains in July and August, so that water can pool, and pasture can grow. In fact, the women of the community are so enthusiastic they have donated double their time to do this work, beyond the project plan. In the same vicinity, the project is re-directing two river courses where grazing forests had died, giving them the chance to rejuvenate.

Their aim is to change this dry environment to provide water for animals, and to improve the indigenous grass and shrub growth. Through the successive droughts they have experienced, these people have lost more than 75% of their initial herd and have had to migrate long distances to keep their remaining few animals alive during dry seasons.

Currently, households are dependent on relief food, and suffer malnutrition. APDA are hopeful that this community will no longer need to depend on humanitarian need and achieve a level of productivity that can grow and remain sustainable.

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