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Oxfam's response in Ethiopia

Oxfam is assisting about 425,000 people affected by the crisis in three regions of Ethiopia: Somali, Oromiya and Tigray.

Our response focuses on water, sanitation and hygiene and livestock and livelihoods.

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Oxfam in action

Oxfam is assisting about 425,000 people affected by the crisis in three regions of Ethiopia: Somali, Oromiya and Tigray. 

After good lowland rains and highland harvest at the end of last year, the situation eased. But, poor rain outlooks for this year mean a likely further blow to families affected by drought last year, with some areas potentially facing a crisis similar in scale to last year.

Video: All hands to the pump in Ethiopia

Video: All hands to the pump in Ethiopia

Providing clean, safe water

A major focus of our work in Ethiopia involves helping communities to look for more sustainable sources of water, by drilling boreholes, developing motorised water schemes, and improving traditional water harvesting systems. 

In the driest and most affected areas we have also been trucking in emergency water supplies to over 32,000 people. The water is treated and used for drinking, cooking, washing and keeping animals alive. Each person gets at least five litres of water per day - the bare minimum that people need.

Keeping livestock healthy

Disease can spread quickly among animals too, particularly as they get weaker because of the drought. Most people in these areas depend on their livestock for their income. Oxfam is ensuring that 500,000 heads of cattle have access to water, pasture, vaccinations and medical treatment.


In Borena, Oxfam is supporting communities to rehabilitate traditional wells and ponds that harvest rain water - providing a long-term benefit to the community while also providing an income.

Strengthening agricultural markets

In some areas, where food is scarce, providing cash is not enough. Targeting 250,000 farmers, we work with agricultural cooperatives and women's food supplier groups to help make sure food is available in the markets. This includes providing them with training to strengthen their businesses and putting them in touch with wholesalers and the private sector to re-establish the supply chain, with particular focus on support for sesame, coffee and honey producers. 

We are also supplying these groups with goods such as rice, pasta, cooking oil and sugar, which they can then sell within their community, revitalising the local economy.

Assisting refugees

Tens of thousands of people have fled Somalia to the Dolo Ado camp in southeast Ethiopia, and refugees continue to arrive. Oxfam is there providing water, sanitation and public health.

Oxfam innovation

Oxfam is part of an innovative new scheme to provide small farmers with "weather insurance" so that they receive a payout when rains are poor and crops fail. With this safety net, many communities have been better able to cope with the impact of drought.

Conditions in Dolo Ado refugee camp are extremely challenging for the humanitarian response. The hard rock on which the camp is built means there is currently no sustainable option for disposing of waste. Our sanitation team is investigating options for toilet sludge, meeting with community leaders to gain acceptance of this new concept. Our water engineers are also looking at a solar powered wind system to pump water to the camp, removing the need for a generator, which currently runs on expensive fuel.

Other ways to help