More on Ethiopia

What are the current issues in Ethiopia?

WFP supports government programmes to build long term food security using food assistance to empower women, transform areas affected by climate change and help children to stay in school. During times of acute crisis, WFP is on the frontline supporting the government in saving lives. WFP is also focused on strengthening the Ethiopian government’s capacity to achieve long-term development goals, such as reducing chronic malnutrition and food insecurity.

Projects such as Purchase For Progress (P4P), where WFP buys food from small holder farmers, or the food management improvement project (FMIP) intended to strengthen government’s food assistance supply chain management, are central to WFP’s work in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is among the 25 developing countries that have reached Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1, halving the proportion of the population who are undernourished from 75 percent to 35 percent over two decades. Ethiopia has also reached MDG 4 for child mortality,  reducing under-5 mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2012. Nine out of 10 Ethiopian children are enrolled in primary school, and the country's five-year plan aims to foster sustainable, broad-based development.

Despite these positive advances, Ethiopia remains one of the world's most food-insecure countries, where about one in three people live below the poverty line. More than 8 million people are currently suffering from drought conditions, which are expected to worsen due to the El Nino phenomenon. WFP and the Disaster Risk Management and Food Sector (DRMFSS) are tasked to assist 6 million of those drought-affected people. For this, WFP urgently needs US$39 million to continue relief food distributions until the end of the year.

WFP is also working with the government and our partners to strengthen the resilience of Ethiopians, and to chart a more prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation. In 2014, WFP Ethiopia assisted 6 million vulnerable people with food and special nutritional assistance, including refugees, school children, farmers, people living with HIV/AIDS, mothers and infants, and many others.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia

WFP’s activities aim to contribute towards the Government of Ethiopia’s five-year development agenda, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), through which the Government continues to address food insecurity in the country. WFP considers gender and protection issues in carrying out all its work, ensuring that the needs of women, girls, men and boys are analyzed and prioritized equitably.

In order to address chronic food insecurity, WFP is a major partner in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and assists 1.3 million rural dwellers in generating community assets. Launched in 2005, PSNP provides transfers of food or cash, or a combination of both, to help vulnerable people bridge lean seasons and to ensure they do not have to resort to selling   their assets in order to meet basic food needs. In exchange, they participate in public works such as natural resource management and development of basic social infrastructures, such as rural feeder roads, schools or clinics.

Through the School Meals programme, WFP is currently providing hot meals to more than 360,000 school children. This promotes increased enrollment and attendance, and reduces dropout rates in food-insecure areas. In the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and Oromia, more than 65,000 children in 105 schools have received hot meals made from locally grown food. The food is purchased by the regional bureau of education from nearby cooperative unions supported by WFP’s P4P initiative. Over the next five years WFP will support the Ethiopian government as it further develops its capacity to plan and implement a national school feeding system, working toward a gradual transition from the current model of direct WFP provision of meals to a government-owned national program.

Ethiopia also hosts more than 650,000 refugees, a population that has grown sharply in the last two years with the arrival of tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees who have fled the fighting that has shattered their country. WFP is responding by offering food assistance in camps and at border points. Refugees from Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea are also receiving WFP monthly food assistance.

Our Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme aims to strengthen the management and marketing capacities of smallholder farmers. This year, WFP is purchasing 40,000 metric tons of maize from smallholder farmers via cooperative unions. WFP will use that food in various programmes in Ethiopia, cutting the cost of importing food while boosting the local economy. 

WFP also offers special nutritional supplements to about 1 million of the most vulnerable Ethiopians, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under 5 and people living with HIV/AIDS. WFP continues to find new and innovative ways of delivering assistance in Ethiopia, such as through cash- and voucher-based assistance for relief, refugee and HIV/AIDS operations.

WFP's Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit has developed a variety of early warning tools to strengthen Ethiopia's fight against food insecurity – and assist in the government's shift towards proactive disaster risk management. WFP operations also serve the broader humanitarian community in Ethiopia, notably through the construction of a new logistics hub in Djibouti, and by operating the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), which serves UN agencies along with hundreds of other humanitarian organizations.