Ethiopia has made important development gains over the past two decades, reducing poverty and expanding investments in basic social services. However, food insecurity and malnutrition are still a major concern across the country. An estimated 20.1 million people require food support. This includes internally displaced people (IDPs), who have had to leave their homes due to conflict in the north and the severe drought in the south and southeast.
Despite these challenges, the Government of Ethiopia’s five-year Growth and Transformation Plan aims to move the country to middle-income status by 2025, by sustaining rapid growth and speeding up structural transformation.
The World Food Programme (WFP) supports this goal through a range of life-saving and resilience-building activities, targeted at vulnerable populations experiencing acute and chronic food needs (including refugees and IDPs) and those at risk of malnutrition. We provide unconditional food and cash transfers to the most vulnerable families across Ethiopia, including refugees, to complement the Government's work and address the most urgent food security needs. We also provide school meals and support smallholder farmers in adapting to a changing climate.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia
WFP provides unconditional food and cash transfers to the most vulnerable families across the country. In northern Ethiopia – in the Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions – WFP supplies food to 3.1 million people who have been uprooted and impacted by conflict, alongside federal and regional authorities and NGO partners. In the Somali Region, WFP also provides emergency food and cash assistance to 3.3 million people in response to severe drought.
Food security and nutrition
Through the Government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme, chronically food-insecure households receive food and cash transfers at times of critical need, in exchange for building or rehabilitating community assets such as gardens and dams. Additionally, WFP supports 1.7 million malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women every month with nutritionally fortified foods. Vouchers to buy fresh foods are also provided to those most in need of nutrition support, allowing them to purchase healthy items.
Climate action and early warning systems
WFP aims to support 747,000 drought-affected agropastoralists in the Somali Region in preparing for and managing climate shocks, by carrying out anticipatory actions, providing microinsurance and helping boost their livelihoods in 2023. WFP also helps 300,000 smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods and resilience across Ethiopia by rehabilitating degraded farmland, providing agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and tools while providing access to financial services and local markets. At the same time, WFP’s Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping unit supports the Government of Ethiopia in conducting emergency food security assessments and market price monitoring, to best prepare for climate disasters.
WFP provides food and cash transfers, targeted nutrition programmes, school meals and support to boost the livelihoods of roughly 900,000 refugees in camps across Ethiopia. WFP helps refugees with irrigation agriculture, natural-resource management and small-scale entrepreneurial skills, to help them and their host communities become more self-reliant and food secure.
WFP works with the Government of Ethiopia and partners to improve nutrition and promote the education of over 300,000 children in the Amhara, Afar, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions by providing school meals. WFP’s home-grown school feeding approach – meaning the provision of school meals made with locally procured produce such as grains, pulses, vegetable oil and salt – brings additional benefits to vulnerable communities, including increased income for smallholder farmers and a boost to the local economy.
WFP works with the Government on supply chain capacity-strengthening activities, including reducing port congestion with the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority, strengthening the road transport sector with the Federal Road Transport Authority, and supporting the National Disaster Risk Management agency in its implementation of an end-to-end food tracking system.
Ethiopia hosts one of WFP’s largest supply chain operations, managing the movement of over 600,000 metric tons of food per year to 3,000 distribution points and 27 refugee camps. The WFP-managed United Nations Humanitarian Air Service provides air transport for humanitarian partners and cargo to seven destinations across the country where transport infrastructure does not exist.
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