The current drought



in need
of food assistance.


children and mothers
suffering from severe


livestock have
already died.


education disrupted
due to drop-out
and school closure.

Ethiopia is currently in the worst drought for 50 years, with over 10.2 million people needing food assistance. Harvests have failed and the water sources are drying up, resulting in massive food shortages. Ten million people need food assistance, predicted to increase to 15 million in 2016.

Ethiopia is more stable and better prepared than it was for the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. However the scale of the crisis is vast and the international community has been asked to fund the $1.4 billion required.

Only 55% of this has so far been committed – meaning many people do not have enough food to eat.

How Tearfund is responding

Tearfund is working to save lives and build resilience for the future. We are collaborating with Kale Heywet Church to distribute food, seeds and livestock fodder – with the support of the Dutch Government and Tear Netherlands.

Self help solutions:


self help groups
and resilience
to future drought.


self help group members
working their way
out of poverty


people received
life-saving food
in the current drought.


have seeds for planting in 2016.

Key to Tearfund’s work in Ethiopia have been Self Help Groups. 
These enable  vulnerable people to support each other, financially and with mutual encouragement. 

Members begin by saving small amounts, which are used as loans to start or grow new businesses. They are a proven method for communities to lift themselves out of economic poverty. As of April 2016, there are over 18,000 Self Help Groups across 50 locations in Ethiopia with more than 330,000 members.

People in Self Help Groups are generally more resilient to drought than many of their neighbours, but the size of the emergency has meant that they are vulnerable to losing their hard-earned resources.

The plan is to grow this work over the next six years to 30,000 groups in 60 locations.

‘People who are part of Self Help Groups are able to cope better in the current drought. Other people have seen the difference and now want to join them.’

(Tearfund worker)

Tearfund are providing cash grants to the Self Help Groups that will enable members to buy their own food, and to keep their livelihoods afloat during the current drought. These groups also support others who are vulnerable in their communities.

Tearfund and the partner organisations are combining this work with facilitation of Disaster Risk Resilience; this means that the community are able to identify their own vulnerabilities to future disasters. If disaster strikes again they will be far better prepared to withstand it.

Support the work in Ethiopia

Pray for our work in Ethiopia:

  • That the international community would stand together with the Ethiopian people and provide desperately needed funding.
  • For the response of Tearfund, our partner groups and the communities affected. Pray that they can ‘act now to protect tomorrow’.
  • Please pray for the partners who are responding to food security crises, that they are able to reach those in most need.
  • Ask God for long term solutions to be found to reduce the impact of periodic drought.
  • Ask God for these Self Help Groups to keep growing stronger so they can offer more hope to those around them.

With your prayers and help, we can make a difference for the people of Ethiopia

Related stories

  • With a little help from my friends

    Daniel Gatiso is married with two children and lives in the Shebedino district of Ethiopia. Daniel and his family only just got by with the money he ...

    Read More
  • A lifeline for Bukure

    According to a report from its government, 9.7 million people in Ethiopia are severely short of food, with malnutrition widespread.  Since June ...

    Read More
  • Ethiopia in crisis

    Ethiopia’s current drought is the worst for 50 years, eclipsing the infamous drought and famine of the 1980s. An estimated 9.7 million people ...

    Read More