of the population is dependent on agriculture for employment


people are estimated to be in need of food assistance as of July 2017


of all districts in Ethiopia are facing a food and nutrition crisis


people have been internally displaced from their homes

About Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in the continent – home to over 100 million people.

Most people grow crops (including coffee, sorghum, teff, wheat and barley) or tend livestock for a living. Whilst Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies and a rapidly increasing population, it is still one of the poorest countries in the world, with a Human Development Index ranking of 174 out of 188 countries.

The 1970s and 1980s saw drought, famine, war and ill-formed policies bringing many to the brink of starvation.

Whilst the country is now more stable and better prepared, the challenges continue today. The current El Niño phenomenon, which is causing erratic rains, has contributed to the worst drought in over 50 years. This has left 8.5 million people needing food assistance.

Meet Ephraim, our country representative

How we do it


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Emergency Response

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Food Security

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Self-help Groups

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Our Work in Ethiopia

Tearfund has been working in Ethiopia since the 1970s. Along with our in-country partners, we have have supported the establishment and development of more than 20,000 self-help groups (SHGs) across 50 locations in Ethiopia, as a sustainable, holistic approach to fighting poverty. These groups have over 300,000 members who benefit directly, and they in turn transform the lives and livelihoods of approximately 1.5 million family members.

Self-help groups enable small groups of vulnerable people to support each other, both financially and with mutual encouragement. Members begin by saving small amounts which are used to start new businesses or to help when times are tough. They are a proven method for communities to lift themselves out of economic and social poverty. Our plan is to grow this work over the next six years to half a million SHG members supported through 30,000 groups around the country.

In response to the drought in Ethiopia since 2016, Tearfund is collaborating with Kale Heywet Church to provide emergency food assistance. It responded to the drought emergency in 2016 with food, forage and seed distribution to over 70,000 people in Fantalle District.

Tearfund is currently working with TDA (Terepeza Development Association) to provide emergency WASH and food assistance to 25,000 beneficiaries in Duguna Fango District, Wolaita Zone.




farmers have adopted ‘conservation agriculture’ practices to grow maize and beans.


people received emergency food distribution in 2016 in Fantalle District, where weather conditions had prevented people from growing enough food to eat.


beneficiaries have received food and WASH assistance – ensuring access to clean water, proper sanitation and hygiene training – in response to a severe drought.

Pray for our work

  • Pray for stability and good governance in Ethiopia.
  • Pray for the millions of people affected by climate change-induced drought, which has caused failed harvests and loss of livestock.
  • Pray for financial resources to support Tearfund’s work in Ethiopia.
  • Pray for Tearfund partners working to strengthen civil society in an increasingly difficult environment.
  • Pray for legal recognition of the self-help group approach as a proven strategy for transforming people's lives and poverty alleviation.

Stories from Ethiopia

  • Small farms, big dreams

    For many years, Emiyas relied on traditional farming methods. But they are becoming more and more ineffective in the face of climate change. Small-scale farmers like Emiyas are suffering from this growing threat...

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  • Defender of widows

    Losing a spouse is heartbreaking under any circumstances. But when you’re living in poverty it becomes a challenge we can scarcely imagine.

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  • Siret

    Bread from Heaven

    How another Nazareth – Nazareth in Ethiopia – has been the source of another kind of good news... I peer into darkness. I’m trying to see who is in…

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Where we're working