of the population is dependent on agriculture for employment


people are estimated to be in Crisis (IPC3) phase 3 and need of food assistance between Feb to June 2020


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 110 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 173 out of 189 countries.

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

While the country is becoming more stable and better prepared to respond to droughts, the challenges continue today. Intercommunal conflict, climate change induced drought, flash flooding and desert locust infestation has left over 8.5 million people needing food assistance.

Meet Ephraim, our country director

How we do it


Find out more

Emergency Response

Find out more

Food Security

Find out more

Self-help Groups

Find out more


Find out more

Our Work in Ethiopia

Tearfund has been working in Ethiopia since the 1970s. Along with our in-country partners, we have supported the establishment and development of more than 20,000 self-help groups across over 50 locations in Ethiopia, as a sustainable, holistic approach to fighting poverty. These groups have over 350,000 members who benefit directly, and they in turn transform the lives and livelihoods of approximately 2 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 self-help group members supported through 30,000 groups around the country. Of these groups, 15,000 groups have been strengthened, 7,500 graduated, and 6,250 commercialised.

In response to drought and conflict, Tearfund is collaborating with three partner organisations to provide emergency food and cash assistance. It responded to the drought-conflict emergency needs between 2016-18 with food, forage, cash and seed distribution to over 70,000 people in Duguna Fango (SNNPR), Dillo district (Oromia region), Koran Mula (Ethiopia Somali region) and Gedeo districts SNNPR through food, WASH and cash responses.

OUR PARTNERS IN ETHIOPIA: Ethiopian Kale Heywot Church Development Commission (EKHCDC), Wolayta Kale Heywot Church – Terepeza Development Agency (WKHC-TDA), Ethiopian Guenet Church Development and Welfare Organization (EGCDWO), Ethiopian Mulu Wongel Amagnoch Church Development Commission (EMWACDC), Meserete Kristos Church – Relief and Development Association (MKC-RDA), Friendship Support Association (FSA).



With the support of Tearfund family organisations across the world, farmers in Wolaita have adopted conservation agriculture practices to grow maize and beans.


people received emergency food distribution since 2016 in 3 regional states, where weather conditions and inter communal conflict 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.


Access to clean water, using solar-powered boreholes, is being created for pastoralist communities in the Afar region with partner FSA.

Pray for our work

  • Pray for stability, good governance and for the upcoming election in Ethiopia.
  • Pray for the millions of people, especially in the Afar region, 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.
  • Pray for people infected with and affected by coronavirus.

Stories from Ethiopia

  • A man of many ideas

    It can be hard when your life suddenly gets turned upside down. Wogasso knew that feeling too well. His career in the military was abruptly cut short…

    Read More
  • 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...

    Read More

Where we're working