With the second largest population in Africa – at 90 million, second only to Nigeria – the East African nation of Ethiopia is home to dozens of ethnic groups speaking dozens of languages. But they all share the challenges of recovering from drought and famine, reducing the high prevalence of communicable diseases, and seeking greater economic opportunity.

Improved Economic Opportunity: An estimated 1.2 million Ethiopians live with HIV or AIDS. Under the USAID-funded Ethiopia Strengthening Communities’ Response to HIV/AIDS (SCRHA) project, IRD is integrating economic development into HIV care and prevention. IRD Ethiopia is building the capacity of six national implementing partners and 230 civil society organizations to assist affected communities and households identify economic opportunities and strengthen their ability to mitigate the negative economic impacts of HIV and AIDS. To date, IRD Ethiopia has reached 50,000 households (64 percent women-headed) with economic strengthening programs. IRD Ethiopia’s economic strengthening activities in urban and peri-urban areas include:

  • Skills training in entrepreneurship and vocational and urban agriculture
  • Group-based savings
  • In-kind grants for purchase of tools, livestock, and inputs
  • Business development services, including market access, input supply, technology and product development, training and technical assistance, infrastructure and information services, and finance
  • Job creation through public-private partnership forums

Strengthened Health Infrastructure: Ethiopia’s major health problems are exacerbated by a shortage of health centers. Many facilities are in a poor state of repair and do not adequately support existing basic services, much less provide the additional specialized care needed for HIV and other widespread chronic diseases. Under the Ethiopia Health Infrastructure Program (EHIP), IRD is creating highly visible improvements to the Ethiopian health sector in five regions experiencing high HIV prevalence, and where USAID and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) have contributed to the provision of healthcare services. In collaboration with local construction firms, IRD is overseeing the construction of approximately 85 government-standard health centers and 9 regional warehouses, and will renovate approximately 300 health centers with high numbers of antiretroviral therapy (ART) patients.

Emergency Drought Assistance: The worst drought in 60 years has hit the Horn of Africa, taking a terrible toll on crops, livestock, and people. The people most affected by the drought are agropastoralists, who have lost their livestock and thus their main sources of food and income. IRD is targeting 22 vulnerable Somali communities in southern and eastern Ethiopia with a six-month emergency relief program of water trucking and provision of water purification supplies. Since early September, IRD has supplied the emergency water needs of 31,000 people in severely affected villages in Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado and Dollo Bay districts. We delivered 5,000 liter water tanks to all the villages along with 2,000 jerry cans, and we are trucking water daily to the villages from the nearest river. IRD relief, health, agriculture, and logistics experts are now designing recovery activities for the post-emergency phase of this program. Activities will include delivery of medical supplies, improvement of water systems, agro-pastoralist livelihood recovery, and drought mitigation through improved irrigation systems, livestock fodder access, and herd health.


Addressing HIV and Poverty in Ethiopia

An estimated 1.2 million Ethiopians live with HIV/AIDS—a cause of vulnerability for... more

Building Resiliency in the Horn of Africa

IRD has been responding to the drought crisis in the Somali region of the Horn of A... more

Ethiopia Health Infrastructure Program

Ethiopia’s 74 million people have among the lowest per capita access to healthcare... more

Success Stories

Building Resilience in Drought-Affected Communities

During the 2010–11 drought, Da’ud lost all his livestock – his main household asset... more