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Ethiopia’s current drought

14. December, 2015UncategorizedNo comments

7015696-3x2-940x627As of December 14, 2015

The El Nino has significantly impacted weather patterns in Ethiopia this year, limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods and exacerbating food insecurity among poor and vulnerable households. The projected levels of need for emergency food aid in Ethiopia has grown from 2.9 million people in early 2015 to 4.5 million people in August to 8.2 million people as of mid-October.

According to the Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners’ “Humanitarian Requirements Document” (HRD, December 7, 2015) current needs are as follows:

  • Number of people needing emergency assistance: 10.2 million. Total population of 92.3 million (Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency 2016 projection)
  • Total assistance required in USD: $1.409 billion ($1.1 billion in food assistance)
  • Government of Ethiopia resource allocation:

      2015: USD $200 million

      2016: USD $97 million (committed) to ensure 516,000 Metric Tons of food for first rounds of humanitarian assistance next year.

As El Nino progresses into 2016, Ethiopia is likely to experience both prolonged drought and intense flooding that will further deteriorate food security.

  • The United States has been very response in helping the Government of Ethiopia provide humanitarian relief for those suffering from the drought.
  • Through USAID, the United States is providing $128.4 million in emergency food assistance for Ethiopians in 2015.  This includes $42.7 million which was provided before the revised HRD came out in August and $85.7 million in additional support in direct response to requests from the Government of Ethiopia.
  • The United States government is currently supporting approximately 3.9 million Ethiopians with emergency food assistance through a consortium of non-governmental organizations and the World Food Program.  That number reflects an increase of over 2.4 million people since January 2015.
  • Additionally, the United States government through USAID provides approximately $100 million annually in support to the Productive Safety Net Programmed (PSNP).

U.S. food assistance contributions have been in direct response to requests from the Government of Ethiopia.  When the HRD was revised upward to 8.2 million people in October 2015, the United States government immediately responded and released approximately 132,000 metric tons of food assistance for Ethiopians.  In addition, the United States government provided 23,000 metric tons of food assistance to help Ethiopia cope with food need among refugees.

Thanks to the early warning and careful tracking of the progression of El Nino in the Horn of Africa, USAID food assistance contributions have been early and significant.  USAID was able to pre-position relief commodities in Ethiopia to meet anticipated increased needs caused by El Nino.

Ethiopia is now better able to cope with this situation than previously due to the improved early warning system, the establishment of the PSNP, and serious engagement by the Government of Ethiopia to analyze and response to the on-going crisis caused by El Nino.  Nevertheless, these are the direst conditions ever recorded in parts of Ethiopia and it is clear that there is an urgent need for all donors to step up and do what they can.

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Photo borrowed from:,-bale-zone,-ethiopia/7015706

Special Vistor from Ethiopia

19. November, 2015UncategorizedNo comments

IMG_8546West Sands Adoptions had the special opportunity to host Sister Asayech from Ethiopia on Monday November 16th. Sister Asayech is a mother of 3, an adoptive parent, an advocate for women and vulnerable children and the Director of one of our partnering orphanages. Sister Asayech has a heart for the less fortunate and in 2007 her dreams of serving those in need took a new turn. For years Sister Asayech had been providing support to vulnerable women and orphaned children out of her own pocket. In 2007 she received certification and licensing through the Ministry of Justice and took her mission to the next level.  Through the programs Sister Asayech started thousands have been given an opportunity and empowerment to lead sustainable and prosperous lives. Sister Asayech is not only the Director of an Orphanage but a true leader in advocacy. Her mission is to exert the utmost efforts to create lasting positive changes for women and children in need in Ethiopia; she aspires to see the children and women of Ethiopia leading prosperous lives. Her goal is to enable the disadvantaged and disfranchised women and children in Ethiopia to lead dignified lives by addressing their multifarious needs (socio-economic and health) through institutional care and support services as well as community based empowerment initiatives. Sister Asayech’s five year plan of intervention includes education of vulnerable and orphaned children and women, counseling support, health and nutrition access and education, improvement of early childhood development, livelihood support and vocational training for older vulnerable children and disadvantaged women, providing local community access to social infrastructure (kitchen, toilets, etc.) and agricultural irrigation schemes, and promoting domestic and international adoption as an alternative for orphaned children.

In regards to international adoption Sister Asayech is very supportive, striving to create local awareness and acceptance of this alternative for children in need. Each child’s case is independently investigated by her organization outside of the standard governmental investigation which makes West Sands proud to partner with her organization. During her visit she shared with us photos and brief descriptions of dozens of children who are in need of sponsorship for medical expenses and education. We noticed some of these children were aged 20 or more. When we asked how long children remain in her care she said “They are family, we are their family, and this is their home”.  We are currently working with Sister Asayech to help find sponsors for over 40 children in her care. Most of these children have special needs or are older children. For as little as $30 per month you can co-sponsor a child in need. More information on this coming soon!

It was a great honor to meet Sister Asayech and to have her kind and loving spirit in our office Monday. The concern in her heart is apparent by her expressions and actions. She is a true visionary and leader in creating sustainable solutions for vulnerable and orphaned children and women in Ethiopia.

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