Germany announces 10 million euro support for the drought response in Ethiopia

 

21 April, 2016:  Mr Thomas Silberhorn, the German Deputy Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development announced a contribution of 10 million euro to save lives and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable households affected by the El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia.

Due to the drought, 10.2 million people, 6 million of them children, are in need of food assistance, while 5.8 million people require access to clean drinking water and hygiene and sanitation facilities throughout 2016.

In 2015, the Government of Germany contributed 10 million euro to UNICEF for the drought emergency response in the areas of Health, Nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

During a visit to a UNICEF warehouse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Silberhorn said, “We would like to commend the Federal Government of Ethiopia for the well-coordinated response to the drought emergency. The Government’s timely call for early action has paved the way for a coordinated approach implemented by the Government and the international partners.” The Deputy Minister added, “I am pleased to announce that Germany’s cooperation with UNICEF will continue and that the German Government will provide additional funding amounting to 10 million euro to continue the drought emergency support, bringing the support to UNICEF’s work in the drought-affected areas to a total of 20 million euro.”

With this new funding from the German Government, an estimated 1 million people in drought-affected areas will benefit from improved health services, 240,000 people will have access to water supply, and 36,000 children with severe acute malnutrition will be provided with therapeutic food.

UNICEF, the Nutrition cluster lead, provides supplies for the management of severe acute malnutrition and supports the treatment of malnourished children through the community-based management of acute malnutrition, along with training, quality assurance and coordination with other partners.

UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms. Gillian Mellsop, thanked the German Government for its generous support to UNICEF’s multi-sectoral drought response, saying, “This timely support will, among other things, enable the country’s strong primary health care system to continue identifying and treating malnourished children. This emergency nutrition intervention also ensures that the drought will not result in lifelong developmental consequences for a generation of children and will not reverse Ethiopia’s hard-earned development progress.”

 

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UNICEF’s largest global purchase of Therapeutic Food for children in drought-stricken Ethiopia through donor support

Drought in Ethiopia

A mother feeds a her malnourished child a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a high protein and high energy peanut-based paste, in Arsi zone, Oromia, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, after two years of erratic rainfall and drought, one of the most powerful El Niño weather events for 50 years is wreaking havoc on lives and livelihoods. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene

ADDIS ABABA, 22 April 2016 – Today, UNICEF thanked donors for their generous contributions and the Government for its strong leadership, which together have enabled a concerted response to the current El Niño driven drought in Ethiopia, particularly in treating children with severe malnutrition.

With support from donors, UNICEF has procured 543,631 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), which represents 22 per cent of the global order for 2015 and is one of the largest single purchases in UNICEF’s history. The donors include the Governments of Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States and partners including ECHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To date in 2016, UNICEF procured in 2015 a further 73,344 cartons of RUTF out of a global procurement estimated at 565,623 cartons, which corresponds to 13 per cent of the global supply. In addition to RUTF, other supplies including therapeutic milk, routine drugs and hygiene and sanitation commodities have been procured as part of the drought response. To accommodate this large volume of supplies and enhance preparedness for the drought response, UNICEF rented a new warehouse in the Gerji area of Addis Ababa, earlier this year.

“On behalf of the Government of Ethiopia and UNICEF, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the humanitarian donors for their timely and generous financial contributions to purchase Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food that will save the lives of millions of children diagnosed with severe malnutrition,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. “I would also like to especially thank the Ethiopian Customs Authority, the Ethiopian Food Medicine and Health Care Administration and Akakas Logistics, this enormous supply chain operation would not have been possible without their active support. By accelerating our joint nutrition interventions, we can transform the lives of millions of children to become healthy citizens and reach their full potential.”

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades due to El Niño weather condition which continues to wreak havoc on the lives of children and their families’ livelihoods. According to the latest Humanitarian Requirement Document issued this year, 6 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water. Malnutrition rates have greatly increased – 450,000 children are expected to be treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) this year.

Inauguration of new UNICEF warehouse

Inauguration of new UNICEF warehouse (L-R) Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Kebede Worku, State Minister of the Federal Ministry of Health, and Ms. Emma William, Deputy Head, DFID Ethiopia ©UNICEf Ethiopia/2016/Tsegaye

As part of the joint drought response coordinated by the Government, UNICEF is leading the Nutrition, Water Sanitation Hygiene, Education (together with Save the Children) clusters and the Child Protection sub-cluster. Together with other partners, UNICEF implements life-saving humanitarian responses including procurement and supply of therapeutic food and milk, drugs, other medical supplies, plus water/sanitation and education and child protection supplies.

UNICEF also supports the treatment of severely malnourished children through the community-based management of acute malnutrition, with training, quality assurance and coordination with other partners. Regular nutrition screening helps ensure that malnutrition in children is diagnosed and treated early, thereby reducing cases of severe acute malnutrition and life-threatening complications.

The supply of RUTF procured by UNICEF to date to respond to the current emergency is worth US$28 million including freight and in-country distribution. With the continued effort of the Government and support from humanitarian actors, 350,451 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition in 2015.

Posted in DFATD, DFID, Drought Crisis 2015, ECHO, Emergencies, EU, Irish, KOICA, Norway, Press Release, Sida | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reuniting Ethiopia’s children with their families after migration horrors

By Paul Schemm

UNICEF- IOM partnership on assisted voluntary returning children from Ethiopia

Ahmad, 17, demonstrates how traffickers in Yemen held him for ransom. A joint project between UNICEF, the International Organization of Migration and the Ethiopian Government, the transit centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia reunites migrant children with their families. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Mulugeta Ayene

ADDIS ABABA, March 31, 2016 – As Ahmad* was being chased through the Yemeni desert by the motorcycle-riding human traffickers that had tortured and beat him in their camp for months, he thought he would never see his home village in southern Ethiopia again.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it home,” recalled the young 17-year-old with an expressive face and wide eyes as he described his five months of attempted migration to Saudi Arabia that resulted in him getting ransomed by traffickers twice and ended in a harrowing midnight escape when he rolled off the truck containing bodies of fellow migrants he had been sent to help bury.

Ahmad is now safe in a transit centre in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, just a few short days away from the trip back home and being reunited with his family as part of a collaboration between UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration and the Ethiopian Government.

The lure of migration

UNICEF- IOM partnership on assisted voluntary returning children from Ethiopia

Children play ping pong in the courtyard of the transit centre where they await their return to their families after failed attempts to migrate. A joint project between UNICEF, the International Organization of Migration and the Ethiopian Government, the transit centre reunites migrant children with their families. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Mulugeta Ayene

Thousands of Ethiopians leave the country searching for opportunities, with many heading for oil-rich Saudi Arabia via the Red Sea port of Djibouti and through Yemen, which is currently deeply embroiled in a civil war.

Many are preyed upon by human traffickers who often leave them stranded, or worse hold them for ransom. Many who make the trip are minors left stranded far from home.

UNICEF and the IOM have begun bringing these children back to Ethiopia and housing them for a week in the Addis Ababa transit centre while their families are contacted.

“Most of them have travelled through very harsh circumstances, some were robbed and they all went long days without food,” said centre director Mohammed Farah who just last week sent almost hundred children back to their homes. “Most of them are traumatized.”

The children are given new clothes, showers and counselling to try to overcome some of the experiences they have been through.

Many are at first uncommunicative but with time and group therapy they begin to interact with their peers, said Farah.

The centre helped bring home 598 children in 2015 and already in the first few months of 2016 it has sent another 157 to their families, including 10 girls. Families receive a 1,000 birr (US$50) resettling aid as well.

Most of the children helped by the programme are between 15 and 17 years-old but there are cases of even younger children caught up in the lure to immigrate.

The IOM-UNICEF partnership to bring these children back to their families has been singled out by the UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional office as a success story.

Coping with the trauma

UNICEF- IOM partnership on assisted voluntary returning children from Ethiopia

Kabir, 16, looks out the window of the transit center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he awaits the journey back to his family that he hasn’t seen for the past five months. The joint project between UNICEF, the International Organization of Migration and the Ethiopian Government reunites children migrants with their families. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Mulugeta Ayene

Sitting in the clean, white-washed activities room, Zerihun*, 17, talked about being ransomed by traffickers in Yemen and beaten repeatedly when his family couldn’t provide the money.

“They beat me until I became really sick and then they thought I would die so they left me outside,” he recalled, admitting that he still has trouble sleeping from the trauma. In the end, he survived the terrible experience and was able to run off into the desert and find a Yemeni village. There, he received assistance that eventually put him in contact with the IOM, enabling him to return home.

Some migrant children at the centre said they left for Saudi Arabia because they had seen many others go and thought it was a chance to make something of their lives  and return with money.

Kabir*, just 16-year-old, thought he could use his skills as a herder and help manage the massive herds of sheep and goats imported into Saudi Arabia annually for the Muslim feasts, but he too just ended up ransomed by traffickers who had hired Ethiopians to communicate – and beat – their prisoners.

He said when he returned home, he would be sure to warn others about the perils of migration.

“I want to restart my education and help my family,” said Kabir. “It is death if you go there – it is better to transform oneself and thrive inside your own country, that’s what I would tell them.”

*Names changed to protect the children’s identities.

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Ireland and UNICEF respond to Ethiopia’s drought emergency

Ireland and UNICEF respond to Ethiopia drought emergency

L-R) UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms. Gillian Mellsop and the Ambassador of Ireland to Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Aidan O’Hara, holding jerry cans that are part of a donation consisting of water bladders and jerry cans worth over €110,000 (ETB 2.6 million) for the drought emergency response in Ethiopia. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Balasundaram

13 April 2016, Addis Ababa: The drought caused by the El Niño global climatic event has driven food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages in affected areas in Ethiopia.

In recognising the gravity of the situation, the Government of Ethiopia and its humanitarian partners have identified that 10.2 million people, 6 million of them children, are in need of food assistance, while 5.8 million people require access to clean drinking water and basic latrine facilities throughout the year.

In this latest tranche of support, Ireland has provided over €110,000 (ETB 2.6 million) worth of aid for the drought response. This includes 40 water tanks – 20 each with 10,000-litre capacity and 5,000-litre capacity respectively, 3,000 jerry cans, and shipment from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Accra, Ghana to the UNICEF Ethiopia warehouse in Addis Ababa. UNICEF will use these materials to scale up provision of immediate life-saving water supply across 31 worst-affected woredas (districts) nationwide through government-led water trucking campaigns. In coordination with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, UNICEF will deploy the tanks to schools and health centres.

“Ethiopia has made impressive development gains in recent years and we must not let the drought undermine this progress. Our additional support is in response to calls from the Ethiopian Government to assist their humanitarian action; to save lives and protect livelihoods,” says H.E Mr Aidan O’Hara, Ambassador of Ireland to Ethiopia. “In recent weeks, UNICEF has been carrying out real-time water assessments in 30 worst-affected woredas. The April results show that 68 per cent of the population is using less than five litres of water per day in the worst-affected woredas. The water tanks from Ireland will be used to deliver water to the most acutely affected areas”.

“On behalf of the Government of Ethiopia and UNICEF, I would like to thank the Government of Ireland for its continued support for life-saving interventions in this drought emergency,” said UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms Gillian Mellsop. “Provision of clean and safe water is essential to prevent and contain outbreaks of water-related diseases such as Acute Watery Diarrhoea and scabies, as well as protect children from traveling long distances to collect water, keep children in school and support health and nutrition services.”

As the WASH cluster lead, UNICEF supports the Government of Ethiopia and other partners in the rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of new water supply systems, provision of water purification and treatment chemicals, scaling up of water trucking activities, and provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. In addition, UNICEF is exploring innovative ways to use satellites to detect deep groundwater for large scale, multiple-village water supply systems. As part of the overall drought emergency response, UNICEF supports programmes in child protection, education, health and nutrition.

The support to UNICEF comes on top of €9.1 million provided by Ireland to Ethiopia in response to the El Niño drought. This includes €3.8 million given in 2015 to the Humanitarian Response Fund, managed by the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs. A further €1.8 million in humanitarian assistance was provided in 2015 through three NGO partners in Ethiopia: GOAL, Trócaire and Concern. In January 2016, €3.5 million was provided to the World Food Programme to provide highly nutritious food for children under the age of five as well as pregnant and lactating women. This year Ireland will also contribute €10.4 million to the Productive Safety Net Programme which is providing cash and or food support to some 8 million people.

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Leadership matters: The case of CLTSH

By Araya Mengistu


Ethiopia is a country showing strong progress in achieving global and national goals for WASH services. It has achieved the MDG target 7c for water supply. Although still behind for sanitation targets, considerable progress is made. As of 2012, 37 per cent of communities practiced open defecation, as compared to 92 per cent in 1990[1]

The progress on sanitation is mainly achieved through the national Health Extension Programme (HEP) and the community led total sanitation and hygiene (CLTSH) approach. CLTSH is an approach that helps to mainly rural communities to understand undesirable effects of poor sanitation, and through a process of “triggering” – igniting a change in behaviour – achieve sustained behaviour change leading to spontaneous and long term abandonment of Open Defecation (OD) practices. Since its introduction in 2006/7, CLTSH has remained the only instrument in Ethiopia to induce behaviour change of communities to consider construction of latrines and use them – discouraging the practice of open defecation. Although the achievements in the past decade are significant, the success of the approach varied significantly from place to place.

For example, the Oromia regional state, the largest in the country, consists 265 rural and 39 urban districts or woredas. Out of 6,531 kebeles (sub-districts each with an average population of 5,000) in rural areas, about 16 per cent are open-defecation free (ODF) – meaning no-one, including visitors and passing pedestrians, are openly defecating and all have access to basic latrines with handwashing facilities.

UNICEF supports 24 woredas in Oromia state between 2011 and 2015. Of the supported woredas, 24 per cent (116 of 477 kebeles) have achieved ODF status. Compared to regional average of 16 per cent, this is a huge achievement. Sire, one of the supported woredas, has recently been graduated in 2015 with 100 per cent performance, declaring all 18 rural kebeles ODF. Other woredas are at various stages. 11 woredas are between 20-50 per cent progresses, while the rest 12 woredas are of 0-10 per cent progress. Compared to these, Sire Woreda shows an outstanding performance.

Such exceptional achievement requires successfully overcoming a number of challenges. A key challenge is lack of thorough understanding of the steps involved in CLTSH and their importance. Usually CLTSH is about training facilitators and triggering communities. However, many practitioners agree that this is the easiest part. Rendering adequate supervision after the triggering stage and providing support that is necessary to sustain the momentum is the difficult part. Other challenges include diffusion of information to neighbouring communities that make the approach ineffective, lack of trainers with actual field experience, high staff turnover, poor coordination among stakeholders, weak commitment of staff and trained people and application of CLTSH without adequate or proper organisation and preparation.

Growing over all these challenges and as a result of four years of effort, Sire Woreda celebrated 100 per cent ODF achievement in April 2015, with all rural villages and kebeles free from open defecation.

Even though, some of these kebeles were declared ODF two or more years ago, , they continued to sustain their status despite the usual trend of falling-back to OD practice noticed as time elapses. This demonstrates an effective post-triggering activity by the Woreda that effectively complimented the planning and triggering activity.

How was this achieved? The Woreda administration leveraged existing structures to sensitize the leadership ladder down to village level on CLTSH and built it in to the regular reporting and evaluation process. This has helped to mobilize the largest possible support to the effort of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and CLTSH facilitators, including teachers and students under the guidance and support of the Woreda Health Office. It has also avoided diversions of focus (including manpower, logistics, and resources) as CLTSH has become an official woreda priority.

Two notable practices can be praised in the woreda for this success.  (a) the technique of triggering one full kebele at a time in contrast to the usual practice of village by village, and (b) use of different post-triggering follow-up technique suited to context. The advantage of the first technique was twofold. It helped to avoid diffusion of information in to neighbouring communities. Since, focusing in one kebele at a time required more trained people, the coordinators called upon trained and experienced facilitators from adjacent woredas to support, which worked really well. On the other hand, the woreda experts consciously applied different post-triggering follow-up methods. In highland areas, they applied the ‘flag system’, where by communities themselves awarded white flags to households who have constructed basic latrines, and red flags to those who did not. In low land areas, students were organized to alert the community when they see any one defecating in the open, who will then ensure the person buries the excreta.

Currently, the Woreda continues to strengthen the community platforms for monitoring progress and pro-actively works with local leaders to provide the necessary guidance and technical support to sustain the achievement. As a result of this, they are expecting at least two kebeles to achieve secondary ODF, which includes upgrading of basic latrines to improved latrines (with washable slab, vent pipe, hole-cover) with hand washing facility by the whole community. The commitment of leaders, and subsequent effective coordination in the Woreda has benefited the wider community to keep children, women and the society at large healthy.

[1] Joint Monitoring Programme 2014.

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Humanitarian partners launch campaign to address funding gaps in Ethiopia drought response

(Addis Ababa, 23 March 2016):  Humanitarian partners today launched a 90-day campaign to raise awareness on the urgent need for an additional funding for the drought crisis in Ethiopia to address the humanitarian resource gap.

“Ethiopia is currently contending with one of the most serious climatic shocks in recorded history with ten million people facing lost harvests and livestock as well as severe water shortages and health risks,” said Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onuchie, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.  “We are launching this campaign to advocate for increased funding commensurate with the scale and severity of this crisis.’

While Ethiopia’s 2016 US$1.4 billion appeal has received over US$758 million from the Ethiopian government and the international community, significant life-saving gaps remain across all sectors. The four months lead time to get relief commodities to people in need means that action is required now.

Commending the Ethiopian government, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator noted that the government is one of the largest financial contributors to the crisis so far and also leads in the coordination of a complex inter-sector response, which uses government systems and relies on national capacity.

`We are indeed thankful and encouraged by the donors who have stepped up to support Ethiopia in this drought crisis,’ said the Commissioner Mitiku Kassa, National Disaster Risk Management Commission. `Some of these donors joined the Government to respond at the onset of the crisis in October last year. They did so knowing that it costs three times more to treat severe malnutrition than to provide the food and other associated support that might have prevented that child’s descent into severe acute malnutrition.”

Noting that the international community stands to gain much from supporting Ethiopia in the drought response, the Humanitarian Coordinator observed that drought response is not just about saving lives  it is about protecting development gains – gains which the Government and its development partners have worked tirelessly to build up over decades.

“The Government’s vision for development, enshrined in the second Growth and Transformation Plan, promises to steer Ethiopia further down its already remarkable path of progress,” said Ms. Eziakonwa-Onuchie. “We need to rally urgently to protect the development gains of Ethiopia over the past decade and ensure the country remains on its remarkable development trajectory. Urgent and substantial investment in the humanitarian crisis response this year is the only way to ensure this and we must act now.”

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Major international workshop on social protection in Africa

Addis Ababa meeting aims to expand impact of government-led cash transfer programmes

A silent revolution has been taking place in Africa, with governments expanding investment in social protection and national cash transfer programmes. Direct, predictable cash payments for poor and vulnerable households now operate in nearly 40 African countries. To help governments answer questions of how to most effectively improve outcomes for poor populations in a cost-effective manner, the Transfer Project will convene a major international workshop for policymakers, researchers, and UN experts in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6-8 April 2016. The participants will discuss rigorous research findings and future directions of government cash transfer programmes in Africa and beyond.

Thumb prints to certify issue of Pilot Social Protection Scheme

Thumb prints to certify issue of Pilot Social Protection Scheme ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Getachew

The workshop timing is particularly important as countries are in the process of developing their strategies to address the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Notably, the SDGs specifically target numerous outcomes with underlying poverty-related factors, which can be improved through mechanisms like cash transfers. The workshop will provide a unique opportunity for those crafting policy and those examining the evidence to discuss lessons learned and new ways forward.

Sessions will provide results from ongoing impact evaluations, as well as discuss prospective evaluations highlighting innovative programme designs. This includes discussions around transfers combined with other complementary interventions, known as “cash plus” programming, as they relate to education, health and nutrition, food security, productive activities, safe transitions to adulthood for youth, and overall household resilience.

UNICEF Ethiopia and FAO Ethiopia are jointly hosting the event, with Transfer Project partners from across UNICEF, FAO’s From Protection to Production (PtoP) Project, Save the Children UK and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill leading various sessions. The approximately 80 participants will include government partners implementing cash transfer programmes and social protection experts from academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies. Representatives from 14 African countries will be in attendance, and for the first time, 4 Asian countries will also participate in the event.

UNICEF’s support to the Government of Ethiopia is built on various social protection initiatives to establish an integrated system approach to address children’s multidimensional poverty including: (i) the development and implementation of the national social protection policy and strategy; (ii) the strengthening of Federal and Regional government bodies working on social protection; (iii) the provision of technical assistance on the design and implementation of social protection programmes; (iv) the strengthening of social protection systems and (v) the generation of a strong evidence base in the area of social protection. 

In that context UNICEF works closely with the National Social Protection Platform (NSPP) to coordinate all social protection interventions and stakeholders in Ethiopia. The platform is jointly chaired by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD). In collaboration with the National Social Protection Partners, including UNICEF, the first National Social Protection Policy of Ethiopia has been drafted and was adopted by the 77th Council of Ministers in November 2014. The policy is the main reference document to guide the social protection regulatory framework and forms the basis for a comprehensive social protection system in the country.

In addition to the higher level policy work, UNICEF has also been working with the Government of Ethiopia, the Productive Safety Nets Programme (PSNP) and MoLSA in particular for the implementation of Social Cash Transfers programmes in the regional states of Tigray, Oromia and SNNP. All of these interventions have been, and continue to be, rigorously evaluated to support evidence based policy decision in Ethiopia.

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