Ethiopia has reached its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target in 2014 for access to safe water supply. Despite this, an estimated 42 million people still do not have access to safe drinking water. Providing adequate and clean drinking water and improving sanitation and hygiene has been the core of Norwegian Church Aid’s work in Ethiopia for the past 40 years.
Through the WASH programme, Norwegian Church Aid partners with local organisations and community members to construct and rehabilitate water schemes, such as boreholes and hand dug wells. With only 28% sanitation coverage, educating and training communities on the importance of safe hygiene and sanitation practices is another priority. For every well we build, we train communities to manage and maintain them through the establishment of water committees. This helps ensure the sustainability of water and sanitation resources.
In the areas where we work, farmers have been able to increase their cereal production by as much as 150% by adopting improved farming practices.
Food shortage continues to be a real threat for one-third of the population. Weather patterns are more and more difficult to predict due to increasing population pressure and environmental degradation. Norwegian Church Aid works with farmers in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions to improve agricultural practices, provide equipment and drought resistant seeds and training on how to resist natural shocks.
Over the last four years, Norwegian Church Aid has mobilised more than 850,000 priests, imams and other religious leaders to take action to improve women’s reproductive health.
The need for increased family planning and access to reproductive health care is demonstrated by Ethiopia's high rate of maternal mortality. Faith-based organisations at the grassroots and community level play a crucial role in our reproductive health programme by providing education. Norwegian Church Aid focuses on improving access to, and the quality of, sexual reproductive health services and contributing to the national commitment to end female genital mutilation and child marriage.
The growing refugee situation in the Horn of Africa has resulted in Ethiopia becoming the African country receiving the most refugees with more than 689,000 people from Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia. Currently, Norwegian Church Aid provides emergency sanitation and hygiene assistance for more than 20,000 South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella region.
Norwegian Church Aid believes it is only the people and the communities themselves that can bring about lasting change. We implement our programmes together with Ethiopian partner organisations and in close contact and coordination with local government. This is in line with our overall goal of contributing to sustainable development for Ethiopia and its people. Our partners have a community-centred approach, rich experience and deep knowledge of the local context.
Dr. Bogalech Gebre, Executive Director, KMG
Winner of the 2014 King Baudouin Prize, Dr. Bogaletch Gebre is an Ethiopian activist working to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM). Bogalech is the founder of Kembatti Mentti Gezzimma (KMG) Ethiopia, a grassroots partner organisation of Norwegian Church Aid since 1997. KMG has contributed to the reduction of the rate of FGM from 100% of newborn girls to less than 3% in the southern parts of Ethiopia.
Teklewoini Assefa, Executive Director, REST
Teklewoini is a founding member of the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), a grassroots organisation that has partnered with Norwegian Church Aid in Tigray since the 1970’s. REST is the largest non-governmental organisation in the region and works with Norwegian Church Aid to implement water and climate resilience projects.