Improving food security in the Afar region

Project description

Title: Transitional aid measure: Improving food security and disaster risk management to enhance resilience in Afar, Ethiopia
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Agriculture
Overall term: 2016 to 2021

7) Waterboxx Technology at Nursery Site (2017)


The lowlands of Ethiopia’s Afar Regional State are one of the least developed parts of the country. 48 per cent of the region’s land consists of marginal soils; the rest is largely dry savannah. Annual temperatures range from 25 to 50 degrees Celsius, while rainfall rarely exceeds 300 millimetres and is highly variable, both in quantity and geographical distribution. The Afar Region has a population of almost 1.5 million people, over half of whom live below the absolute poverty line. The region has some of the lowest development indicators in the country, including high infant mortality rates, child stunting and the highest proportion of underweight children in Ethiopia (36 per cent). Afar people derive their livelihood either entirely from pastoral livestock farming or from a combination of crop and livestock farming. However, traditional pastoral and agro-pastoral systems are under increasing pressure, due mainly to population growth and climate change. The increasing frequency of extreme, climate related weather events such as droughts, floods and related disasters have an increasingly adverse impact on food security, hygiene and health.


The capacity of the population and the responsible institutions to secure productive livelihoods and food for the long term is increased. Resilience to climate-induced weather extremes is improved.

8) Solar Pumps for Use by People and Livestock (2019)


The IFTAR project is part of the programme for Strengthening Drought Resilience in Arid and Semi-Arid Lowlands of Ethiopia (SDR-ASAL). It operates in eight woredas (districts) of Afar and focuses on three fields of activities:

Water and Hygiene: IFTAR aims to improve access to water as well as water quality by introducing collective filter systems. Campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of clean water and hygiene supplement the construction measures and encourage safer food preparation, storage and utilisation.

Food and Nutrition Security: IFTAR aims to improve access to food and fodder by creating and managing tree nurseries and tree protection zones, as well as by promoting the sale of local products such as fruit from trees, forage grasses and meat. The project also aims to improve food utilisation by providing information and training on nutrition and care practices.

Disaster Risk Management: In addition to advising the regional Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Committee (DPPC), the project helps to ensure that the population is better protected against drought, flood, livestock disease and other threats through radio-based warnings and recommendations for action.


  • 94,800 people have improved access to drinking water
  • 58,400 People (26,300 women) have been reached with improved sanitation measures and WaSH trainings
  • 3,500 people have improved nutrition diversity
  • 200 Government staff trained
  • 6 water spreading weirs have been constructed to protect infrastructure such as roads and bridges
  • 4 Women-based CBO nurseries have been established
  • 4 boreholes are rehabilitated and equipped with solar pumps, benefitting 10,000 people (4,500 women) in Awra, Gulina and Yalo
  • 17 tree protection zones have been created as part of CBO organisation
  • 17 birkats have been rehabilitated, including the creation of water user groups for each location, improving water access for 34,000 people
  • Weekly radio broadcasts in the local language supply Afar communities with updated disaster risk management (DRM) information

Last update: February 2021

Additional information