Improving drought resilience in Ethiopia’s lowlands

Project description

Title: Capacity Development to Strengthen Drought Resilience in the Lowlands of Ethiopia (CDSDR II)
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

Afar Region: Finalizing the construction of a water-spreading weir a few weeks before the beginning of the rainy season by involving the local communities. Photo credits: Klaus Wohlmann


Pastoralism is the dominant source of livelihood in the lowlands of Ethiopia. More than eight million people live in the Afar and Somali Regions. The majority of them are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Economic and social systems have been well-adapted to the local conditions for centuries. However, they have recently been subject to unprecedented pressure from population growth, natural disasters and the impacts of climate change. The latter have mainly manifested in the increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods. Overgrazing, erosion, deforestation and loss of soil fertility in combination with increasing conflicts over resources are major challenges for the traditional way of life.


The pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities together with state and non-state actors are becoming more resilient to the impacts of drought.

With the support of the SDR programme, the German Development Cooperation handed over a long-range drone to the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). Photo credits: SDR-ASAL Team


The project CDSDR-II is the core project of the SDR-ASAL programme which consists of three projects. These projects develop jointly an integrated approach to strengthen drought resilience of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in the Ethiopian lowlands. The approach has been developed for the effective and sustainable rehabilitation and use of degraded land in dry valleys. Key elements of the DVRPU approach are participatory land use planning using drones and the introduction of physical and biological measures like water-spreading weirs, check dams, dry stone walls or deep rooting plants, to create additional options for pastoral livelihoods. The approach will be further deepened and anchored at the regional and national level through regional universities and tailor-made trainings for experts and communities.

Last update: November 2021

Livestock grazing on rehabilitated land in Afar. Photo credits: Klaus Wohlmann