Strengthening Drought Resilience in the Lowlands of Ethiopia

Project description

Title: Capacity Development to Strengthen Drought Resilience in the Lowlands of Ethiopia
Commissoned by: Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) 
Overall term: 2015 to 2019

1) Open Day Field Visit to Dry Valley Under Rehabilitation (Afar Region 2016)


More than 7 million people live in Ethiopia’s Afar and Somali Regions. Almost all are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who depend on semi-mobile livestock farming for their livelihoods. Although economic and social systems have adapted well to local conditions for centuries, they are currently under pressure. This is mainly due to population growth and the impact of climate change, resulting in an increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods. As a result, overgrazing and overuse of natural resources, soil erosion, deforestation and loss of soil fertility combined with conflict over resources are major challenges to the traditional way of life. In Ethiopia, Afar and Somali are described as ‘emerging states with limited capacity’. Incorporating the specific characteristics of the Afar and Somali people’s semi-mobile lifestyle with the ecological conditions into development strategies remains a challenge for Ethiopian institutions. Therefore, the Ethiopian Government endorsed a multi-sectoral policy to end drought emergencies in the Ethiopian lowlands, the so-called ‘Country Programming Paper (CPP)’. Its successful implementation requests support from the project.


Institutional actors are able to use new and improved management, cooperation and networking instruments to enhance drought resilience in Afar and Somali Regional States.

2) Masons Graduation (Afar Region 2019)


The project supports various woredas (districts) in Afar and Somali, as well as regional and federal government in planning, executing and monitoring natural resource management-related development measures. Its activities focus on building the human and institutional capacities of government institutions, primarily at regional and federal levels. With the support of the project, they are in a better position to plan, monitor and evaluate activities that are part of the CPP. Regarding human capacity building, regional and federal institutions have signed agreements to develop occupational standards specific to the lowland context, applied in selected agricultural technical and vocational education and training (ATVET) institutes. The project manages trainings for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Afar and Somali. These context-specific trainings aim to strengthen skills for natural-resource management, agricultural production and monitoring systems. All interventions take account of the bio-physical and socioeconomic conditions of the area and population, as well as pastoralist and agro-pastoralist lifestyles. Learning from good practices can then be used and scaled up by government development programmes. Supporting the government with political framework setting is therefore another intervention area. In addition, the project implemented emergency measures during drought periods.


  • Training measures developed and tested for pastoral and agro-pastoral communities and public institutions about situation-adapted soil and water conservation measures
  • Advanced monitoring and evaluation systems introduced to implement drought resilience measures
  • Occupational standards adapted to suit pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihood systems, for use by extension services in Somali and Afar regions
  • Gender-specific natural resource management skills incorporated in ATVET and in vocational training.

Additional information