Improving drought resilience in Somali Region

Project description

Title: Capacity Development to Strengthen Drought Resilience in the Ethiopian Lowlands, Somali Region (CDSDR SR II)
Commissioned by: Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
Cofinanced by: Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)​​​​​​​
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
Overall term: 2020 bis 2022

A view of a dry valley under rehabilitation in Somali Region, and its conversion to a productive state of use owing to a cascade of water spreading weirs (Source: Dr. Hans-Peter Thamm; Location: Amadle, Ethiopia).


The Somali Region is one of the least developed areas in Ethiopia. Its estimated population is approximately six million people, which is about six per cent of the Ethiopian population. The rural population is mostly made up of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. Economic and social systems have been well adapted to the local conditions for centuries. However, they are being subjected to unprecedented pressure due to population growth and the impacts of climate change. These mainly manifest in the increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods. Overgrazing, erosion, deforestation, loss of soil fertility and increasing conflicts over resources are major challenges to maintaining the traditional way of life. For development strategies, the specific characteristics of the semi-mobile lifestyles and the harsh ecological lowland conditions remain a challenge.


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

A birds eye view of two newly built water spreading weirs in Amadle dry valley, Somali Region. The weirs received the first floods, showing first effects of retaining water and soil sediments to reduce the growth of the gully (Source: Dr. Hans-Peter Thamm; Location, Amadle, Somali Region, Ethiopia).


The CDSDR-SR II project focuses mainly on five districts/woredas in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. It applies a systematic approach towards the rehabilitation of dry valleys and their productive use – DVRPU. The approach has been developed for the effective and sustainable rehabilitation and use of degraded land in dry valleys in the Somali Region and it will be further deepened and anchored at the regional and national level. Key elements of the DVRPU approach are participatory land use planning, the introduction of physical and biological measures like water-spreading weirs, check dams or dry stone walls and tailor-made trainings all around the approach. This creates additional options for pastoral livelihoods.

Last update: November 2021

Additional information