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Ethiopia: A second year of failed rains

Ethiopia: A second year of failed rains

This year, I visited Ethiopia to document the impacts the El Nino is having on people, communities and their livelihoods. At least 10 million people in Ethiopia now require food assistance because of a second year of failed rains.

This week we are attending COP22 because climate change will have an unfair disadvantage on the world’s poorest children. Here, I take a look at the stories of people in Ethiopia who’ve been affected by climate change and how we’ve helped them overcome the challenges of the extreme climate.

Impact of drought on farmers

Abdella, 31, lives in a village just outside Lalibela. The El Nino-induced drought has had a huge impact on his community. Here, he reveals how improved access to water is enabling his daughter to go to school
The El Nino-induced drought has had a huge impact on Abdella, 31 from Ethiopia, and his community

Abdella, 31, lives in a village just outside Lalibela. We have provided clean water to Abdella's community to save children and their family walking hours to fetch water.

“The impact of El Nino is something I’ve really noticed in my region. Before I left five years ago the farmers had a lot a cattle and livestock in the area. I keep hearing of people having to sell their cattle just to stay alive.”

“The impact the water trucking has had on me has been significant. I work and as a practicing Muslim I need to wash five times a day. It’s part of my religion. I can do that now more easily because we have access to clean water. With the new water service nearby I have also noticed more children attending school."

Impact on women and their businesses

Up until last year, Kadija, 19 from Lalibela Ethiopia, would walk for hours to fetch clean water due. A situation worsened by El Nino.
Up until last year, Kadija, 19 from Lalibela Ethiopia, would walk for hours to fetch clean water due. A situation worsened by El Nino

In the same village as Abdella, 19-year-old Kadija explains how El Nino affected her life.  

“I used to walk for six hours every day to fetch water. I’d carry three jerry cans of about 25 litres at a time.”

“My husband works as a carpenter, so he couldn’t help me on most days. I’d often have to fetch water on my own.”

“I did this for a full eight months, each and every day. At the same time I was trying to keep my small business going. I run a local café but my business was failing because I needed clean water for the coffee, tea, cooking and cleaning.”

By building a water trucking facility just five minutes from her home, Plan International Ethiopia has transformed Kadija’s business, giving her more independence and autonomy
By building a water trucking facility just five minutes from her home, Plan International Ethiopia has transformed Kadija’s business, giving her more independence and autonomy

“Since the water trucking and pumps have arrived near my village, it takes me ten minutes to collect clean water.”

“I have really noticed a difference. Due to the clean water supply I can stay open every day. I’ve already seen how my business has benefited and I am now making about 1,000 birr in net profit each month,” explains Kadija.

Impact on children and education

Sheshig, 13, lives in a town outside Lalibela, Ethiopia. Over the past few years, the El Nino-induced drought has had a major impact on her education, as she’s often had to fetch water rather than go to school
Sheshig, 13, lives in a town outside Lalibela, Ethiopia. Over the past few years, the El Nino-induced drought has had a major impact on her education, as she’s often had to fetch water rather than go to school

Keen to study to become a doctor, Shesheg explains what life was like before the water trucking facility arrived in her village.

“Before this pump arrived we’d have to walk three hours to fetch clean water,” she says. “I’d carry a jerry can of about 25 litres every morning and then go to school. I used to be late for class a lot, or miss class altogether to fetch water.”

With the support of Plan International, Shesheg no longer has to skip class as has to access to clean water, just five minutes from her home
With the support of Plan International, Shesheg no longer has to skip class as has to access to clean water, just five minutes from her home

“Thanks to the new pump near home I don’t feel as worried anymore. It means I can focus on my studies. I want to be a doctor when I grow up so getting a good education is really important to me.”

“I’ve definitely noticed a difference since the water pump arrived. I am a lot happier now”, concludes Shesheg.

Shesheg is happier to be back at school
Shesheg is happier to be back at school

The El Nino Disaster

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