Ethiopia: Improving Food Security Revised Appeal No. 28/02 Operations Update No. 1


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Launched on 08 November 2002 for CHF 16,163,000 (USD 10,802,700 or EUR 11,010,218) for 14 months for 120,500 beneficiaries.

Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) Allocated: CHF 80,000

Beneficiaries: 120,500

Period covered: 08 November 2002 to 08 January 2003


Appeal coverage: 31.3%
Related Appeals: 2003 Annual Appeal for Ethiopia (01.05/2003)
Outstanding needs: CHF 11,103,239

Summary: Donor support to this appeal has been very positive, particularly with regard to the West Harerghe component. With the funding received so far the distribution of general and supplementary food rations to 50,000 and 25,000 beneficiaries respectively is secured for several months. From January 2003 onwards a particular emphasis will be put on the cash for work intervention in South Wollo. Activities will include water spring protection, latrine construction, terracing, construction of check dams and roads and footpath maintenance (aimed at environmental improvement), and soil and water conservation. An assessment carried out last year by theEthiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the Federation on the Employment Generation Scheme (EGS) projects implemented during the previous years indicated a positive and valuable impact on the relief and development needs of an impoverished population. The advantage to this approach is that it links relief to development, often with a long-term benefit to the community.

Operational Developments

In 1999 and 2000, Ethiopia experienced one of its most severe droughts since 1984. A productive main season (meher) harvest in 2000 and 2001 and a good short (belg) harvest in 2001, when the rains were relatively favourable, resulted in a short recovery period. However, erratic and inadequate rainfall patterns in early and mid 2002 dramatically reduced agricultural production and increased livestock mortality. This resulted in 6.3 million Ethiopians having to rely on emergency aid in 2002.

The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) and the Federation, co-ordinating closely with the governmental Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) and the UN and other humanitarian actors and agencies, have launched an appeal in November 2002 to set up an assistance program in South Wollo and West Hareghe.

The intervention includes a cash for work component in Kutaber and Ambassel woredas in South Wollo, Amhara Region for a total of nine months targeting a total of 45,000 particularly vulnerable people who depend on the mid-year belg harvest. Furthermore, the ERCS and the Federation designed an intervention in West Harerghe for a period of 14 months in order to supply 50,000 people with general food rations and an additional particularly vulnerable 25,000 beneficiaries with supplementary dry rations targeting mid- and lowland populations that are totally dependent on the Meher rains for their livelihood.

During the reporting period, the preparations for both components have been finalised. In both project areas the screening of beneficiaries has been finished, using a community based approach and thus ensuring the needs of the most vulnerable parts of the population to be covered. In West Harerghe, the first distribution of general and supplementary food rations will commence on January 15, 2003. A total of 1,573 MT maize, lentils, oil and corn-soya blend (CSB) has been purchased. The second procurement of relief items, covering the period from mid-February to May 2003 has been initiated. In South Wollo, the planning process of EGS projects considering short- and long-term needs of the communities in the areas of water/sanitation/health has been finalised. The implementation of the projects started on 1 January 2003.

No changes in the intended operational set-up were necessary so far. Due to delays encountered during the first procurement of relief items and time-consuming preparations in the field, the beginning of the distributions has been delayed to the second week of January 2003.


Emergency relief programmes in Ethiopia are co-ordinated through the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) that was established in the late eighties. Bulk food contributions to the country's emergency relief needs from international organisations, bilateral donors and non-governmental organisations are, for the most part, channelled through the DPPC with the funding organization playing a monitoring role.

The DPPC has established the Technical Information Management Exchange (TIME) forum that provides information to all stakeholders every two weeks. Apart from that, Crisis Management Teams at the national and regional levels are closely monitoring and co-ordinating the emergency response activities. The ERCS and the Federation attend the regular inter-agency co-ordination meetings, both at headquarter as well as at branch level.

Furthermore, the UN Emergency Unit in Ethiopia (EUE) is monitoring the situation very closely with the Ethiopian government, and keeping donors and other agencies closely informed. Recently published reports by the Government of Ethiopia/UN Emergency Unit in Ethiopia and FAO/WFP on the overall food situation in 2002 concluded that 6.3 Million Ethiopians were in need of food assistance in 2002. Relief food available for distribution amounted to 582,000 MT against requirements of 897,000 MT, being coverage of 65 percent of needs.

The post-harvest assessments equally confirmed earlier set up scenarios of emergency needs for 2003 and estimate the number of people requiring assistance in 2003 close to the mid-case scenario with a total of 14.3 million people (20% percent of the population) affected by the drought. This number includes 11.3 million people needing food assistance and an additional 3 million under close monitoring.

Carryover pledges from 2002 allocations are estimated at 70,000 MT for January 2003 against 109,000 MT required for distribution. In total, 589,723 MT of food assistance are required for the first four month of 2003. Given the limited amount of carry over contributions and the food needs being beyond the EFSR's (Ethiopian Food Security Reserve) capacity, immediate pledges and expedited shipments are urgently required.

Assistance requirements for other sector such as health and nutrition, water/sanitation and agriculture are equally urgent and only partly covered. The ERCS' and Federation operation comprises food, health and water/sanitation components and focuses on the two regions Amhara (South Wollo) and Oromiya (West Harerghe) with the highest number of beneficiaries in need of assistance. In addition to the gratuitous elements, the EGS schemes implemented in South Wollo form an integral part of a longer-term development strategy and the link of relief and development activities.

Ethiopian Red Cross Society

Though the DPPC is the main implementing agency for relief interventions in the country, the ERCS, in its constitutional charter, has an explicit mandate to conduct relief interventions. The ERCS is the only other institution in the country with this level of autonomy. Good co-operation exists between the two organisations as demonstrated through the programme undertaken by the ERCS in 2000 and 2001

In terms of operational structure, the overall co-ordination focal point for the operation is at the ERCS's headquarters' level. At the field level, branch secretaries are the focal points, assisted by relief teams (led by relief co-ordinators, including sanitation staff, water engineers and volunteers) in each branch.

The ERCS has a strong Health and Disaster Preparedness/Response unit, which reports to senior management. The DP/R senior officer is responsible for the overall management and co-ordination of the operation. For the day to day activities, the ERCS today employs among others two DP/R officers, two watsan officers, two health officers, two information officers and finance/reporting staff. Although stretched with ongoing programs, this staff is providing essential technical support to this operation. All of them have long experience with drought operations.

The present gender and training officer, who is a trained health officer, has been assigned to the program to supervise and carry out PHAST training and activities in the communities. One experienced DP/R officer supported West Harerghe branch in the preparations for the food distributions. Furthermore, to fully implement the relief action, the team has been reinforced with:

At the ERCS headquarters:

  • 1 water and sanitation engineer to co-ordinate the activities in South Wollo and West Harerghe.
  • 1 accountant to support reporting at branch and headquarters level.
  • 1 relief officer to co-ordinate the activities in West Harerghe.

South Wollo:

  • 1 EGS co-ordinator to monitor the implementation of soil and water conservation activities.
  • 1 sanitation officer to carry out PHAST and health education with the communities.

West Harerghe:

  • 1 sanitation officer to carry out PHAST and health education with the communities.
  • 1 warehouse manager and 1 warehouse clerk.
  • 9 guards.

The ERCS has a well established branch in Dessie town, the zonal capital of South Wollo. It administers two sub-branches, one in Kombolcha in the lowlands and one in Ambassel in the highlands. Both the branch Secretary and the programme coordinator have been actively involved in the recent relief operations. The branch has two field vehicles, which will be used to transport teams of youth volunteers who will conduct monitoring, from Dessie to the woredas. The South Wollo branch has five trained cashiers that will handle the cash distribution for the EGS program.

The West Hararghe ERCS branch is based in the zonal capital of Asebe Tefari. It administers two sub-branches, Gelemso in Habro woreda and Hirna in Tulo woreda, however, only on of them is operational due to lack of finances for staffing. Key staff are the branch secretary who has been in place for two years, as well as an experienced volunteer co-ordinator, the sub-branch secretary and an accountant. They will be responsible for the overall co-ordination, implementation and reporting of the distributions at branch level.

Red Cross Objectives and Related Activities

Food component

Objective 1: To provide general food rations for 50,000 people and supplementary food for 25,000 of the most vulnerable segments of the population in West Harerghe to ensure their livelihood until the next harvest (December 2003).

Activity 1: Targeting of beneficiaries.

The ERCS with its volunteers has undertaken the screening of beneficiaries and registered them. A beneficiary list have been set up. Each head of household has received a ration card specifying the number of rations to be handed out to the household, against which the monthly ration is received.

The targeting criteria were developed through discussions with Woreda officials including line departments such as Rural Development, Agriculture, and DPPC. The criteria were used as guidance for the community based targeting committees.

Those households eligible for benefiting from the programme have:

  • No or low food and cash crop production from the Belg rains.
  • No or low food stocks or harvest from the Meher rains.
  • No fixed employment.
  • No small business or petty trading.
  • No kinship support including remittance from casual labour.
  • Female headed households.
  • Widows, aged (>60 years), disabled, and orphans.
  • Animals that are not producing milk and no income from sale of animals (Specifically for Kutaber Woreda).

In addition to this, the following criteria that have been used to target the distribution of a dry ration of blended food of 4.5 kg/month:

  • Children < 5 years (i.e. < 110 cm) with a Weight for Height of < 80% of median Weight for Height.
  • Pregnant (in the last trimester) and lactating (for 6 months) women.
  • TB patients referred to ERCS.
  • Elderly persons over 60 years of age.

It is recognised that HIV infected individuals should also be eligible for supplementary food, however, this will depend on the ability of health services to refer cases to the ERCS.

Although the targeting criteria appear broad the formation of a community based committee to register beneficiaries should ensure transparency and accountability. The committees included:

  • 2 Kebele or Gott (Peasants Association) elders.
  • 2 Kebele or Gott influential women.
  • 1 Kebele Representative.
  • 1 Red Cross volunteer.
  • 1 Women's association member.

On the basis of these targeting criteria, the committees developed lists of beneficiaries which were confirmed at Kebele meetings where the names of those registered were read out. Challenges to the lists could be raised at this stage and amendments made. This system ensured transparency and accountability.

Activity 2: Purchase, transportation, warehousing and distribution of 13,475 MT of grain, pulses, oil and supplementary food.

The first procurement of foodstuffs consisted in the purchase of 1,235 MT maize, 141 MT of lentils, 31 MT of sunflower oil and 166 MT of CSB (corn-soya-blend), covering the needs of 50,000 beneficiaries of general food rations and 25,000 beneficiaries of supplementary food for a period of a minimum of six weeks. The goods were transported to and stored at Hirna warehouse in West Harerghe and are currently distributed at three distribution sites, Debesso, Doba and Chefe Bante in Doba woreda. The distribution process is implemented and closely monitored by volunteers and staff of West Harerghe branch. ERCS headquarter and Federation staff are supporting the branch during the distribution process where necessary.

Activity 3: Monitor the impact of food distribution on market behaviour and household economy.

This activity will begin in January 2003 once the first distributions have been finished.

Activity 4: Monitor the nutritional status of the severely affected population who benefit from the supplementary food distribution.

This activity will equally begin in January 2003 once the first distributions have been finalised. It will be implemented by recently trained ERCS volunteers at Kebele level in close co-ordination with ERCS headquarters' health staff.

Cash for work component

Objective 2: To provide cash for 35,000 people in Ambassel and 10,500 people in Kutaber woredas of South Wollo, based on EGS's, with the aim of securing the livelihood of the farmers and their families and to stimulate their purchasing power through the injection of cash on the local market.

Activity 1: Planning and implementation of EGS projects considering short- and long-term needs of the communities in the areas of water/sanitation/health.

The planning process has been finished and the implementation of projects began in the first week of January 2003.

Activity 2: Ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities to engage in EGS activities.

The targeting of beneficiaries in South Wollo has been done in accordance with the procedures mentioned above for the gratuitous distributions. Special emphasis was given to the status of men and women respectively in order to ensure that all needs were being met on an equal basis.

Activity 3: Payment of cash to beneficiaries engaged in the EGS on a monthly basis for 9 months (38 Birr = 15 kgs grain/ beneficiary /four working days/month).

Activity 4: Monitoring the impact of the cash distribution in the local market and household economy.

Both these activities will begin in January 2003.

Health, Water and Sanitation

Most of the activities related to the objectives of the health and water and sanitation components of the intervention have not yet begun. Preparations for these activities have been finished and their implementation is due to begin during January 2003.

Objective 1: To strengthen the provision of health services through outreach programs, volunteer training and mobilisation and provision of an integrated health sanitation education. The major strategies to be employed and activities implemented for the health and water and sanitation include:

  • building local capacity through training of volunteers: The major health problems of the community are communicable diseases, which are related to poor personal and environmental hygiene and lack of knowledge about the transmission of diseases. Volunteers, if trained properly and coached can bring a significant change in the community. The training of volunteers can also be considered as an asset for the community after the end of this project.

  • using local resources as much as possible: Local artisans, health professionals and development agents from the government can be employed to strengthen our intervention without a significant cost.

  • improving the interaction between the volunteers and the health professionals: The number of health professionals in the area is very limited. However, if the interaction between the health professionals and volunteers can be improved, health professionals can deliver a better service to the community through these volunteers. The community can also participate in the planning and implementation of the health service through these volunteers. The Red Cross committees at the kebele level can be used as moderators even after the termination of the project. However the Red Cross branches should make themselves ready to take the responsibility of further follow up and facilitation after the end of this project.

Objective 2: Strengthen the outreach programs of the MOH to reach the most inaccessible areas, and assist the local MoH health institutions to open five additional outreach sites in the remotest areas where the following activities will be carried out:

  • immunisation activities: all children under 5 and mothers of child bearing age will be provided with vaccination for the six targeted diseases, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles and tuberculosis;

  • health and hygiene education sessions: the health professionals and trained volunteers will provide health education on the major problems of the area, i.e. assist the communities to use the step-by-step guide to improve their environments and manage their water and sanitation facilities, particularly for prevention of diarrhoeal diseases (PHAST methodology);

  • nutrition education: since malnutrition is the major health problem special emphasis on nutritional issues will be given in the health education;

  • technical assistance to volunteers and review of major activities in the area: the volunteers will be selected from the community and trained to mitigate the major health problems in the area. The health professionals should therefore assess the performance of these volunteers and the volunteers should come with major problems they have faced in their implementation. In actual sense, this forum should be used to transfer knowledge from the health professionals to the volunteers and vice versa, the later especially on local knowledge;

  • the forum can also be used as a means to strengthen the link between the health professionals, community leaders development workers and teachers; this in turn will strengthen defaulter tracing, detection of epidemics integration of all development activities in the specific area.

  • strengthen/ establish Red Cross committees at kebele level: Parallel to the emergency interventions, the kebele Red Cross committees will be strengthened to play a proactive role in the process of health education and community transformation. The reactivation should be aimed at maintaining the established interaction among the various actors with in the kebele including the volunteers even after the termination of this project.

Objective 3: Volunteer training and mobilisation through the following activities:

  • volunteers and ERCS committees at kebele level will include women and men in equal proportion.
  • refresher courses will be organized for the existing, earlier trained volunteers.
  • for remote areas where there may be a lack of trained volunteers, core training courses will be organized. This will facilitate the implementation of the health program in the targeted areas and will strengthen the Red Cross presence in the area. The presence of volunteers can also ensure sustainability provided that the Red Cross branches are able to maintain regular support and follow up after life of this project.
  • volunteer coaching: particularly active and capable volunteers will be trained on the coaching techniques to assist the volunteers' deliver their responsibilities effectively and efficiently. The ARCHI and PHAST toolkits will be used to guide the volunteers and their coaches to deliver a better health education to the community.

A CBFA, PHAST and nutrition training course for 42 volunteers in West Harerghe has been implemented by core ERCS headquarter health staff in December 2002, and the same training course will begin in South Wollo on January 25th 2003. The trained volunteers will now act as facilitators at Kebele level, including additional screening of beneficiaries and monitoring of the health status of the population. They will assume core responsibilities with regards to strengthening the link between the professional health staff and the communities.

Objective 4: Provide an integrated package of basic health, nutrition and sanitation education: assisted by the health professionals and volunteer coaches, ERCS volunteers will be expected to deliver a health and sanitation education package. The PHAST technique will be used as a tool to facilitate this process.

Water and Sanitation

Nothing to report


Objective 1: Ensure that the needs and rights of the most vulnerable in relation to the drought situation are secured.

The following activities are being carried out:

  • Advocate on behalf of the most vulnerable to influence policy, commitment and allocation of resources by government, donors and other agencies.
  • Closely monitor the development of the food security situation in the country.
  • Collect primary data in the areas of health, nutrition and water/sanitation from high risk areas in order to monitor and ensure that the most needy will be attended timely.
  • Increase public awareness about ongoing Red Cross interventions through radio transmissions, public relations etc.

All these activities have been initiated and will be intensified during the course of the operation.

ERCS Capacity Building

Objective 1: To strengthen the ERCS branches in high risk areas (South Wollo, West Harerghe and other areas) as part of disaster preparedness.

The ERCS branch and sub branch secretaries, program co-ordinators and youth co-ordinators in the proposed operation areas are trained in disaster management. Several of them have some documented experience from past years of ERCS's involvement in disaster response. However, the scope of this proposed relief operation requires the building of further knowledge and skills among the local staff.

With the employment of additional, temporary staff and volunteers, the need to improve their knowledge of RC policies and capacities to fully implement a relief operation according to RC standards has to be ensured. With regard to financial and narrative reporting the expatriate relief co-ordinator in close collaboration with HQ staff will have an overall role as capacity builders and coaches of the branch teams. Local sanitation staff and volunteers will receive training and coaching, particularly at the start up of the action. The following activities will be implemented:

  • Train staff and volunteers on DP/R and establish Branch Disaster Response Teams (BDRT) for this operation.
  • Increase capacity of staff and volunteers in areas such as finance and reporting and participatory community activities in the areas of PHAST/ARCHI.
  • Establish Branch DP/R Plans for the concerned Branches, within the National ERCS Framework and Food Security Strategy.
  • Networking with other agencies.

In line with the preparations for the implementation of the different components, the capacity building activities have equally been initiated and are on-going. The Branch Disaster Response Teams have been established and are functioning with the support of ERCS headquarter staff and the Federation. Staff and volunteers involved in the screening of beneficiaries and distribution have been trained. Training in finance and reporting will be intensified in the coming weeks with the first activities finished and to be reported on. Networking with other agencies is followed up both at headquarter and branch level, particularly with regard to co-ordination of activities.


Procurement of relief items is co-ordinated by the Regional Logistics Unit in Nairobi. However, as most of the items of the first procurement have been purchased in country, the assignment of the regional logistics delegate has been changed from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. The logistics delegate is now based in Ethiopia and is co-ordinating the procurement with the Regional Logistics Unit in Nairobi.

In country transportation of relief items has been and will be based on tendering.

Storage of emergency items is organised through existing ERCS rub halls at branch level or rented warehouses.

Telecommunication between the ERCS headquarters and its branches is satisfactory.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The ERCS supported by the Federation assumes overall accountability for a timely and quality response. A Task Force has been constituted at the ERCS headquarters level, which meets on a weekly basis in order to ensure proper monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the program. Close co-ordination with affected branches has been established and is on-going in order to ensure the proper delivery of humanitarian assistance to the drought affected population in the two project areas. Both ERCS headquarter and Federation staff monitor the on-going activities at branch level.

Federation Delegation in Ethiopia

The Federation's representative plays a liaison and support role during the operation. In view to reinforce the ERCS Task Force and the Federation Delegation in country, a relief and reporting delegate and a logistics delegate are based in Addis Ababa since December 2002.

In addition to t