Currently ranking 169 out of 177 countries on the Human Development Index, Ethiopia is facing complex challenges ranging from a huge population growth (resulting in a very young population with 44 per cent being under 15 years) high illiteracy rates, and tremendous health challenges with malaria, meningitis, and HIV and AIDS being the major killers. Access to clean water and sanitation facilities are severely limited, with 78 per cent of the total population not having access to safe drinking water. In addition, Ethiopia is among the most disaster prone countries in Sub Saharan Africa regularly affected by severe drought, floods, as well as political unrests and tribal conflicts. Due to a high population density and the repeated exposure to natural disasters, Ethiopia chronically suffers from food insecurity. Environmental degradation, severe effects of climate change makes food insecurity one of the main priorities for humanitarian assistance in the county.
The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) established in 1935 and thus, being the oldest National Society on the continent, has a long experience in responding to disasters. In addition to disaster response the National Society responds to the chronic needs of the most vulnerable. This country plan 2009-2010 outlines the programmes and interventions of the ERCS supported by the International Federation through its appeal process.
The Ethiopian Red Cross Society's plans and programmes for 2009-2010 are aligned with the four Global Agenda Goals and focus on disaster prevention and response, health and care, capacity building and promotion of Humanitarian Values. Within these programme components, the society also focuses on global and chronic needs such as food security, effects of global climate change and human influenza pandemic preparedness.
The disaster prevention and response programme focuses on reducing vulnerability of the targeted communities to climatic shocks and food insecurity as well as enhancing the capacity to mitigate and respond to natural and manmade disasters. Trainings will be designed and conducted for National Society volunteers and community members in order to increase awareness and improve skills. The ERCS will preposition stocks in strategic locations throughout the country.
The health and care programme will strengthen its work within the areas of Community Based First Aid (CBFA), HIV and AIDS, emergency health, mother and child health services as well as water and sanitation.
ERCS has for the last three years undergone a restructuring process in order to enhance the capacities and effectiveness of the society. As a continuation of this process, an emphasis will be put on further enhancing the capacities of staff and volunteers. Special emphasis will be put on improving narrative and financial reporting as well as strengthening the governance and management structure.
The society will continue its work with promoting Fundamental Principles and Humanitarian Values, among the wider public as well as among staff and volunteers. Components from this programme will also be integrated into the other programmes of the National Society as well as future emergency operations in order to capitalize on the Red Cross interventions.
The disaster management programme targets some 50,000 beneficiaries, of which majority will be small-scale farmers, women and children. The secondary target group will be the National Society staff and volunteers. In health and care the target beneficiaries are very diverse, as they range from children below 5 years, pregnant and lactating mothers, youth and the elderly as well as people living with HIV (majority are between 15-49 years of age).
In organizational development the target groups are staff, volunteers and members of the National Society. Principles and values will target staff, governance, members and volunteers of the ERCS, beneficiaries and the general public.
The total 2009-2010 budget is CHF 4,883,946 (USD 4,464,302 or EUR 2,843,504)