Project executive summary
As climate change drives an increase in the frequency and intensity of natural hazards, the challenges faced by food-insecure communities struggling to improve their lives and livelihoods will also increase. Over 1 billion people are already hungry. Conservative projections indicate that unless there are significant efforts to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty, and build climate resilience, over the next decade 100 million more people will become food insecure due in part to the adverse impacts of climate change.
In response to this challenge, Oxfam America has developed a holistic risk management framework to enable poor farmers in Ethiopia to strengthen their food and income security through a combination of improved resource management (risk reduction), microcredit (“smart” risk taking), risk transfer (insurance), and risk reserves (savings). The Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation (HARITA) project implemented in Ethiopia is the first example of this pioneering approach. Initiated in 2007 through an innovative partnership that brought together Ethiopian farmers, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST), Nyala Insurance Share Company, Dedebit Credit and Savings Institution (DECSI), Mekelle University, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Swiss Re, the Rockefeller Foundation, and six other organizations including a farmers’ cooperative, local government agencies, a local agriculture research organization, and global legal experts, the project has broken new ground in the field of risk management by enabling Ethiopia’s poorest farmers to pay for their insurance with their own labor.