(c) Konrad Stoehr/HelpAge Deutschland
Why do we work in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia has undergone significant economic and social changes in the past two decades. But poverty is still rife in Ethiopia, and one in four people live below the poverty line.
Climate change is making the rains increasingly unpredictable in rural Ethiopia, and this is disrupting many older people's livelihoods. Crops risk failing, leaving older people hungry and without a reliable income.
Conflict in the region has driven nearly 900,000 refugees to find sanctuary in Ethiopia, over half of whom are from South Sudan. Vulnerable people in the camps are desperately in need of healthcare, food and social support.
Securing reliable incomes
We work hard to ensure older people have secure, reliable income in poor urban areas of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and in Dire Dawa in the country's east. We provide them with regular cash payments and connect them with volunteer community members who provide psychosocial support and care in their homes.
We have supported the Government in developing its social protection policy, which has led to programmes to support Ethiopia's urban poor and those who live in drought-prone areas.
Improving health in older age
We have established eyecare clinics to improve the eye health of older people and the wider community. This has enabled us to treat people with eye conditions such as cataracts and trachoma, and prevent diseases in the future through effective monitoring and education.
We deliver palliative care to chronically and terminally ill older people in Addis Ababa by training volunteer home-based caregivers, and we support health facilities to train their staff in providing age-friendly services to patients.
Helping older people cope with drought
When rains continue to fail in Ethiopia, pasture and water for livestock quickly become scarce. With little nutrition, cows stop producing as much milk and may even die. We have been helping older people in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia to weather these difficult times with cash, food to feed their animals,and seeds and tools to help them grow crops.
We also work in Gambella, which is on the South Sudan border, to help older refugees and refugees with disabilities who are fleeing conflict. We provide food and other essential items to help get by day-to-day, we provide care in their homes and we build age-friendly community spaces where we offer safety and support.
Restoring Shigute's vision
(c) Anteneh Teshome/HelpAge International
Shigute is 73. He lives in Meki in central Ethiopia where he makes a living as a farmer. But when his vision started deteriorating, working the land became more and more difficult.
"A couple months ago, it became difficult for me to work my farmland. My vision started fading. It was all blurry. I found agricultural tasks such as weeding and ploughing especially difficult," Shigute said.
Through our eye care clinic in Meki, Shigute received glasses, helping him to see clearly again.
"The doctor and the nurses in the clinic tested my eyes with their machines and gave me glasses. I was so happy to learn my problem could be fixed with simple glasses. When I put them on, I can see everything that is close to me. I can return to my daily farming routine with new and full energy," he said.
Our network members
- Ethiopian Elderly and Pensioners National Association
- Rift Valley Children and Women Development Association
- Aktion Deutschland Hilft
- Disasters Emergency Committee
- European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
- European Union
- HelpAge Deutschland
- International Rescue Committee
- Irish Aid