Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with a population of nearly 90 million. Despite having good economic growth, it remains among the 10 poorest countries in the region.

HelpAge began working in Ethiopia in 1992 and works with 20 local partners to support older people.

HelpAge’s priority programmes include income security, social care and support, inclusive health and wellbeing, emergency response and resilience building.

Life story: Gudetu, 80An operation helped Gudetu see again

Gudetu is 80. She stands beside her 63-year-old son Shallew shortly after an operation to fix her blindness.
They are farmers and Gudetu was always a very active woman - busy on the farm during harvest time, getting jobs done in the house and being social in the community. This changed when the blindess took hold.
"But since she went blind, she only sat in her hut, feeling useless, hopeless and lonely," said her Shallew.
HelpAge supported Gudetu to have an operation on her eye, and he next day when the patch was removed she could see again.
"I will never forget when the doctor asked her how many fingers he was holding up, and she yelled out 'five, five, five!' with a huge smile on her face. She was so happy."
Once again Gudetu can get around by herself, attend events, play with her grandchildren and help with farm work.
"I can look into my mother’s eyes again knowing she would be looking back," Shallew added.
“Without the support of HelpAge, there would have been no way for me to afford the operation. This free service is invaluable to the community.” 

Supporting older people in Ethiopia

Over the last year, HelpAge has reached more than 150,000 older people and family members through our community-based and citizen-led programmes.

Secure incomes and livelihoods

  • We lobbied for older people’s needs in the development of the implementation strategy for the National Social Protection Policy. 
  • Through income generating activities and cash transfers, we improved the household income of 1,941 older people, enabling them to cover the cost of their basic needs. 

Health and wellbeing

  • We trained 300 health professionals to provide age-friendly services in the areas of eye care, non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS and home-based care.
  • We enabled more than 40,000 older people access age-appropriate health services through partnerships with government and community-based institutions. 


  • We reached 10,249 older people affected by the El Nino drought in the Borena region through cash transfers, and livestock feeding and vaccination.
  • We supported the needs of 6,825 older refugees from South Sudan in the Gambella refugee camp, providing food and relief items, home-based care and constructing age-friendly community centres. 

Older people's associations

  • We engaged over 80,000 people throughout society on the issues faced by older people and the contributions they make to their communities.
  • We held a number of forums to increase understanding about ageing and help inform national policies to ensure they extensively include older people needs.

What next?

Over the next year we will:

  • promote age-friendly income generating schemes and help care and support partners sustain their services to older people
  • scale up age-friendly health services for older people, particularly around eye care, non-communicable diseases and home care
  • provide support to disaster affected older people through disaster response and recovery interventions including cash transfers and livelihoods support.
  • raise awareness on older people's issues through workshops, campaigns and the media.

Our affiliates

Ethiopian Elderly and Pensioners National Association, Rift Valley Children and Women Development Association.

Our partners

Addis Hiwot Integrated Sustainable Development Organization, Agar Ethiopia Charitable Society, Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs, Assegedech Asfaw Aged Persons Aid and Rehabilitation Organization, Community Based Integrated Sustainable Development Organization, Destitute Elders Welfare and Development Association, Eneredada Elder People Association, Federal HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Office, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Federal Ministry of Women, Children and Social Affairs, Genete Tsige Megbare Senaye Mehabir, Oromia Pastoralist Area Development Commission, Oromia Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission, Medhin HIV Positive Older People Association, Relief Society of Tigray, Sewa Sewa Genete Charity and Development Association, Tesfa Social and Development Association, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and 28 district level hospitals.

Consortium memberships

British INGOs, Refugee Focused INGOs, Humanitarian Focused INGOs, Consortium of Charities and Relief Development Associations, National Task Force on Non-communicable Diseases, Social Protection Platform, UNOCHA Humanitarian Clusters and UNHCR Inter-agency Refugee Taskforces.

Our donors

Age International, Big Lottery Fund, CAFOD/Trocaire/SCIAF, Guernsey Overseas Aid Commission, Jersey Overseas Aid Commission, HelpAge Germany/NAK Karitativ, Missionwerk Sweden/Norad, International Rescue Committee, UK Aid Match, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Granny.

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Striking facts

  • There are 4.8 million people over the age of 60. Under 19% of older people in Ethiopia receive a pension.

  • Over 75% of people over 60 live in chronic poverty.

  • 75% of older people have health problems. The most prevalent are eye problems, arthritis and hypertension.

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Contact us

HelpAge International Ethiopia

Arada sub-city, Woreda 07, House No. 086, P.O. Box, 3384,
Addis Ababa

Tel: +251(0)111261535/37

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