Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985


Ethiopia hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa


Country Overview

The instability of Ethiopia's bordering countries, particularly South Sudan, means thousands of refugees have sought shelter in Ethiopia, making it Africa’s leading host country for refugees. In December 2017, the total number of asylum seekers and refugees exceeded 892,555. 2017 also gave rise to significant internal population displacements along the border between the Somali and Oromia regions. Ethiopia’s economy is growing, with the industry and service sectors recording substantial growth, however the inequality in wealth distribution is evident as the majority of the population continue to struggle with escalating food prices and persistent drought.

Whilst the economy is one factor that contributes to high poverty and malnutrition rates, natural causes such as drought also put the country under enormous pressure. Insufficient rains in 2017 resulted in drought in the south-east of Ethiopia, added to this was the cholera epidemic that broke out in the country. In early 2016, it was estimated that 10.2 million people were in need of emergency food aid and 2.1 million children and pregnant women were suffering from under-nutrition, of which 400,000 were suffering from severe acute malnutrition. The number of people  who struglle to access food, however, had reduced by half by early 2017.

People helped in 2017

What we are doing

Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985, supporting communities to prepare and recover from severe episodes of drought and economic instability. Our teams work both with host communities and refugees mainly from neighbouring South Sudan.  

In 2017, our teams continued to improve assistance to refugees in the camps and at entry points on the borders, with a strong focus on preventing, detecting and treating undernutrition, as well as providing nutritional and psychosocial support for pregnant and lactating women. In response to the nutrition emergency, we supported government efforts to fight undernutrition in children under five and nursing mothers. Finally, our teams continued programmes to improve and support communities reliant on farming and livestock, who have become increasingly vulnerable in recent periods of drought.

Our programmes in Ethiopia include:

  • Improving access to clean water and sanitation
  • Screening and treating children with malnutrition
  • Education programmes focused on farming methods
  • Psychosocial support for refugees and host communities



Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985
Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985


Help us continue to save lives in Ethiopia and around the world

Photo credits:  © Lenka Blanarova for Action Against Hunger

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Number of staff
Operating since
Based in
Waghimra, Gambela, Assossa, Somali, Harargue, Borena