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Food for the Hungry (US) and Transform Aid International (Australia) collaborate in Ethiopia

Photo: Food for the Hungry

Extreme weather patterns, caused by a particularly strong El Niño, are causing floods and droughts in many regions of the world, with East Africa particularly affected. An Integral Response was launched on 30th September 2015 for this situation, with ten Members joining together to see how the most urgent needs in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan could be met.

Transform Aid International (Australia) and Food for the Hungry (Ethiopia) have since formed a partnership to provide emergency assistance in one the most severely affected regions. Here Anthony Sell, Director of International Programmes at Transform Aid, answers our questions about this collaboration …

Please tells us about the situation and what you are doing?

We are currently working in Ethiopia – the most severely impacted country in Africa, partnering with Food for the Hungry Ethiopia (FH) in the Oromia region.  Due to failed rains, crop production has decreased resulting in 133,979 people in the district (that’s almost 50% of the population) in need of emergency food and water assistance. While the Government is leading the way in food assistance, there are noticeable signs of water shortages – as some residents now travel up to 12 hours to collect drinking water and water for their livestock. In February – the river that was the main source for several communities was completely dried up. Livelihoods in this area are primarily dependent on livestock and agriculture – the failed rains have also led to declining animal feed and livestock death.

We are responding to the drought through food and water security. Partnering with FH, we are assisting a larger project to provide drought resistant seeds, emergency water trucking and help communities repair water schemes. This project is designed to help communities repair four water schemes which would benefit 20,000 people in total.  We aim to help approximately 6,500 households in 7 communities.

What are you hoping to achieve?

At Transform Aid we launched a specific appeal focusing on East Africa, and may partner with other organisations in other countries if the situation becomes worse. This drought is currently being compared to the drought of the 1980s – and we do not want another famine to occur. By responding now we want to help communities not only have access to basic human rights like drinking water and food, but for their livelihoods to recover and be equipped with ways to increase their resilience to drought.

How do you see the value of this Integral collaboration:

The drought situation in Eastern Africa is of such scale now, that collaboration and alliances are absolutely necessary if we are to begin to reach those most vulnerable. At Transform Aid we hugely value Integral Alliance as our membership gives us the possibility to partner with fellow Integral Members and participate in a response in ways we have not been able to do in the past, especially in situations of this scale.”

(In Australia Transform Aid are known as Baptist World Aid Australia)