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Over the last two decades, Ethiopia has made important development gains. These include a number of Millennium Development Goals achieved ahead of target, with significant progress on gender equality, reducing maternal mortality and school enrolment rates. However, food insecurity and undernutrition are a significant drag on economic growth. 

2016 was a challenging year for Ethiopia as it felt the impact of the worst El Niño in 50 years. While the Government and partners helped save countless people’s lives and averted a major humanitarian catastrophe, the drought has left a negative legacy on many families, including the loss of livestock and other productive assets.  5.6 million people are currently in need of relief food assistance.

Ethiopia also hosts more than 650,000 refugees from Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and – more recently – South Sudan.

At times of acute crisis, WFP supports the Ethiopian Government in saving lives. We also support programmes that use food assistance to empower women, transform areas affected by climate change and keep children in school, and provide assistance to refugees in camps and border crossings.

100 million
5.6 million
people are in need of emergency food assistance
650,000 refugees
live in Ethiopia

What the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia

  • Food security

    WFP is a major partner in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and assists 1.6 million rural dwellers in generating community assets. PSNP provides transfers of food or cash, or a combination of both, to help vulnerable people bridge lean seasons. In exchange, they participate in public works such as natural resource management and the development of basic social infrastructures (rural feeder roads, schools or clinics).

  • School Meals

    WFP currently provides daily hot meals to 395,000 school children in Ethiopia. WFP is also providing 8 litres of vegetable oil per semester to female students enrolled in the Somali and Afar regions, as a further incentive for parents to send their daughters to school in pastoralist regions with historically low enrolment rates for girls. Nearly 85,000 students in 120 schools in the SNNP and Oromia Regions receive hot meals made from locally grown food.

  • Support for smallholder farmers

    WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) aims to strengthen the management and marketing capacities of smallholder farmers. By purchasing food locally from smallholder farmers for use in its programmes, WFP cuts the cost of importing food while boosting the local economy.

  • Nutrition

    WFP offers special nutritional supplements to about 2.2 million of the most vulnerable Ethiopians, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under 5 and people living with HIV/AIDS.

  • Early warning

    WFP's Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit has developed early warning tools to strengthen Ethiopia's fight against food insecurity and assist the Government's shift towards proactive disaster risk management.

  • Refugees

    WFP currently assists 535,000 refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. When refugees first arrive in the country, WFP and ARRA (Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs) distribute calorie-packed high energy biscuits at entry points. They then receive a monthly food ration including cereals, pulses and oil. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 5 also receive nutrition supplements.

Partners and donors

Achieving Zero Hunger is the work of many. Our work in Ethiopia is made possible by the support and collaboration of our partners and donors, including:


Addis Ababa

Kifle Ketema Kirkos, Kebele 26, House No. 1041, Marshall Tito Avenue, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PO Box 25584, Code 1000, Addis Abab

Phone: +251 115 515188

Fax: +251 115 514433

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