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Ethiopia

Building a stronger and more effective local response to emergencies in Ethiopia

Elias and Tigist are two humanitarian workers in Ethiopia who are embracing change. Their work involves responding to emergencies, and thanks to Trócaire’s SCORE project, they are building new skills and knowledge. As a result, their organisation is now stronger and more effective in delivering their life-saving emergency work.

Elias Yusuf, Project Manager with Oromia Pastoralist Association,  conducting a digital rapid needs assessment. Photo : OPA Elias Yusuf, Project Manager with Oromia Pastoralist Association, conducting a digital rapid needs assessment. Photo : OPA

In the Oromo region of Ethiopia, extreme weather and droughts have historically brought pastoral tribes into conflict over pastureland, water, and natural resources. To make matters more challenging, as climate change hits, conflict and drought is on the increase.

Trócaire provides emergency aid to people facing crisis in this region through our local partner organisations. One such partner, the Oromia Pastoralist Association (OPA), was created to help address land disputes, conflict over resources, and to help vulnerable groups cope with climate change.

OPA was established in June 2006 by a group of 72 community activists and is still growing and developing as an organisation. OPA have identified areas where they need to grow and strengthen, and through the SCORE project, Trócaire has been able to support them as they develop and build their capacity.

As a partnership agency, Trócaire’s approach is based on identifying local organisations and supporting them. Our partnership model is not just about funding, we exchange capacities, experiences and learning between Trócaire and local organisations. We support organisations like OPA, helping them to grow and be stronger.

We support the growth and development of local staff – like Tigist and Elias – local humanitarians who are committed to learning and developing in order to deliver a high quality and effective emergency response.

Tigist Shimeles (wearing the yellow facemask) distributing COVID-19 emergency non-food Items to beneficiaries; June 2020, Goro Bute village-Moyale. Photo : OPA. Tigist Shimeles (wearing the yellow facemask) distributing COVID-19 emergency non-food Items to beneficiaries; June 2020, Goro Bute village-Moyale. Photo : OPA.
Tigist Shimeles sensitising women’s Social group members on OPA Complaint Handling and Feedback Mechanisms Procedures; April 2020, Goro Bute village-Moyale. Photo : OPA Tigist Shimeles sensitising women’s Social group members on OPA Complaint Handling and Feedback Mechanisms Procedures; April 2020, Goro Bute village-Moyale. Photo : OPA

Tigist’s story – Accountability in action

Tigist Shimelis is working with OPA as a Community Facilitator in a Humanitarian Protection project. She is one of the 16 OPA staff members who have directly benefited from the SCORE Project by participating in capacity building trainings.

Tigist works on providing timely Gender Based Violence (GBV) support services including psychosocial support and emergency cash assistance.

As part of the SCORE project, since January 2020, OPA has put in place a community-based feedback and complaints handling mechanisms policy and procedure. This community-based system has provided community members the opportunity to give feedback and register complaints about OPA staff and operations through safe and accessible channels.

Community members can report complaints to frontline staff, to community feedback committees, or privately using suggestion boxes in the village, and by telephone. Complaints via e-mail and website are also now integrated into OPA’s website to help increase engagement by individuals and ensure accountability to all community members.

OPA continue to raise awareness of these different methods to complain or give feedback, which is important so that everyone knows where they are and how to use them.

“Now I can exactly differentiate types of complaints that I can address at my level and what to do with those complaints” says Tigist. “I have resolved more than 7 programme-related, non-sensitive complaints reported by programme participants in Goro Butte village since February 2020”.

“It is a sign of OPA’s organisational commitment to accountability that allows listening to the experience of stakeholders for continual organisational improvement’’ says Tigist.

Tigist Shimeles, OPA Community Facilitator Tigist Shimeles, OPA Community Facilitator
It is a sign of OPA’s organisational commitment to accountability that allows listening to the experience of stakeholders for continual organisational improvement

Elias’ story – digital data collection

Elias Yousuf is an OPA staff member working as a Field Project Manager on a women’s empowerment project.

He has participated in key capacity building trainings such as emergency preparedness planning, Core Humanitarian Standards (CHS), rapid needs assessments, digital data collection, and cash transfer programming.

After attending training in June 2020, Elias says “the capacity building training I received on rapid needs assessments and digital data collection has created the opportunity for me to acquire new knowledge and skills.’’

Elias has started to directly apply his new knowledge and has already conducted a rapid needs assessment in two of his project target areas. He has used tablets purchased through the SCORE Project using digital data collection software sponsored by Trócaire.

‘’Unlike the previous paper-based data collection method, the digital-data collection system has an overwhelming benefit with regards to time management, accuracy, information processing and data analysis” says Elias.

“This helps me to manage similar tasks in the future as part of my mandate and day-to-day work’’.

Elias Yusuf, OPA Women’s Empowerment Project Field Project Coordinator. Photo : OPA Elias Yusuf, OPA Women’s Empowerment Project Field Project Coordinator. Photo : OPA

SCORE project – Empowering local organisations

The SCORE project – Strengthening Capacities for Local Organisations to Respond Effectively in Emergencies – is an 18-month project. It is funded by the EU Aid Volunteers Initiative of the European Commission.

Trócaire and Cordaid are working with 12 local organisations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone. We are supporting these local organisations to be better prepared and able to respond to humanitarian crises in their communities.

As per SCORE Project’s overall aim of promoting local actors to play a leading role in humanitarian response, OPA was one of five local organisations engaged in Ethiopia.

OPA identified key areas where they need support and an organisational improvement plan was prepared for action.

As a result, capacity building trainings have been provided to core staff around:

  • Emergency preparedness planning,
  • Core Humanitarian Standards,
  • Rapid needs assessments and digital data collection,
  • Cash transfer programming,
  • Protection Mainstreaming.

While for the first time comprehensive policy and procedural guidelines have been developed on:

  • Feedback and complaint handling mechanisms,
  • Participatory project design and delivery mechanisms,
  • Organisational security policies/procedures,
  • Emergency preparedness plan.

The progress made by OPA to date is really significant, and staff like Elias and Tigist continue to build and develop their skills with enthusiasm and dedication.

This is localisation in action – supporting and building an emergency response that is locally owned and locally led. For the communities we work with, they will be served by local organisations that are now stronger, more effective and more accountable.

By Trócaire and Oromia Pastoralist Association

 

OPA staff attending capacity building trainings on Emergency Preparedness Training, November 2019 in Addis Ababa. Photo : OPA OPA staff attending capacity building trainings on Emergency Preparedness Training, November 2019 in Addis Ababa. Photo : OPA

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