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In Ethiopia, Trócaire works in partnership with fellow Catholic development agencies CAFOD and SCIAF. This joint initiative (CST Together) helps to build sustainable livelihoods, respond to humanitarian emergencies, strengthen civil society and support those living with HIV and AIDS. We are currently responding to a serious food crisis in the south east of the country.

A group of young rural people who do not own land and are working as part of a REST project in Adwa, north Ethiopia

A group of young rural people who do not own land and are working as part of a REST project in Adwa, north Ethiopia, to transform a hillside into irrigated farmland on which they can grow food. Photo: Jeannie O'Brien.

Key Facts

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Trócaire started working in Ethiopia in the mid-1970s as one of the first NGOs in the country

Health & other benefits

679,000 people

Over 496,000 people benefitted from Trócaire programmes in Ethiopia in the last year

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Sustainable Livelihoods, Civil Society Development, HIV and AIDS Response, Humanitarian Response, Women's Empowerment

Trócaire's Work in Ethiopia

Trócaire started working in Ethiopia in the mid-1970s as one of the first NGOs in the country.

During the war years, we supported people on both sides of the conflict with food and emergency relief.

In 2000, Trócaire opened a country office and began sharing that office and our programme work with CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development for England and Wales) in 2005.

In 2009, SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund) also joined the group and now all three agencies work on a joint programme.

We work in five key locations in Ethiopia: Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s region (SNNPR), Southern Oromia region, Tigray region, Afar region, and Peri-urban areas of Addis Ababa and its hinterland.

Our Programmes

1. Humanitarian Response

8.5 million people in east and southern Ethiopia are in need of emergency food aid to survive.

Small farmers are the worst affected. Up to 50% of livestock have died in areas where Trócaire works.

Drought affected families are employing extreme coping strategies to survive, including selling assets and migration or displacement of entire households.

Trócaire and its partners are providing emergency support to over 350,000 people in communities in the affected areas of South Omo, Gamo Gofa, Guji and Borena.

This includes cash transfers, water distribution, sanitation and disease prevention measures. We are also funding emergency protection for farmers’ livestock including vaccination, treatment and feeding. This is vital to ensure that people affected by the drought do not lose their livelihoods.

2. Sustainable Livelihoods

Climate change is one of the main challenges in Ethiopia as millions of small scale farmers rely on subsistence agriculture, and pastoralists rely on animals and natural grazing lands for a living.

Another challenge is low agricultural yields and livestock production, and lack of skill and knowledge to improve or maintain the production and productivity of the important natural resources.

This programme works to increase and diversify income, create sustainable access to natural resources, help people and communities adapt to a changing climate, and improve production and productivity.

3. Civil Society Development 

This programme aims to enhance the capacity of Ethiopian men and women, especially the poor and marginalized, to effectively engage with and influence decision-making processes that effect their lives.

The programme works with national civil society organizations, NGOs, local community-based structures, and influential leaders to address women’s empowerment, promote peace and constructively engage with the government.  

4. HIV and AIDS Response  

Our HIV programme aims to improve the health situation and information available to Ethiopians.

Our partners work to change behaviour so that people are less likely to become infected. We also work to enhance the quality of life of people those affected by the disease. 

5. Women Empowerment 

Our women's empowerment project works towards helping women in Ethiopia be more socially and economically empowered, exercising greater control over their lives at the individual, household and community levels.

Ethiopia Resources

Our Funders

The following organisations are generously funding Trócaire's current programmes in Ethiopia:

Our Partners in Ethiopia

  • Action for Development

  • Addis Ababa Catholic Secretariat - PACF project 

  • Adigrat Diocesan Catholic Secretariat

  • Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development

  • Agri Services Ethiopia

  • Awassa Diocese Catholic Secretariat 

  • Borana Pastoralist Girls Education 

  • Brothers of Good Works Counselling and Social Service Center

  • Catholic Church of Gamo Gofa and South Omo 

  • Christian Relief & Development Association

  • Community Initiative Facilitations Assistance - Ethiopia  

  • Daughters of Charity Addis Ababa 

  • Daughters of Charity Tigray 

  • Ethiopia Catholic Secretariat

  • Ethiopia Catholic Secretariat St.John Baptist de la Salle Catholic School 

  • Ethiopian Catholic Church Hosanna Catholic Secretariat 


  • Mekdim Ethiopia National Association

  • Network of Civil Society Organisations in Oromiya

  • Organisation for Social Services for AIDS

  • Oromia Pastoralist Association

  • Oromo Self Reliance Association (OSRA) 

  • Poverty Action Network for Ethiopia

  • Relief Society of Tigray

  • Resource Center for Civil Society Groups Association

  • Sodo Catholic Secretariat 

  • SOS Sahel 

  • Timret Le Hiwot

  • Union of Ethiopian Women Charitable Association 

  • Women in Self Employment

  • Women Support Association

Updates from Ethiopia

Country Context

Located in the east of Africa, Ethiopia has a population of over 87.9 million (Ethiopia Central Statistics Agency - CSA July 2014). There are more than 80 ethnic groups in the country, and this diversity led to conflict between groups throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

There has been peace since 1991, but the space for civil society has suffered in more recent years. Most of the country’s huge rural population rely on farming to feed themselves, with 39% of people living below the national poverty line.

Rainfall is the main source of water for farmers but climate change is increasing periods of drought. 

Ethiopia is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in the last 30 years. The two main rainy seasons – that supply over 80% of Ethiopia’s agricultural yield and employ 85% of the workforce – were not successful in 2015 and 2016. 

In 2013, an estimated 800,000 thousand Ethiopians were living with HIV, while 900,000 children have been left without parents as a result of the disease.

Although the Ethiopian economy has been improving recently, the gap between rich and poor is growing.