Ethiopia is Africa's oldest indepedent nation and it is the second largest in terms of population. It is the fastest growing economy in the region, however, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita income of $783 dollars.
Ethiopia has an open-door policy to refugees, and currently hosts approximately one million children, women and men, predominantly from South Sudan, Somali and Eritrea. Each month hundreds more cross the borders. The refugees often arrive in terrible conditions – hungry, sick, malnourished and having lost their livelihoods.
GOAL is working in two refugee camps in Gambella – Tierkadi and Kule – with a combined camp population of 130,000 people. The vast majority of people who are living there are comprised of women and children. GOAL’s activities include life-saving inpatient and out-patient treatment of acute malnutrition among children under 5; counselling and education for caregivers on nutrition, hygiene, health and good child feeding practices; micro-gardening to improve diet diversity; and supplementary feeding programmes to treat moderate acute malnutrition among children and pregnant and lactating women.
Gambella is also the home of GOAL’s CMAMI response – where GOAL is implementing a flagship programme for the ‘Community-based Management of At-Risk Mothers and Infants’. GOAL is a global leader in CMAMI implementation and research, and with funding from Dropbox Foundation in 2019 will trial a number of new initiatives that can have far reaching impact at a global level in preventing and addressing malnutrition in traditionally neglected groups – at risk mothers and infants under six months.
Between June 2018 and May 2019, GOAL treated 2,306 children for severe acute malnutrition, 8,380 women and children for moderate acute malnutrition, and reached more than 18,000 women and children with blanket supplementary feeding activities.
175 mother-to-mother support groups were active in the camp, supported by GOAL’s trained counsellors, where pregnant women and mothers with young children, as well as other people with similar interests, come together in a safe place in the camp to exchange ideas, share experiences, give and receive information, and at the same time, offer and receive support in breastfeeding, child rearing, and women’s health.
GOAL is also supporting Pamdong reception centre, where refugees crossing the border from South Sudan are registered before moving to the camps. On a daily basis, GOAL provides hot meals to nearly 400 people in Pamdong. More than 142,719 hot meals were served between June 2018 and May 2019.
In 2018, the Ethiopian government launched the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, a global initiative that seeks to provide a more comprehensive response to refugee crises with sustainable solutions. The CRRF incorporates nine pledges to support better integration of refugees within host communities; access to education, employment and legal documents; and sustainable service provision. GOAL is supporting the Ethiopian Government’s efforts to implement the CRRF pledges at a local level, working hand-in-hand with the Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, communities, and UN stakeholders.
“Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. Without the strong cooperation from the Ethiopian government refugee agency, and the generous funding from our Donors, GOAL’s lifesaving
activities would not be possible. We are so thankful for this support which allows to reach the most vulnerable groups – especially children and women – with lifesaving and life-enhancing activities.'
- Lesley Ann Devereux, GOAL Ethiopia