HEKS in Äthiopien

Strengthening personal initiative – alleviating poverty

Ethiopia Country programme

The aim of HEKS/EPER in Ethiopia is to improve access to vital resources such as water, land and seed. People are broadening their knowledge of sustainable agriculture, protecting their traditional seeds and securing their water supply so that they can produce enough food even during droughts.


Ethiopia is a land of contrasts and extremes, and its people are seeking a way out of hunger and poverty. The country and people also pride themselves on having preserved their independence in the age of colonialism. With a population of 96 million and as the second largest country on the African continent, Ethiopia has repeatedly come to public attention owing to extreme droughts and famines. The country is one of the poorest in the world according to UN statistics, which place Ethiopia 174th among 187 countries. Half of the population live below the poverty line, yet for some years now Ethiopia has been growing at an annual rate of over 10 per cent. Some 80 per cent of the population are rural dwellers, living mostly from grain cultivation for their own consumption and from cattle farming. The country is rich in resources, fertile soil, water, knowledge and strong cultural roots. But the country's wealth and control over its resources are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small, privileged minority, and a life in dignity would seem almost unattainable for the vast majority of the population.

Ethiopia has been a federal republic since 1993, comprising a vast number of ethnic groups that vary considerably in size. Government bodies regulate and influence many aspects of life. The room for manoeuvre for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is defined by the Government. Still, many NGOs are playing an important role fighting poverty and exclusion

Objectives, priorities, activities

Under its 2016-2019 country programme, HEKS/EPER is working to support people in rural areas and their access to vital resources such as water, land, seeds as well as knowledge about the sustainable management of these resources. HEKS/EPER works with local partner organizations, which are responsible for its projects. HEKS/EPER supports them by furnishing the requisite financing for the implementation of their projects. HEKS provides support and advice on methods and content so as to ensure that funds are used as effectively as possibility, thereby helping to strengthen partner organizations. HEKS/EPER follows the help for self-help approach – whereby people are empowered to deal with their own problems in the future without outside help. Smallholder families and the youth in the project areas are being assisted in accessing markets for their products and in generating income. Local water committees are to be enabled to organize their water supplies independently and secure them for the future. Nomadic families too are to be assisted in preserving their time-honoured tradition of sustainably managing land and water resources and enjoy enhanced capacities for dealing with conflicts .

HEKS in Äthiopien
Karl Heuberger

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