Resilience in Action: Changing Horizons in Ethiopia's Drylands

Ethiopia’s enormous pastoral population is estimated at 12 to 15 million people, the majority of whom live in the arid or semi-arid drylands that cover about 60 percent of the country. Following the famine of 2003— that left one-fifth of Ethiopia’s population without food and tens of thousands dead from starvation—USAID used the funding for the famine response to initiate the Pastoralists Livelihoods program to improve and strengthen the status of this population. This established the foundation and basis of our interventions in these regions.

Through “resilience-based” activities, pastoral communities are gradually acquiring the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their livelihoods and safeguard them against future shocks. Evidence and analysis generated by research institutions such as Tufts University show pastoralists with substantial herds are becoming more productive and benefiting from the vibrant commercial livestock trade, while the more marginal and poorer households with fewer animals are abandoning pastoralism to settle in urban areas, seeking other economic opportunities.

Evidence-based learning and knowledge-sharing and transfer central to USAID’s resilience interventions. This book documents changing trends, lessons learned, and results proven by USAID and its implementing partners in helping pastoral communities build resilience in the dryland areas of Ethiopia.