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This project has been completed.

A new livelihood amid drought

Many people in Southern Ethiopia and Kenya have lost their source of income and food. This is partly due to a prolonged drought and partly to a new dam on the Omo River, which threatens to dry up fertile alluvial lands in the delta.

Here we help the Dassanach, semi-nomadic pastoralists in the region around the Omo Delta (South Ethiopia) and in Illeret (Kenya), to restore their livelihood and to better prepare themselves for extreme climate events with, among other things, new irrigation systems, training programmes to improve the quality of agriculture and livestock breeding as well as a connection to local markets.

The Illeret region in northern Kenya and the Omo Delta in southern Ethiopia suffered a devastating drought for over a year. In Illeret about 80 percent of the livestock died. In May 2017 there was a devastating storm in which many people and animals died. Although precipitation has been more regular since autumn 2017, it will still take a long time for soils, fields and livestock to recover.

In the Omo Delta in southern Ethiopia, people have been growing grain in the alluvial area of the Omo River for generations. Since the Gibe III dam was completed in 2016, the otherwise dry soils have not been regularly flooded.

The Dassanach living in the region have been marginalized historically, culturally and politically. They live largely isolated from infrastructure and public utilities and their rights and needs are neglected. That's why the Dassanach are particularly dependent on aid.

  • Improved access to water for human consumption, irrigation, and livestock
  • Improved agriculture and animal health
  • Diversification of sources of income
  • Supporting government and community representatives in managing droughts, floods and other relevant risks.
  • Supporting local partner organisations in the efficient and transparent implementation of relevant development projects
  • We drill drinking water wells with solar-powered pumps.
  • We build drinking troughs for farm animals.
  • We build solar irrigation systems.
  • We distribute seeds to 500 households.
  • We provide grain mills.
  • We train livestock breeders in sustainable livestock management: even with a reduced herd size, better quality, healthier livestock can be achieved.
  • We support the Dassanach in marketing their livestock and crops.
  • We promote trade contacts for cross-border trade.
  • Supporting national early warning systems and developing local emergency plans in accordance with national early warning systems.
  • We sensitize the population to climate risks and conflicts that can arise from resource scarcity.

We work closely with our local partners in Kenya (Pacida) and Ethiopia (SDCO), as well as with local governments. The Dassanach play a central role in the development and implementation of measures to strengthen communities and adapt them to changing environmental and climate conditions.

The Dassanach in Kenya and Ethiopia: Project pictures

Country info

Capital: Nairobi
Area: 582,650 km²
Population: 53.8 Million


Project data

Project duration: December 2017 – December 2020

Funding: BMZ-PT/ Malteser International

Partners: Pacida (Kenya), SDCO (Ethiopia)


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