HI works in Ethiopia with Somali refugees to improve access for vulnerable people, including people with disabilities, to humanitarian services. The organisation also aims to improve people with disabilities’ inclusion in society; making sure that the children with disabilities can go to school and that adults with disabilities are able to work and participate in community life.
A blind girl learns Braille at school | © M. Feltner / Handicap International
Actions in process
HI is currently working to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people in Ethiopia and to ensure inclusion of refugees and internally displaced persons. For example, the organisation provides physical and functional rehabilitation services to vulnerable individuals and stimulation physiotherapy for malnourished babies and children in refugee camps, to stimulate their growth and reduce the risk of developmental delay. HI also provides protection assistance and community level support, including psychosocial services, to refugees, conflict-affected communities, people with specific needs and vulnerable children. In the Tigray region, HI provides risk education activities and support to victims of armed violence.
Situation of the country
The second largest country in terms of population in Africa, Ethiopia has nearly 117 million inhabitants. Its demographic weight has been increased by the constant influx of refugees whose essential needs are barely met.
Ethiopia has long been considered as a stable country, but deep clan tensions and inter-communal violence persist. In November 2020, this resulted in the ongoing conflict between Tigrayan forces and the central government. Two decades of deadly conflict in the southeastern region of Ogaden had a severe impact on the Ethiopian ethnic Somali population.
Ethiopia periodically faces terrible droughts. This leads without exception to large numbers of people in need of humanitarian assistance. Numbers grew from 8.4 million (2019) to 13 million in 2022. The country hosts people displaced by cross-border movements due to drought, conflict, political upheaval and civil wars in neighbouring countries (Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan). There are also large numbers of internally displaced persons, forced to move due to drought and conflict.
Over the last 15 years, Ethiopia has undergone significant economic and social changes and has recorded some of the highest growth rates in the world- over 10% in some years. However, Ethiopia’s Human Development Index and its relative ranking have not moved significantly during the past decade. Health services are limited, notably those dedicated to people with disabilities. Ethiopia is also one of the Sub-Saharan African countries the worst affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Number of Handicap International staff members: 96
Date the programme opened: 1986