The International Rescue Committee (IRC), funded by the European Union (EU) and through World Vision e.V., has implemented collaborative cash delivery programmes in the Oromia and Somali regions of Ethiopia, aimed at providing relief to crisis and drought-affected households. The EU is supporting these cash delivery programmes through humanitarian funding, having supported the project by donating 1.04 million euros.

Conflict, violence, drought and events such as flash flooding have led to the mass displacement of 1.8 million people in Ethiopia, with populations becoming increasingly at-risk of malnutrition and disease. This, combined with a lack of access to essential items such as cooking stoves and fuel, or adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities, only serves to exacerbate the ongoing crisis.

Having established a presence in the country since 2000, the IRC now supports refugees and IDPs across 22 camps in Ethiopia, which often include vulnerable groups such as unaccompanied children and people with disabilities. The IRC runs programs aimed at supporting economic recovery and developing water, sanitation and health capacities, as well as those targeted towards educational support, prevention of gender-based violence and child protection.

In consortium with its partner organisations, the IRC was able to reach 29,885 individuals through direct cash transfers, providing a lifeline through which displaced populations could begin regaining their livelihoods. Cash distribution has enabled these beneficiaries to meet a wide range of basic needs, which are constantly fluctuating. These distributions were supported by gender and protection activities to promote equitable access and more directly respond to the needs of the most vulnerable households.

Frank Mc Manus, Country Director of IRC Ethiopia, said:

“By providing displaced and vulnerable families with cash support, this program has supported them to reclaim control over their lives, enabling them to access the items and services they feel they need most. IRC cash-based assistance, funded by the EU, has proven to be more timely, effective and appropriate than distributing predetermined goods to those in need of support.”

Heavy rains during the summer season (June – September) have caused flooding across six regions of the country, affecting around 1,095,358 people, and displacing 313,179 others. Swarms of desert locusts have also attacked 452,966 hectares of pastures and crops, leading to worsening levels of food insecurity in the country.

The IRC is responding to the most affected communities through cash and NFI distributions.