Band Aids and Beyond

As Ethiopia faces another famine of epic proportions, the Ethiopians are getting weary of hand-outs.

Farmer Tayto Mesfin says that it is not food aid they need, a temporary sticking plaster over the gaping wound of economic failure. “Begging is a shameful practice,” Tayto said. “What we need now is skills and training. We don’t need food aid anymore.”

The Ethiopian government has called upon the international community to provide food aid once again, with an estimated 6.2 million people reliant on the foreign handouts. The drought highlights fears that climate change could endanger the lives of millions for decades to come.

Oxfam’s report ‘Band Aids and Beyond’ underlines the fact that Ethiopia has become highly dependent on foreign aid, and is trapped in a vicious cycle of dependency. The last 25 years of severe poverty are set to be repeated unless effective sustainable development projects are put in place. Currently only 0.14% of global aid is spent on disaster prevention according to Oxfam.

Tayto Mesfin has benefitted from programmes that have taught him how to crossbreed seeds to improve his crop yield. Other projects such as grain banks and beekeeping courses have encouraged Ethiopians to feel they can survive the drought, and offers new skills to pull them out of the cycle of poverty.

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 11:15 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What aid organisations are currently operating in Ethiopia, and what are they focusing on? What systems have been developed to provide the training and help that would be needed? How can we help?

  2. Currently aid agencies such as Action Against Hunger, ActionAid, an American organisation called ADRA, Caritas, CARE, and the South African Catholic Relief Serivces are working out there. Mostly immediate aid and healthcare is needed at the moment, but the hope is that the governement can be persuaded to act and invest in programmes that will prevent terrible famines in the future.

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