Catholic Entity Helping Thousands in Ethiopia Through Economic Initiative

Father of ten Guyo Kala (49), from Borena Zone in Southern Ethiopia, has seen his livelihood decimated by drought. Credit: Trócaire

More than 5,000 women and young people in Ethiopia are benefiting from an economic empowerment program spearheaded by Trócaire, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Bishops of Ireland.

In a Monday May 30 report, Trócaire officials are quoted as saying that one of the most affected communities in the horn of Africa country is the Borena zone, which is facing hunger due to prolonged drought resulting from climate change.

In the report, Trócaire officials say that in partnership with other agencies, they have been working with Borena zone residents to “help reduce poverty and improve the economic opportunities of 5,351 women and young people over three years.”

With funding from Jersey Overseas Aid, Trócaire partnered with the Community Initiatives Facilitation and Assistance (CIFA), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) to help residents in the Ethiopian zone to fence off large areas of pastoral land to allow the grass to grow for future use.

Mr. Guyo, a beneficiary of the program in the zone, told the Catholic entity that three years back, he had 28 cattle, three camels, and 12 goats, which had been reduced down to three cows and one camel due to prolonged drought.


According to Trócaire officials, the drought in Ethiopia has been on for three consecutive years and in the May 30 report, Mr. Guyo confirms that it is one of the worst to be experienced in the country in the last two decades.

“Two months into what should be the current rainy season it is still dry. If the rains don’t come it will be the fourth consecutive failed season compounding food and fuel price rises because of the war in Ukraine,” Trócaire officials are quoted as saying. 

The leadership of the Irish Catholic entity adds that time is not favoring people like Mr. Guyo and other families who are struggling to survive.

In the report, Mr. Guyo expresses fear that the rate at which the animals are dying is alarming and that once the animals are wiped out, women and children will equally start starving.

“My biggest fear is that once all our livestock are dead, next it will be the women and children,” he told the leadership of Trócaire.

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He added, “Our community is malnourished already; death is not far away. We have lived here for centuries and have weathered droughts before, but this is different, this feels unnatural. Climate change is killing us.”

Mr. Guyo told Trócaire that it is hard to escape the drought because it is widespread and that the only available option is to “invest in animal feed to keep our remaining livestock alive.”

He added, “The livestock are our only way to generate an income, without them we are as good as dead.”

Appreciating the services of Trócaire and the partners, Mr. Guyo made reference to some of the activities undertaken, including fencing land for grass to grow and clearing of bushes and said that despite high temperatures, they worked hard for their future.

He is further quoted as saying, “We were paid by CIFA/CST/Trócaire for our labor too. I think we cleared between 300 to 400 hectares in two months. The temperature was around 40 degrees, but we knew it had to be done for our future survival.”


The services of the Catholic entity extended to South Omo in Southern Ethiopia where over 1,500 people who are victims of the widespread drought have benefited from the program.

With funding from the European Union (EU), Trócaire in partnership with CAFOD, SCIAF and Agri Service Ethiopia (ASE) is providing animals to residents who rear them as a source of income.

Hadoya Rubitte, a mother of five who was given three goats, told Trócaire that the project has helped her sustain her life. She added that before the project she felt lost as life was very difficult for her family.

“I am very happy. I love working hard. I love being able to look after my family. The income has allowed me to buy two mobile phones, which has changed our lives in two major ways,” Ms. Rubitte said.

In the May 30 report, Trócaire officials say that Ethiopia is facing its fourth consecutive season of drought, compounded by the recent rise in food and fuel due to the war in Ukraine. 

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According to the World Food Program (WFP), an estimated 7.2 million people wake up hungry every day in Southern and Southeastern Ethiopia, a situation caused by continued failure of crops and livestock being wiped out.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.