Map of Ethiopia

Working in Crises and Conflict

Speeches Shim

Image of woman providing food aid in Ethiopia
USAID provides food aid and other emergency assistance to vulnerable Ethiopians, and helps communities become more resilient to recurring droughts and other shocks.
Nancy McNally

Stability in Ethiopia is important not only to the people of Ethiopia, but also to the region as a whole. We encourage government and civil society to collaborate on improving conflict management policies and practices at the local, regional and national levels. We also ensure that women are empowered to play a role in peace building. USAID is committed to strengthening community resilience and addressing root causes of potential conflict to facilitate peacebuilding, reconciliation and conflict mitigation activities among key government actors, equitable access to disputed resources like dry season pasture and regionally important markets, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and citizens.

USAID has carefully assessed the operational environment, designed strategic and targeted activities, and partnered with recognized institutions to promote peace, reconciliation, and conflict mitigation in areas at particular risk for instability and conflict.

At the regional state level, our efforts increase focus on knowledge and skills essential to improve conflict management and sustainable development, such as land use planning and natural resource management. We also promote efforts to manage conflict and promote social cohesion and cooperative development along state boundaries, and focus on inclusive, conflict-sensitive humanitarian responses and development planning to reduce local tensions and violence.

Humanitarian Assistance

Ethiopia's population remains highly vulnerable to recurrent environmental shocks, including flooding, drought, volcanic activity, disease outbreaks, and crop losses associated with locust and army worm infestations. Additionally, localized conflict and the effects of displacement strain limited local resources, further impacting food security, nutrition ,water availability, and market function. To save lives and reduce suffering, we provide emergency food aid, emergency relief supplies, therapeutic feeding for malnutrition, protection for vulnerable populations, and water and sanitation improvements to vulnerable populations. Currently, we reach 3.5 million Ethiopians with essential humanitarian assistance, food distributions, and other emergency and support services to people affected by shocks, including drought, conflict, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Disaster Response and Building Resilience

In addition to enhancing humanitarian assistance to emergencies, we collaborate with the Government of Ethiopia, international organizations, U.N. agencies, and other donors to improve the planning and response to disasters and shocks in a timely manner, and increase Ethiopians’ ability to withstand the effects of shocks. We partner with the Ministry of Peace and agencies like the National Disaster Risk Management Commission to enhance coordination among relevant government institutions to better plan, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. USAID investments also focus on building longer term resilience among vulnerable communities to better withstand shocks and alleviate the need for recurring humanitarian assistance and become more self-sufficient. In addition to strategies for reducing the severity of drought, such as rangeland management and improving market function, USAID employs market-based solutions to help the livestock sector withstand shocks. Building resilience includes emphasizing shock prevention, preventive response financial planning, promotion of social cohesion, and strengthening market systems. 

Conflict Mitigation, Peacebuilding and Reconciliation

Recognizing that the current socio-political situation in Ethiopia creates a very delicate situation for international humanitarian and development workers to implement critical mission programming, USAID has adopted a two-pronged strategy to promote peacebuilding and address root causes of conflict. First, USAID recognizes that well-intended assistance can cause harm or strengthen capacities for peace in conflict-prone or affected communities. To this end, USAID has committed to mainstreaming conflict sensitivity principles within its programming and operations. At a minimum, USAID’s actions should avoid inadvertently contributing to conflict. USAID has carefully assessed the operational environment, designed strategic and targeted activities, and partnered with recognized institutions to promote peace, reconciliation, and conflict mitigation in areas at particular risk for instability and conflict.


  • In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, USAID provides capacity building support to the National Disaster Risk Management Committee (NDRMC) to improve national and regional response to emergencies, including natural disasters, flooding, drought, and even pandemics as evidenced by extending assistance towards COVID-19 response activities.

  • Through support from the USAID Global Reconciliation Fund, the Borena Cross-boundary Initiative for Peace activity aims to improve community-level resilience to conflict through strategic interventions that promote reconciliation and enhance intergroup collaboration for conflict mitigation and peacebuilding in the Borena Zone.

  • USAID’s Conflict Mitigation and Reconciliation in Oromia-Somali Administration Boundary project seeks to bring the Oromo and Somali ethnic groups together to interact and engage constructively in a safe space to break down social and cultural barriers and promote peaceful coexistence.

  • The Feed the Future Ethiopia Resilience in Pastoral Areas project targets pastoralist families and communities to promote the viability and resiliency of pastoralist communities through market development and improved natural resource management.

  • Through the Office of Transition Initiatives, USAID supports a peaceful and inclusive reform process that provides a pathway to a more democratic Ethiopia. USAID/OTI prioritizes flexibility to remain responsive to changes in Ethiopia and programmatic objectives will evolve accordingly. Current activities aim to support key reform-minded institutions and actors that advance tangible and immediate reform to better address citizen’s needs and identify and mitigate potential conflict triggers in key target regions which have the potential to destabilize the reform process.