Ethiopia is situated in Africa, and home to more than 90 million people, with many different ethnic groups, languages, and cultures. The population is predominantly rural, and dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. About 11.7 million smallholder households account for approximately 95% of Agricultural GDP and 85% of employment opportunity.

However, the effects of climate change are drastically impacting on this rural population that is almost entirely dependent on the land for their survival. Droughts, which are increasingly common, have devastating effects on household food security and poverty levels.

Thus, in order to survive the severe economic and environmental adversity these communities are faced with, immediate and effective climate action is needed. Vita currently operates in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) to provide sustainable and supportive solutions to this problem.

Our current projects include:

  • EU RESET (Resilience-Building in Ethiopia), 2017-2020:

This project, in collaboration with the EU, aims to implement a resilience-building programme that will have lasting results in reducing the poverty and vulnerability of the extreme poor. It will build the resilience of 12,000 pastoralist households through increased employment opportunities and better fodder distribution. These practices will naturally enhance the livelihoods and incomes of pastoral farmers in the South Omo region, and will go far in counteracting the devastating consequences of worsening environmental conditions.

  •   EU Cross-Border Transformation, Omo Delta Project, 2018-2021:

This project, targeting over 5,000 households and 45,000 people over a three year period, aims to improve economic and private sector development, which is integral in supporting and maintaining the unique traditions and culture of rural communities in Ethiopia. It will enable young people and women, with a focus on pastoral communities, to access finance and informal trade markets, thus increasing their employment opportunities and resilience. The project will also work on the much-needed rehabilitation of water structures, improve production and productivity of fisheries, and support disease surveillance systems for livestock.

  • EU BRACED (Building Resilience and Adaptation for Climate Extreme Drought) in Konso, 2017-2018:

This project aimed to diversify the income and livelihood for 1,500 households while also ensuring the active participation of local community in climate change mitigation and adaptation. This project also sought to reinforce local government and communities to promote sustainable systems to further counteract increasing environmental challenges in Konso, one of the area’s most vulnerable to climate variability and extreme weather events, such as erratic rainfall that frequently causes famine and drought.

  •   Irish Aid, (LEARN) Livelihood Enhancement Through Agriculture for Resilience Network Project, 2017-2021:

We are delighted to partner with Irish Aid for this project that seeks to enhance the livelihoods of 58,000 households through agriculture. The project will achieve this through initiatives such as supplying farmers with improved potato seed, enhancing crop improvement for potato and highland maize crops, and creating sustainable livelihoods with better vegetable and poultry production. Enabling access to clean water and fuel-efficient cookstoves will also help to increase community resilience and improve the quality of life for thousands of households.

  •  Irish Embassy, Improving smallholder livelihoods with climate smart agricultural and economic development, 2017-2019:

Over 10,600 households will be impacted by this programme which seeks to promote climate smart agriculture policy, approaches and practice in agricultural economic development. It will improve food and nutrition security and strengthen livelihoods for poorer households for whom a lack of access to quality seed for crop production and limited ability to adapt to climate change is resulting in malnutrition and economic instability.

Vita’s impact in Ethiopia includes:

•    Direct impact on livelihoods of over 35,000 people

•    Food security improved through tripling of potato productivity for thousands of farmers

•    First ever hybrid maize seed multiplication by a local farmers cooperative

•    Greater potato price stability due to household and cooperative seed storage

•    Increased capacity of farmer cooperatives for sustainable seed storage

•    Irrigation canals and flumes providing irrigation to over 500 farmers


Vita in Ethiopia:

Vita has been working in Ethiopia since 2005, particularly in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR). The SNNPR is one of the poorest regions of Ethiopia. The majority of the population is based in rural areas, and is heavily reliant on agriculture. Our work includes:

Improving Sanitation:

Through educating the population of the effects of poor sanitation practices, and providing the supplies needed to construct sanitation facilities, Vita is committed to Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Increasing Food Access and Incomes:

By supplying small groups of farmers with improved potato seeds and other agricultural inputs, such as fertiliser and extension services, Vita hope to increase households’ access to food and improved incomes. Alongside this, Vita also organises drip-irrigation projects, which save water and fertiliser by dripping them directly on to the roots.

Increasing Nutrition:

Vegetable seeds are also distributed alongside agricultural inputs and training in order for households to grow vegetables for consumption and sale. Vegetables contain many micronutrients required for a balanced diet. Additionally, they are often sought after in the market, and can help supplement household income.

Promoting Capacity Building and Scalability:

Wherever possible, Vita implements its projects in partnership with local government and community bodies. This approach creates ownership amongst the community, and promotes the long-term sustainability of the project. Ownership and sustainability of projects strongly enhance the likelihood that the project can be scaled up and replicated across the country, increasing the number of people that can be reached by one project.

Supporting Agricultural Research:

By partnering with farmer’s cooperatives, the International Potato Centre (CIP), Wageningen University, Teagasc and others, Vita aims to support research-led seed development. The majority of this agricultural research is taking place in the Ethiopian Potato Centre of Excellence, which Vita helped to establish.