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Ethiopia: Resources running dry

Jeneti is a 25 year-old mother of a four month old boy and a three year old girl living in Ethiopia. Lower than usual rainfalls have caused extreme and widespread drought throughout the country. More than 10 million people are already in need of food assistance according to the government and the UN.

“This is the worst drought I have experienced,” says Jeneti. “For my family, the biggest problem is that I have to spend most of the day walking to get water. I get up early in the morning and come home in the evening – and then I start cooking. I leave both children with a neighbouring family. When I come back, my four months old son is always crying. I began suspecting it was a problem with malnutrition and contacted the local health worker. She concluded that it was I who was suffering from malnutrition.”

Jeneti is fortunate to be part of a “Mother-to-Mother” group set up by CARE in collaboration with government health services in the East Hararghe district of Ethiopia. The members are particularly vulnerable mothers with children under the age of five. CARE experts provide practical information on how best to use available resources to keep children healthy and members share tips with each other on how to cope with the effects of drought.

“I received nutrition support from the local government and joined this group with other mothers. I feel this group has opened my eyes. I have learned how to feed and clean my child to keep it healthy. Now I know how much of the different kinds of food I need to eat and what the child will need once it is six months old and I stop breastfeeding.”

In collaboration with the Ethiopian government and support from several institutional donors, CARE has currently reached more than 600,000 people in Ethiopia and plans to assist up to 1.1 million people in the coming months. Along with emergency food distribution, CARE is providing clean water and helping vulnerable communities strengthen their resilience to future crises.

Despite support from CARE and other organizations, mothers across Ethiopia are continuing to struggle to feed their families as resources diminish and the drought persists.

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