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close this bookEnvironmentally-Induced Population Displacements and Environmental Impacts Resulting from Mass Migrations (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) / Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR), 1996, 128 p.)
close this folderExtracts of Main Contributions
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Extracts from General Background Paper
View the document2. Extracts from Opening Speech
View the document3. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document4. Extracts from Statement
View the document5. Extracts from Introduction
View the document6. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document7. Extracts from Introduction
View the document8. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document9. Extracts from Case Study
View the document10. Extracts from Case Study
View the document11. Extracts from Introduction
View the document12. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document13. Extracts from Introduction
View the document14. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document15. Extracts from Case Study
View the document16. Extracts from Introduction
View the document17. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document18. Extracts from Case Study
View the document19. Extracts from Case Study
View the document20. Extracts from Presentation and Demonstration of “PEKO PE”
View the document21. Extracts from Case Study
View the document22. Extracts from Introduction
View the document23. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document24. Extracts from Background Paper
View the document25. Extracts from Closing Speech

10. Extracts from Case Study


Gebereyes Haile

Ethiopian economic history has been characterized by recurrent drought and famines. In particular during the last two decades, the country has suffered from a succession of drought which have led to shortages in food production, and a large number internally displaced persons. Although drought has been the major factor contributing to food shortages, various constraints in traditional agricultural systems, fragmented land holdings, high population pressure, massive land degradation in most parts of the country, shortage of capital and inadequate rural infrastructure have also been major obstacles to agricultural development, thus tying the country down to dependency on external food assistance. This situation was further compounded by the 17 years civil war which ended in 1991, and by effects of policies of the previous government. This combination of factors has contributed to the persistent shortfalls in food production and availability. However, Ethiopia has various resources with which it could break out of the vicious circle. Water is one, a very major one.

Besides channeling the required food to food shortage areas, food-for-work (FFW) programmes in Ethiopia have been highly successful in their contribution towards:

- development of physical assets, mainly in the form of soil and water conservation (SWC) and afforestation

- creating seasonal employment opportunities

- assisting raising the level of awareness of communities regarding environmentally related issues

Despite the achievements registered through FFW, there has been debate on its overall performance. The major issues of concern are related to the probable nature of its disincentive on agricultural production, the creation of dependency and changing food habits of communities. However, to date in Ethiopia there is no definite evidence to describe or back up such concerns. Rather in spite of these issues and concerns, food aid has been highly successful in the rehabilitation of degraded lands and creation of assets in various parts of the country. The case of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) for example could be an illustration of the strategy used by the few NGOs which were successful in linking emergency food aid to development in Ethiopia. Like some NGOs, making use of food aid for rehabilitation purposes, LWF’s FFW projects were born out of the transition from free hand outs in dealing with short term emergencies in the context of the 1984/85 famine to addressing longer term rehabilitation of degraded lands and creation of production oriented assets in various parts of the country. The FFW programme activities that have been implemented under LWF’s projects can be broadly classified into the following three categories:

Water supply

Construction of earth dams, small masonry darns, river diversions, spring development or rehabilitation of already existing structures to provide reliable water sources for domestic use, livestock and further extension of irrigation by the users.


Development of small scale irrigation schemes, downstream of the dams, river diversions and training farmers in proper land and water management techniques.

Soil conservation

Undertake soil conservation activities, to stabilize the soil upstream of the dam sites, and rehabilitate the degraded lands of the catchment area, which includes:

- construction of terraces and bunds
- construction of check dams, usually using gabions
- structures
- planting trees
- establishment of self sustaining tree nurseries
- creation of greater awareness of the proper utilization and conservation of natural
- resources, through training and demonstration

For the physical achievements that have been made to date see the table below. The achievements with use of FFW in terms of number of dams hectares irrigated, trees planted and terraces constructed, provide testimony of success in addressing some of the most serious problems of the assisted areas. Many of the communities have actually become economically self sufficient, and therefore, strongly motivated to maintain their new productive assets and the environmental protection measures on which these assets depend. Past relief and rehabilitation efforts and all those huge relief resources brought into the country have helped to save lives and create some tangible assets.

Activities accomplished by LWF with the help of food-for-work

Project Components


Earth dams


River diversions


Canals in km


Spring protection and development


Irrigable areas in hectares


Agricultural hand tools provided


Plow oxen provided


Seeds & fertilizer provided in MT


Trained farmers (SWC and related development aspects)


Beneficiaries of tap water


Beneficiaries of SWC


Community participation
Project initiation

The requests come from the communities, usually to the local Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Synod Offices and forwarded to LWF through the local government administrative structure

Technical study

Conducted together with the community representatives, BOA, District Administration and the Synod

Channel of communication

Peasant Association along with Women Councils (WCs) and the local administrative structure

Water Committee

Established at the commencement of the project. It is involved in planning and implementation. It takes over and manages completed projects.

Labour screening

WCs in dose cooperation with the respective local administration offices (PA, BOA, District Administration)

Taking over of projects

The project is handed over to the Women Councils through the local administration office. It is responsible for the management of the project after its take over.