Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations on earth with a multi-ethnic population and rich history. Sadly, it is also one of the world’s poorest. Thirty-eight percent of the population lives below the poverty line, with 12 million people chronically food insecure and dependent on food aid. Nearly half (44%) of children under five are stunted and about 29% of all children are under-weight. This is further exacerbated by poor access to clean water and vulnerability to extreme weather conditions, such as annual droughts and flooding. Ethiopians also suffer from a high disease burden. An estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV in Ethiopia, and some 10 million children have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, making them vulnerable to life on the streets and the dangers of human trafficking.


Since 2005, PCI Ethiopia has built a strong reputation for community-based, integrated health and development programming, with programmatic expertise in food and nutrition security; water and sanitation; livelihoods strengthening; prevention of human trafficking; HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on orphans and vulnerable children (OVC); women’s empowerment; maternal, newborn and child health; reproductive health; disaster risk reduction/ response; and capacity building of local organizations. PCI has experience working in six of the country’s nine regions and two administrative cities, with a continued and deepening presence in the highly vulnerable, Afar region. PCI is dedicated to equipping communities with knowledge and resources to improve their own livelihoods, as reflected by innovative program platforms such as its successful women’s social and economic empowerment model.


PCI’s U.S. Department of State-funded Hope for Women project (2007-2010) developed community and school based systems for protecting women’s equality and promoting gender awareness and respect, in addition to self-help methods for women’s economic empowerment. The project effectively increased girl’s school attendance by over 20%, engaged over 600 women in income-generating activities, and made strides toward changing male domination in Ethiopia’s Afar region.

  • Hope for Women reduced one of the most harmful traditional practices, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), by an astounding 90% in a small sample of participants in the intervention areas by mobilizing men, women, and religious leaders, and engaging them in being part of the solution to shift norms.

The project effectively empowered women to make decisions that affect their social and economic lives through an innovative self-help group approach called Women Empowered (WE). Women participating in these groups – which remain active today – have collectively saved over $150,000 of their own money, increased their self-esteem and sense of possibility for change in their own lives. Once established, WE groups become a sustainable, ongoing business and economic development platform that is entirely directed and administered by the women themselves, without outside management, resources or long-term external support. In addition to financial gain, group members report numerous other benefits, such as increased community leadership and greater self-sufficiency, as well as tangible benefits in reproductive, maternal and child health. Today, nearly 15,300 Ethiopian women are participating in independently operated WE groups from Addis Ababa to Afar, without any additional outside support, and based on the success of the model in Ethiopia, PCI has taken the model to scale worldwide.


In Ethiopia, coffee farming is the primary source of income for many rural households, which also have some of the lowest coverage of water access, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities and systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. In response, in collaboration with The Starbucks Foundation, PCI recently implemented the Sidama Coffee Farmers Health through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project. The project was designed to improve health outcomes of coffee farmers and their communities in the Sidama Zone of Ethiopia’s SNNPR Region. The project increased access to safe drinking water for 10,500 people and provided sanitation facilities to another 1,452. To promote long-term sustainability, the project assisted the Sidama Farmers Cooperative Union and its member farmers to improve resource management and organized 2,069 women coffee farmers into 108 WE groups under PCI’s successful economic and social empowerment model. To date these groups have collectively saved $23,423 dollars and have initiated over 1,642 small businesses.


With funding from USAID, PCI, together with three local partners, is implementing a three-year effort to support community-managed disaster risk reduction in the nine most vulnerable woredas of Bale Zone, Oromia Region, reaching total population of over 620,000. The project, known as Project REVIVE (REstoring VIbrant Villages and Environments) aims to increase vulnerable communities’ long-term resilience to climate-change and climate-related shocks through three strategic objectives: 1) Improved access to science and analysis for community- based DRR decision-making; 2) Improved household and community measures to adapt to climate variability, change and resulting shocks; 3) Enhanced community DRR and climate adaptation planning and processes integrated with, and supported through, the Government of Ethiopia and other resiliency initiatives. Building on the success of the WE Initiative in Ethiopia and around the world, PCI will use it as a central strategy to increase the resiliency and adaptability of households in the region.

The project is incorporating PCI’s promising “SAPARM” model to provide pastoralists and agro-pastoralists in the target woredas with critical information to inform decisions on where to migrate their herds in order to reduce potential livestock loss and mitigate the effects of climate change. PCI is currently scaling up the SAPARM initiative to other communities in Ethiopia and Tanzania and has garnered the financial support of additional public and private sector partners.

The Shepherd’s Eye in the Sky
Results from PCI’s USAID Development Innovation Ventures- funded SAPARM pilot project found that 78% of households used vegetation maps for migration decisions and a majority identified the maps as their most important information resource. Herd mortality dropped in the intervention community by 47% compared to the previous three years.

CURRENT FUNDING PARTNERS: U.S. Agency for International Development,, private investors


Ethiopia Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Resource Manual
English PDF (15 MB)  //  Amharic PDF (17 MB)

Download Ethiopia fact sheet.