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Ethiopia is home to more than 90 million people speaking more than 80 languages. Sitting in East Africa, Ethiopia borders Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan to the west.

  • Population: 91,728,800
  • Life Expectancy: 63 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 49%
  • School Enrollment: 87%
  • Land Mass: 426,372 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 39%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 68/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 410

Facts about Ethiopia

Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies of the world with an annual growth of 10 percent on average for the last 10 consecutive years.

Youth make up more than half of the population of Ethiopia.

Recent droughts and declining natural resources have made poverty and food insecurity a common problem. The majority of Ethiopians work in agriculture.

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Progress in Ethiopia

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Trained mothers and health workers on ways to reduce malnutrition and supported health facilities to rehabilitate malnourished children.

  • Constructed health posts and supplied them with medicine and equipment, increasing access to essential health services.

  • Conducted malaria prevention campaigns and provided bed nets, sprayed households, and raised awareness on prevention.

  • Worked with local health partners to conduct immunization campaigns to vaccinate children under age 5 against preventable diseases.

  • Helped construct and rehabilitate water sources and trained water management committees, providing sustainable access to clean water for community members.

  • Educated school children on personal hygiene and sanitation, helping reduce the spread of disease.

  • Trained community members on improved methods of irrigation, farming, and livestock management to help improve household income and food security.

  • Provided farmers with improved varieties of seeds and heartier breeds of poultry and cattle, helping them increase their agricultural production.

  • Furnished classrooms with desks, blackboards, and books to improve the learning environment for children.

  • Raised community awareness on the importance of education for all children, including girls, orphans, and children with disabilities, and provided vulnerable children with schools supplies to allow them to stay in school.

  • Trained community members on savings and credit, and helped form cooperatives and linked them to microfinance institutions to support their ventures.

  • Provided training on income-generating activities and entrepreneurship, equipping people to increase their household incomes.

  • Worked with communities to strengthen early warning systems, helping better prepare them for emergency situations.

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    World Vision in Ethiopia Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Ethiopia to transform their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 63,600 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Ethiopia. Highlights include:

    • Providing those affected by floods with food, blankets, clothes, and medicine.
    • Improving access to healthcare.
    • Upgrading and expanding schools and providing educational support to children.
    • Improving access to clean drinking water.

    World Vision History in Ethiopia

    In 1971, World Vision began its first relief project in Ethiopia to help refugees from the civil war in Sudan. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

    • Drilling wells for villagers and their livestock and providing food aid for those affected by a severe drought during the 1970s.
    • Implementing famine relief operations during the 1980s, saving thousands of lives, and starting recovery programs in the 1980s and 1990s.
    • Introducing a program to reduce trachoma, a serious disease that causes blindness, for villagers in the Borkena Valley and raising HIV and AIDS awareness in the 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Ethiopia is home to more than 90 million people speaking more than 80 languages. Sitting in East Africa, Ethiopia borders Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan to the west.

    Varied landscapes fill the land, ranging from rugged highlands to dense forests to hot lowland plains. The slow drying of Africa’s Sahel region has increased droughts in eastern and northeastern Ethiopia.

    Although deforestation has hurt crop production, over 80 percent of Ethiopians work in agriculture. Major crops include coffee, potatoes, grain, sorghum, and castor beans. Natural resources consist of small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, natural gas, and hydropower.

    The second most populous country in Africa, Ethiopia has over 70 different people groups. In many areas, local dialects have replaced the official language of Amharic in primary school instruction. Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, and English also are spoken. The capital of Addis Ababa is home to the African Union headquarters.

    Most Ethiopians live in rural areas, many with their extended families in a clustered group of thatched huts. They sometimes refer to their cousins as “brother” or “sister” and to their aunts and uncles as “mother” and “father.”


    Unlike most African nations, Ethiopia was never a European colony. Ethiopia became a socialist state in 1974; in 1994, Ethiopians adopted a constitution and held the first multi-party elections a year later.

    Ethiopia suffered from the effects of severe economic troubles, civil war, and millions of displaced persons in the early 1980s. A succession of four devastating famines in that decade killed approximately 2 million people.

    A 2.5-year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. Voting irregularities in the 2005 parliamentary elections led to mass protests and more than 100 deaths.

    In 2006, Ethiopia sent troops into the neighboring country of Somalia to help restore order after Islamist conflicts. However, tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia continue.

    Ethiopians still experience a high level of food insecurity today after droughts in 2008 and 2009 and ongoing flooding.

    Prayer Requests for Ethiopia

    • For the health and strength of World Vision staff and their families in Ethiopia as they serve children in Jesus’ name.
    • For farmers to increase their crop yields, enabling them to better provide for their children.
    • For the countless Ethiopians and Somali refugees still in need of food assistance.
    • That adequate rain would water crops and livestock so families can recover from recent drought.