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

Economic Development

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.

Child Protection

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

Food & Agriculture

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 2014.

  • Demonstrating Christ’s love through our actions, we worked among children and families to promote peace and justice and encourage understanding.

  • To help ensure that children's rights are protected, we raised awareness of harmful traditional practices among community members, local government officials, and child protection committees.

  • Communities are more prepared to respond to natural disasters after training in early warning systems and disaster management. In many areas, we helped communities develop disaster preparedness plans.

  • Community members, including women and unemployed youth, were equipped to earn a living through training in business skills, entrepreneurship, and trade skills such as pottery, masonry, and poultry production.

  • We promoted microfinance activities by organizing and training savings groups and by connecting individuals and groups with local microfinance institutions so they could access credit.

  • Children enjoyed improved learning environments thanks to new classrooms, desks, tables, books, and other instructional materials provided to local schools.

  • Through our community-based Literacy Boost program, children had the opportunity to attend reading camps. We promoted literacy in the community, trained camp facilitators, and stocked the camps with books.

  • Teachers participated in professional development courses to strengthen the quality of education.

  • Community members became more involved in improving education through school management committees and Parent Teacher Associations trained by World Vision.

  • Farmers learned modern farming methods and received improved seed varieties to help them grow more food for children.

  • To increase livestock productivity, we trained farmers in animal husbandry, provided livestock to vulnerable households, and built veterinary facilities.

  • We helped community members build irrigation canals and other irrigation structures and taught farmers how to use and maintain them.

  • Health workers and caregivers were educated on child nutrition through training in infant and young child feeding practices and food preparation demonstrations.

  • To improve children's access to quality healthcare services, we equipped health facilities with medicine, equipment, and in some cases, structures such as a waiting room and maternity ward.

  • Community members learned how to prevent and treat common childhood illnesses, including pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and malaria.

  • Community care coalitions continued to offer support and care for orphans and vulnerable children and people living with HIV or AIDS.

  • Health campaigns targeted at mothers, traditional birth assistants, and healthcare workers helped promote prenatal care, newborn care, and the importance of giving birth with a skilled attendant.

  • Young people and adults learned about HIV prevention through awareness campaigns, school sessions, and education on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

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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

    • Please pray for health and strength for children and their families.
    • Pray also for wisdom, grace, and spiritual discernment for World Vision staff in Ethiopia as we design a strategic plan for the next five years.