2020 Full Report

January to December 2020 Activity Report:


Afar Pastoralist Development and Emergency Assistance Program: Afar Region




January to December 2020

Activity Report:

Afar Pastoralist Development and

Relief Assistance Program,

Afar Region


  1. Executive Summary

The APDA program continues to deliver an in depth and collaborative program with the Afar pastoralist community, working where government social services do not reach. The year has been challenged by the fact these remote area communities have been and continue to be severely affected by the multiple shocks endured in 2020. Drought – breaking rains from the 2018/19 drought did fall in August 2020 but this brought catastrophic floods sweeping away the homes and the livelihoods of 33,010 households (DPFSPCO report November 2020) and, along with the rain came the desert locusts. Since farms and livestock were swept away in the flood and the locusts came in total 3 times in 2020 destroying the grazing of other communities that were not flood – affected, in total there was a vast downturn in the food and livelihood security of the community that APDA serves. Finally, by November 4th 2020, fighting in Tigray drove tens of thousands of Tigrayans into the border woredas, the communities in those areas baring the lion’s share of burden to feed and support Tigray IDPs. Under the latter shock, the border and the hinterland markets suffered an immense blow that further extended the food insecurity. Overall, malnutrition in Afar Region greatly increased in remote areas challenging the APDA primary health program to reach these communities with limited resources.


With all these challenges, APDA increased its mobility in the hard to reach areas of the Region in the year, sustaining as far as possible a recovery/ development program. In fact, the organization joined the ToGETHER initiative aiming to improve effectiveness and timeliness in responding to disasters securing community – driven direction to recovery, development and peace through the principles of localization. With the organization experience in having such deep-rooted relationship to the communities, this is a familiar theme now shared with 5 other local organizations in Ethiopia and internationally, with 7 more disaster-prone countries. This implementation is leading APDA to be thoroughly self-assessing toward strengthening its ability to respond and interact with other NGOs.


APDA currently has emergency response programs in the north-western Tigray border woredas, in remote communities enduring devastating malnutrition and herd fatigue through locust pasture loss and among 2 communities threatened with death by thirst. Simultaneously, the organization is facilitating these communities to recover their resilience, going on to sustainable livelihood development. There are now 4 very successful irrigated horticultural sites linked to income generation through microfinance and marketing. A further project to rehabilitate highly damaged rangeland is newly underway and a further 3 are in the planning stage. On the Tigray border, while distributing essential household NFIs, the organization is starting the beneficiaries in sustainable marketing and income generation. The overall aim is to reduce food insecurity and develop Afar Regional productivity and marketing that has to date, not been apparent.

COVID – 19 affected the program as the pandemic did the Region. APDA worked on 2 projects deliberately to raise awareness to behavior change as well as making awareness on stopping the spread of the virus a crosscutting issue in all activities. Since APDA’s activities are conducted in open air, including education the actual field activities were not interrupted but caution taken in physical distance and hygiene measures. All training courses for community – level development workers were conducted in open air in their respective woredas and kebele sites.


The organization 35-bed maternity and gynecology hospital continues to serve the Afar women, a fistula surgeon visiting twice yearly, emergency obstetrics and gynecology as well as assisting treatment for chronic problems including FGM – inflicted and prolapsed uterus.


‘Gabat’ APDA’s social enterprise developed to support the organization’s overall program was slow to gain marketable contracts in 2020 but the idea that APDA should generate its own funds still follows with its 2019 – 2023 strategy plan. Overall, the organization has made slight inroads in regaining the funding lost in 2018/19 with the downturn in international funding for long-term development ventures as is needed in the Afar pastoralist society.


  1. Development program location and function


As of December 2020, the community development team comprised of 103 community health workers; 195 women extension workers and 77 community teachers program – funded and a further 60 ABE teachers that the government salaries in Zone 5. In all, the program implements in 218 community sites as summarized below:

Zone Woreda Program component
1 Eli Daar 4 sites of women’s empowerment
  Dubte 30 rural sites in 4 kebeles: 11 of mobile health, 30 of education sites and 29 women’s empowerment
  Garani 12 sites of mobile health, education and women’s empowerment
  Afambo 4 kebeles with mobile health services
  Mille 10 sites of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment
  ‘Adda’ar 8 sites of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment
  Kori 8 sites of women’s empowerment; 4 education sites
  Afambo 4 kebeles of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment
  Sifra 10 sites of mobile primary health; 19 sites of women’s empowerment; 2 education sites
2 Bidu 3 kebeles of CMAM support
  Erebti 10 sites with Afar literacy, mobile health workers and women extension
  Magaale 5 sites with Afar literacy, mobile health workers and women extension
3 Ami-Bara 7 sites of women’s empowerment; 10 government schools with gender clubs
  Hanruka 5 sites of women’s empowerment; 6 government schools with gender clubs
  Awash/ Fantale 7 government schools with gender clubs
  Gawwaani 7 kebeles of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment
  Gala’alu 12 sites of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment; 8 education sites
  Dullassa 10 sites of mobile primary health and women’s empowerment and Afar education sites; 3 kebeles with mobile primary health
4 Awra 2 sites of women’s empowerment; 2 education sites; 13 women extension sites
  Uwwa 12 mobile primary health and women’s empowerment and 7 sites of Afar education
  Teeru 6 sites of women’s empowerment and 12 of community mobile health
5 Tallalak 9 sites of Afar education supported by women’s empowerment
  Daali Fagi 11 sites of Afar education supported by women’s empowerment

The program continued as 5 implementing sectors throughout the year linked in the community and meeting together quarterly for reviewing and planning: Afar education and language development; primary health with the connecting maternal and gynecological hospital; girls and women’s empowerment; community economic development and livelihood rehabilitation. While APDA repeatedly responded to emergencies through the year, they were linked to the various 5 sectors, often health and livelihoods taking the lead.


  1. APDA’s current strategy: 2019 to 2023


In a process of facilitation with 4 partner – NGOs in 2018, APDA has launched a strategy based on sustainability and resilience as follows:

APDA’s strategic goal/ vision is:

  • Afar pastoralists have adequate opportunity to enjoy basic human rights and reach their full potential

APDA’s mission is empowering the Afar Society to achieve this vision

The target particularly considers women and youth


The societal goals APDA aims for are as follows:


  1. Opportunity of improved livelihood appropriate to their defined need is attainable for targeted Afar pastoralists
  2. Afar pastoralist females know and can exercise their basic human rights
  3. Afar pastoralist community leadership capable of directing social and economic change
  4. Development cooperation, government services and policies recognize and appreciate needs of Afar pastoralists


To achieve this, APDA has the following program goals:


  1. Improved access to basic social and economic services in geographically remote areas
  2. Food security for target communities achieved through integrated, nutrition-sensitive programming
  3. Target communities have increased resilience through their own leadership
  4. Development programming appropriate to Afar pastoralist lifestyle


In 2020, strategic staff took various leadership and project management short courses and the organization policies and manuals are being revised.


  1. Community Development Program Achievements


4.1 Afar literacy and alternative basic education

In the year, APDA’s education sector continued to be active in 4 areas:

  • Afar literacy taught using Dr Enid Parker’s primer books taking a person 6 months to master Afar reading, writing and basic numeracy
  • Alternative basic education (ABE) teaching beginning learning from level 1 to level 4 (level 4 was introduced in October 2018)
  • Hostel learning for children from remote settings where they have completed ABE that they can continue with the government learning
  • Writing, publishing and distribution of Afar books particularly for children’s learning

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