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Early response and resilience investments: the case of drought in eastern Ethiopia in 2015–16

Research reports

Written by Simon Levine

Hero image description: Udma Aba walked 35 km to collect drinking water during drought in eastern Ethiopia in 2015 Image credit:UNICEF Ethiopia/Tesfaye Image license:CC-BY-NC-ND

In 2014 the UK Department for International Development (DFID) shifted to a multi-year humanitarian funding (MYHF) approach. With the introduction of longer funding timeframes, it was anticipated that there would be improvements in cost-efficiency, better preparedness and earlier response, better-quality programming, and the ability to address underlying causes of crises and help build resilience.

DFID also commissioned a thematic evaluation to investigate whether MYHF would help to build resilience, enhance early action and provide greater value for money. In July 2016, following the El Niño-associated drought in Ethiopia, DFID and USAID commissioned an additional study to understand whether early humanitarian aid and previous resilience funding had helped to avoid losses of lives and assets in the affected populations.

The study, detailed in this report, considers three key questions:

  • To what degree did delivering aid early help prevent loss of productive assets, indebtedness and other distress strategies?
  • How far had investments in building resilience helped people to cope better with crisis?
  • Was the flexibility of longer-term programmes effective in ensuring the delivery of earlier assistance?
Udma Aba walked 35 km to collect drinking water during drought in eastern Ethiopia in 2015
Simon Levine, Agata Kusnierek and Lewis Sida