Food Crisis Hits Horn of Africa

by Mercy Corps
Thank you for helping families survive the crisis
Thank you for helping families survive the crisis

In 2011, the most severe drought in 60 years hit the Horn of Africa and ignited a food crisis across the region that contributed to violent conflict and put the lives of more than 12.5 million people at risk. 

Persistent droughts destroyed crops across the region. Without food and water, animals became sick and many did not survive. This was especially concerning because most people are pastoralists who earn a living by selling the food and milk of their livestock or who rely on livestock to feed themselves.

With few alternatives, families needed to walk countless miles in search of water and food to fill their empty stomachs.  And a life of constant upheaval often pushed children to drop out of school for extended periods — many never returned. 

When you generously donated to Mercy Corps' Food Crisis Hits Horn of Africa project on GlobalGiving you helped us ramp up our relief and recovery efforts to reach hundreds of thousands of people. You saved lives and helped people gain the tools to transform their lives. You’ve made a real difference. 

Taiko, a mother from Ethiopia, worried about how she was going to feed her family and couldn't afford to keep her kids in school. Because of you, Taiko is able to take care of her family. And you helped give her children a chance to complete their education on scholarship. Taiko and her family are so thankful for your support.  

Together, we:

  • Treated malnourished children and provided health care to families.
  • Promoted peace by helping communities resolve disputes.
  • Helped farmers adapt to climate issues and protect their crops and livestock.
  • Provided vocational training and job opportunities so people could support their families.
  • Increased education, economic and civic participation opportunities for youth.

Mercy Corps continues to meet the needs of millions of people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya to ensure they thrive. However, we are retiring this project on GlobalGiving because we have received sufficient funds to implement the programs our team aims to achieve in the coming months. To learn about our current work in this region please visit the country pages our website: SomaliaEthiopia and Kenya

To continue saving and improving lives in the world's toughest places, please consider supporting our Help Mercy Corps Turn Crisis into Opportunity project on GlobalGiving. Thank you! 

You've helped give youth new opportunities!
You helped Taiko
You helped Taiko's daughter continue her education



2013 - what a year it has been!

As the year comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge the amazing work that you have accomplished in one of the world's toughest places.

You vaccinated nearly 850,000 cattle, sheep and goats, keeping them healthy enough to provide for over 45,000 families. You made families more resilient to future droughts and gave them the tools that will help them weather erratic rainfall.

And it is not too late to make more of an impact in 2013. You help women and children become less vulnerable to unpredictable weather and help improve the health of their livestock, to ensure they have the means to support themselves in the long-term.

On behalf of the families you help thrive in one of the world's toughest places - thank you.


In Gratitude,

Carlene Deits


Bambas, Ethiopia
Bambas, Ethiopia

Thank you for your support. Because you have put your caring into action, we are able to make a positive impact on families' lives in the Horn of Africa, helping over 1.9 million survive the hunger crisis and screening over 72,000 women and children for malnutrition this year. To show our appreciation, we'd like to share a video depicting the incredible work you and your fellow donors accomplish in the Horn of Africa and around the world.

See it here!

Together, we help people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve.

On behalf of the families you help survive in one of the world's toughest places - thank you.

With gratitude,
Carlene Deits
Baby Hawa Mumin held by her aunt Nima Hassan
Baby Hawa Mumin held by her aunt Nima Hassan

Part of Mercy Corps’ strategy is to ensure that all programs have long-term community impact. In Ethiopia, for example, we coordinate our integrated health and nutrition activities with the government ministries that deal with emergencies and health. This cooperation goes beyond just coordinating with the government; our mobile health teams each incorporate government staff to teach them practical skills for treating malnutrition in infants and mothers in remote areas of the region. Our goal is to ensure that government health facilities integrate the services provided by the mobile team into their routine health services, so that even when outside funding is no longer available, the benefits to communities will continue.

Through your support, we worked with Fardosa Aden (25 y.o.), a government health nurse at Afdam Woreda’s health and stabilization center. She completed her one month rotation with Mercy Corps’ mobile health team earlier this year and will be going back to work in the mother/child health unit at the clinic. She graduated in nursing in 2011 and has experience with midwifery, though she’d like to go back to school to complete a three-year degree. “I have always wanted to help people,” she says.

Because of you, Fardosa saved six month-old orphan Hawa Mumin taken to the center by her aunt Nima Hassan. Nima Hassan has four children of her own and is also taking care of baby Hawa’s seven other orphaned siblings. Hawa’s mother died in childbirth and her father passed away following a car accident.

A health post worker in Nima’s village Biki suggested she take the listless baby to the Mercy Corps’ mobile health team for help. The team examined the baby and diagnosed her with severe, acute malnourishment. Due to her deteriorated condition and lack of appetite, she was rushed to the government stabilization center where Fardosa works. Normally, an infant has her mother’s milk, in addition to a fortified milk product used to help them gain weight and absorb more nutrients. Without her mother’s milk, Fardosa and her team gave Hawa the fortified milk every two hours around the clock. Because of their diligence, Hawa is now smiling and eating again. “I’m feeling great pleasure when I see the baby now,” Fardosa says with a smile.

Thank you for joining Mercy Corps to work with government nurses like Fardosa who save lives every day. Because of you, baby Hawa is on the path to recovery.


With Gratitude,

Carlene Deits



Fardosa Aden
Fardosa Aden
Upper arm band used to check for malnutrition
Upper arm band used to check for malnutrition


Fatumo Ahmed
Fatumo Ahmed

Two years ago, the Horn of Africa experienced the worst drought in 60 years. There was no rainfall in southeastern Ethiopia and the land dried up across the entire region. 

But today there are signs of recovery. 

Pastures, previously cracked and barren, are slowly sprouting new growth and animals are grazing and growing stronger. We have been working in rural Ethiopia to make sure farmers and herding families have the resources they need to build back through their livestock, food stores and markets.

One woman, Fatumo Ahmed, relies on her camels to support her family. Camel milk, full of protein and nutrients, can last one month without refrigeration. Fatumo is able to keep her camels healthy and productive through the veterinary care and proper hygiene advice Mercy Corps provides. And with a better quality product, Fatumo can now take milk to a collection center in the village where she connects with market vendors who pay higher prices for the milk. 

Because of you, Fatumo and her fellow milk producers have something to celebrate after a long hardship of droughtListen to them singing at Mercy Corps’ local collection center last month.

Thank you for helping turn crisis into opportunity for the people of the Horn of Africa. It's ongoing support like yours that makes our work possible. 

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits

Fatumo's camels
Women celebrating at the milk collection center
Women celebrating at the milk collection center



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Organization Information

Mercy Corps

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Carlene Deits
Portland, OR United States

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