COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Ethiopia

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Ethiopia

Last Updated: 02/12/2021

COVID-19, armed conflict, flooding and multiple locust invasions have created an extreme humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. Fighting began in the Tigray region in November 2020, blocking humanitarian aid and causing thousands of people to seek safety as refugees in Sudan. This conflict, like any conflict, is taking a toll on civilians and has caused a great deal of confusion on the ground.

Nationwide, families are struggling to earn a wage and obtain food because of the instability, the economic slowdown and the destruction of crops. Some areas are recording a 50% increase in hospitalizations due to severe acute malnutrition. The International Rescue Committee reported a forecast that 11 million Ethiopians will go hungry in the first half of 2021.

Child development centers in some regions are allowing children to return in small groups for activities and classes. In other regions, centers remain closed for safety. Staff members continue to make home visits and phone calls to families. They are diligently checking on children, looking for signs of abuse and providing trauma counseling as needed. Partner church staff members in Ethiopia have distributed nearly 821,000 food packs and 467,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to more than 34,000 individuals.

COVID response in Ethiopia

A Message From National Staff

How Is Compassion Currently Operating in Ethiopia?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Ethiopia, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

Centers are operating at a variety of capacities depending on their region. Some centers remain closed to group programs but staff members are making home visits and phone calls to children and caregivers. Other centers have been able to allow small group classes and activities. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute nearly 821,000 food packs and 467,000 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVIS response in Ethiopia

child reading IconStory From the Field

In Ethiopia, years of attending classes from elementary to high school culminate in the final, long-awaited National Exam week. For students about to graduate from high school, it is a big milestone — one that sets them up to realize their dreams, as it qualifies them for higher education.

For students like Fuad, COVID-19 disrupted the 12th grader's exam preparations when schools suddenly closed in mid-March — just two months before the exam week. With rumors flying that the exam might be canceled altogether, Fuad lost his motivation and hope.

“It was a very depressing time. I had given it everything. I was ready and well prepared to score a result that would qualify me to study my dream field, economics. Sadly, COVID-19 disrupted everything,” he says.

It was not just the disruption that dampened his spirit. Even if he wanted to keep studying, the inconvenience of his home environment and the inaccessibility of a library made it all too difficult for him to continue.

Thankfully, while the students were confined to their homes, the Compassion center was undertaking a project using Critical Care funds to furnish a new resource center at the project, one complete with a computer lab and reading materials. The center was finished just after the government announced a tentative exam schedule and students began studying again.

“I was surprised and extremely excited to see the new facility. The timing was simply perfect. I was worried about where I could go to study as the school library was not accessible. The fact that I can access previous exam papers is the highlight of this library because, it is impossible for me to access these anywhere, not even at school," says Fuad. "I feel privileged to have people who make sure I have everything I need to be successful."

How can I pray for Ethiopia?

Please pray for an end to the violence and that the needy will receive food and humanitarian aid. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Ethiopia
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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