Enhancing resilience to drought in Somali Region, Ethiopia
The 2015–16 El Niño drought in Ethiopia gave Mercy Corps an opportunity to evaluate interventions implemented under the USAID-funded Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME) project. The study Enhancing resilience to severe drought: what works? Evidence from Mercy Corps’ PRIME program in the Somali Region of Ethiopia (2017, 48pp) examines whether PRIME interventions since 2013 enabled households to recover, maintain or improve food security and wellbeing in the face of drought when compared with similar households in nearby areas not targeted by the project. The study focused on four heavily drought-affected districts in Fafan Zone in Somali Region. The results show that PRIME had a positive impact on wellbeing. In the months after the drought, households in PRIME communities were able to consume a more diverse diet, were less likely to be impoverished and generally had more household assets than non-targeted households as well as healthier and more productive herds. Depending on the intervention and shock type, benefits of project activities may be negligible at low drought intensity and overwhelmed completely at high drought intensity. The results lend support to the efficacy of multi-year, multi-sectoral approaches aimed at strengthening systems (markets, ecological, livelihood) that enable households and communities to respond and adapt to major shocks and stresses.