Seed Programs International (SPI) is continuing to partner with Grow East Africa (GEA) to improve food security and household income in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s (SNNP) region of Ethiopia. SPI has partnered with GEA since 2016 to support internally displaced families that fled their home due to intertribal conflict. 

The Horn of Africa, which includes Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia, is experiencing its longest and most severe drought on record. The drought is causing an increase in the number of internally displaced people, as families leave their homes to either find needed resources or escape conflict impacted by competition for the available resources.

This program initially started with a cooperative group of 50 women farmers in the Burji District to support growing vegetables and quinoa to supplement their existing staple crop of teff. The project experienced challenges, mainly from unpredictable precipitation. The region experienced long periods of drought, with occasional waterlogged soils due to intermittent heavy rain. Teff and quinoa crops were dependent on seasonal rain and largely failed or had decreased harvest compared to previous seasons. Drip irrigation was used to irrigate the vegetable crops. This system allowed the vegetable crops to flourish and provide the women with their primary source of income. The women farmers were also provided with training by two Meki horticulturalists. They helped the women adapt to project challenges and assisted the women in producing yearly increases in their vegetable harvest and sales. The success from the drip irrigation system and vegetables crops garnered support from Burji District government and helped the project expand to additional villages.

In 2022, the program expanded support to two additional villages within Burji District. The program is supporting 127 farming families which will use furrow irrigation from a nearby river that was recently dammed. The district government helped group the farmers for this project and distribute water resources. Unfortunately, 2022 again experienced severe drought and crop production was low. Participants are hopeful that they can plan water usage more adequately for the coming rainy season, which is again anticipated to produce lower than average rainfall. 

Grow East Africa has created a Go Fund Me to provide emergency aid to the region. They recently distributed grain and cooking oil to 500 households in two villages. They would like to support 8,424 additional households with funds raised for emergency aid.

Due to the current drought, Burji District is in crisis. The UN categorized Burji District as a High Drought Impact Zone in Ethiopia, and according to the Burji District Disaster Risk and Management Commission the statistics are dire. 83,528 people need urgent rescue assistance; 3,128 children are on the verge of starvation/death, 2,152 pregnant women are vulnerable to severe food shortage, and 11,533 livestock animals are dead due to starvation/dehydration.

How can you help? GlobalGiving is running a little by little campaign from April 3 – 7, where they will make a 50% match of all donations up to $50. This is a great way to increase the impact of your donation and we will use these donations to support the Grow East Africa project in Ethiopia. You can donate here to support his project. We are currently working with them to provide seeds that can grow in drought conditions and support water planning and resources.

Thank you for your support! If you want to make a larger donation or support in any other way, please contact our Programs and Partnerships Director, Georgia, at


Seed Programs International is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates globally.  

Our EIN/Tax ID is 56-2092576. Thank you for your support!

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