March 01, 2021

When hunger worsened, critical food support stabilized this rural community

Author: Glimmer
People standing in a long line

Line for emergency food support forms in the Kerayu kebele.

Across Ethiopia, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to increase hunger, especially for the most vulnerable in rural areas. As local food prices escalated and markets remained closed, the pandemic’s ongoing impact in rural villages was compounded by loss of crops due to locust swarms, drought and flooding.

In Oda Bultum, a remote community where we recently began work, many families struggled with malnutrition and hunger before the pandemic. When the pandemic hit in 2020, followed by a locust infestation in the area, the need for food worsened and we shifted to provide emergency food support. As the community began to stabilize, we restarted our agriculture loans and trainings to support families in growing more of their own food and increasing household income. Thanks to our partnership with the Helmsley Charitable Trust, families and children of Oda Bultum received critical food supplies when it was needed most.

Women holding cards

The food relief in Oda Bultum provided nutrition support for pregnant women.

Woman standing with a large sack
“Things were hard with Covid and it got worse when the locusts came. The support helped me a lot. My children are well fed, and my husband does not have to work as a day laborer elsewhere, he is able to plow our land.”
Women receiving food items

Food items distributed included oils, maize and pulse.

Man standing with a large sack
“The locusts completely damaged our land and harvest. To survive the hard times, I had to travel to another woreda to work on someone else’s farm. I am very thankful for the support. It saved me and my children from starvation.”
People sitting together outside

Before Covid-19 and the locust swarms, Oda Bultum was identified as one of the most food-insecure areas in the region.

Woman standing with a large sack
“After locust infestation, my husband had to work as a day laborer. Then when Covid spread, he was not able to continue. We were praying for our survival. When we received support, we were very excited.”
Women sitting together with food items

Community gathers for food distribution.

Woman smiling
“I am very happy for the support, I have food to eat and I was also able to use maize as seed for my land. If we hadn’t received this support, we would have died because we don’t have anyone to turn to.”
Two women