Read caption Photo: Beate Simarud/NRC

NRC in Ethiopia

The refugee population continues to rise in Ethiopia with the war in South Sudan and a steady influx from Eritrea. NRC has provided assistance since 2011.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2020.


Humanitarian overview

Conflict, drought and flooding are the main causes of displacement in Ethiopia. Surrounded by a region in conflict, Ethiopia is Africa's second largest refugee hosting country, hosting 769,310 refugees. They are mainly from neighbouring South Sudan, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.

The refugee population continues to rise due to the war in South Sudan and a steady influx from Eritrea. There are 310,683 South Sudanese refugees who have crossed into Ethiopia's Gambella region since the war broke out in December 2013.

The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) at the end of July 2020 was 1.82 million (329,084 households), which makes Ethiopia the country with the highest number of IDPs in the world. The causes of the displacements include conflict (68%), drought (19%) and seasonal flooding (6%). The majority of displaced people are living in Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and Somali region. Those who are displaced struggle to rebuild their livelihoods.

People we helped in Ethiopia in 2020

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our shelter programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme

NRC's operation

NRC is present in six regions (Tigray, Oromia, SNNP, Benishangual Gumuz, Gambella, Somali region) and one city (Addis Ababa) in Ethiopia. We provide refugees and internally displaced people with emergency relief and help them to rebuild their lives.

NRC EducationEducation

We give children and youth a chance to return to formal schooling. Our education teams:

  • give quality education and catch-up classes to displacement-affected children and youth
  • train teachers
  • give literacy training to adults
  • distribute school materials
  • construct temporary learning spaces and distribute school materials in emergencies
  • provide vocational training where students receive professional certification in trades like hairdressing and carpentry

NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)

People affected by displacement often require assistance to interpret and navigate legal frameworks. We:

  • help people understand their obligations and entitlements during displacement
  • assist displaced people to access civil documentation
  • collaborate with government partners to ensure that the legal framework of the country serves to protect displaced people in the long term

NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security

We strive to improve peoples' living conditions and access to food and livelihoods. We:

  • give graduates from our vocational training courses business training and start-up packages that enable them to start their own businesses
  • help displaced people to access markets and market chains
  • distribute seeds and agricultural tools
  • give training sessions on food security and agricultural production

NRC Shelter and settlementsShelter and settlements

NRC is among the main shelter providers in refugee camps in Ethiopia and is present in several border areas. Our teams:

  • provide refugees and host communities with shelter
  • provide temporary and transitional shelters
  • distribute household items like cooking utensils and plastic sheeting
  • construct schools
  • provide shelter construction training

NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion

We improve access to safe and sufficient water and sanitation facilities and promote hygiene awareness. We:

  • facilitate access to clean water and latrines
  • construct and maintain water infrastructure, for example drilling boreholes
  • raise hygiene awareness
  • fight outbreaks of diarrhoea by providing chlorinated water for both people and livestock
  • distribute hygiene items like soap
  • provide water for agricultural production

Child protection (CP)

Due to the high number of unaccompanied Eritrean children in the refugee camps in Shire, northern Ethiopia, NRC runs a child protection programme. We:

  • identify care arrangements for the children
  • provide shelter and food
  • employ social workers and caregivers to support the children
  • refer children with special needs to specialised agencies
NRC Ethiopia is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • European Union
  • United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 
  • Swiss Secretariat for Migration (SEM)
  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
  • Wellsprings
  • Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • German Federal Foregin Office (GFFO)
  • Norad
  • Norwegian Embassy

About NRC in Ethiopia

International staff
Areas of operation
Addis Ababa (Country Office), Benishangul Gumuz, Somali Region, Oromia, SNNPR, Gambella, and Tigray.
Budget 2020
USD 22.5 million
National staff


Country Director

Sumananjali Mohanty


+251 116 619978/80