Tigray: tending to a troubled region

Development and Peace — Caritas Canada is supporting an emergency project to bring much-needed aid to nearly 187,000 people affected by conflict in Ethiopia.

The fighting between federal troops and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front that began in November 2020 has precipitated a humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that over 61,000 people have fled to neighbouring Sudan and 1.3 million will need aid.

Displacement has cut off thousands from their livelihoods. Healthcare availability has been drastically curtailed and nearly a fourth of the population is severely malnourished. Harvest and market disruptions are increasing the risk of food insecurity. The World Food Programme estimates that up to 3 million people in the region require emergency food assistance.

A robust, rounded response

Development and Peace is helping fund a Caritas Ethiopia project that is responding to this crisis. The one-year project will run in 16 woredas (districts) directly affected by the war in Tigray and an additional seven woredas in the states of Benishangul-Gumuz and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region that are affected by intercommunal conflict.

To improve living conditions, restore livelihoods and promote peace, the project will pursue the following targets:

  • While destroyed waterworks are rebuilt, water will be trucked to 9,700 people. Damaged waterworks that serve 16,705 households in eight woredas and two refugee camps will be repaired.
  • A one-off cash transfer will be given to 4,802 of the poorest families.
  • To facilitate handwashing, 1,500 dozen soap bars will be distributed to 15,000 people in 15 woredas. Each community will also receive a 5,000-litre communal water tank. Additionally, jerrycans and buckets will be provided to 1,575 families.
  • Nutritional supplements will be distributed to 15,000 malnourished children.
  • Nearly 250 tons of locally bought sorghum seed will be distributed to 16,644 households for sowing and pairs of goats and sheep will be provided to 4,985 households.
  • Elders and religious leaders in war- and conflict-hit areas will be engaged in a peace and reconciliation forum for inter-ethnic dialogue on coexistence and tolerance.

These measures will target a total of 186,798 individuals in 37,360 households. Emphasis will be laid on targeting the most vulnerable displaced people, including women-headed households.

How you can help the people of Tigray and Ethiopia

Canadians can help the people of Tigray and Ethiopia by donating to help make this ambitious project a success. Your solidarity and generosity make real difference in the lives of thousands of displaced people.


to help bring relief to conflict-hit people in Ethiopia.

By Dominique Godbout, Programs Officer, Humanitarian Assistance

Women are closely involved in determining the design priorities for shelters in the Rohingya refugee camps.

It has now been four years since the beginning of the massive influx of Rohingya refugees from Burma (Myanmar) into Bangladesh. Four years that Caritas Bangladesh, through its Emergency Response Program, has been working tirelessly to respond to the critical needs of the Rohingya women, girls, boys and men who live in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.

Since 2017, too, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada, with support from thousands of Canadians and Global Affairs Canada, has been helping Caritas Bangladesh provide dignified and safe shelters to families in congested and disaster-prone camps.

Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy drove our commitment to ensuring that the shelters meet the specific needs of those who spend the most time in them: women, adolescent girls and other vulnerable groups. This meant that shelters had to be made of durable materials; be well ventilated; and have safe cooking and bathing spaces, room partitions for increased privacy, and locks for safety.

Caritas Bangladesh’s gender-sensitive, community-led approach to shelter rehabilitation and construction has had meaningful impacts on the community, especially for women, girls and vulnerable groups. Female participants have gained the confidence to voice their needs and participate in making decisions about upgrades to their shelters. They have also become skilled, knowledgeable, and self-reliant with respect to shelter rehabilitation/construction. Their use of these new skills and capacities has also led to greater community cohesion and pride. Women also feel a greater sense of security and confidence in their shelters’ ability to withstand recurring extreme weather events. Caritas Bangladesh is helping Rohingya women develop shelter planning, construction and maintenance skills.

Caritas Bangladesh is helping Rohingya women develop shelter planning, construction and maintenance skills.

In the past year, fires, floods, cyclones and the COVID-19 pandemic have caused several setbacks in the delivery of the humanitarian response. This has had adverse impacts on the safety and well-being of the refugees, especially those from the most vulnerable households. These difficulties notwithstanding, Development and Peace remains committed to supporting Caritas Bangladesh’s sustained effort to secure the dignity of the Rohingya people and improve their prospects.