Ethiopia National Learning Conference

Project: Improved Early Warning Early Action EthiopiaLearning ProjectPublic Health Preparedness in GambellaShifting The PowerTalent Development 15th June 2017

Executive Summary


In the light of the growing impact of disasters and droughts, the Disasters and Emergencies Preparedness Programme (DEPP) began to operate in Ethiopia in 2015. Funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the DEPP is coordinated by the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) and Start Networks.

Implemented by consortia of grassroots non-governmental actors and lower level government structures, four DEPP projects operate in Ethiopia: Shifting the Power, which focuses on the localization of NGOs in Ethiopia; Public Health Disaster Preparedness in Gambella; the Early Warning Project by Oxfam GB; and the Talent Development Project.


As an integral part of the ongoing efforts to reduce and mitigate the impact of disasters and droughts, research and practices have been executed at varying scales. The main objective of the learning conference is for projects to share learning on their experiences and to access evidence-based lessons shared between humanitarian actors. Results are expected to include the promotion of the best lessons and a common agenda for mutual intervention.


The DEPP Theory of Change (ToC) is the guiding principle for DEPP actors’ research and learning practices. It served as a springboard from which humanitarian actors could explore what does and does not work in building humanitarian capacity at scale. The perspectives from the ToC were complemented by government policies, strategies and regulatory frameworks on Disaster Risk Management (DRM). With the backdrop of these dsc_0644two perspectives, humanitarian actors shared their lessons learned and field assessments with over 90 participants at the learning workshop. Presentations, illustrations, mini-group exercises and plenary discussions were all used throughout the learning workshop to share learning in a dynamic and engaging way. There were seven presentation-based sessions in total; four in the morning and three in the afternoon.

Key Lessons

Several key lessons were shared by participants of the learning workshop. The following list summarises the most common areas in which lessons were shared:

The shift from fragmented disaster responses or mitigation to the institutionalisation of early warning systems by humanitarian actors;
The need to reinforce the collaborative, supervisory and coordinating role of government institutions;
Strengthening the capacity of local NGOs in the localization of humanitarian aid;
The indispensability of local, national and international platforms that are active and effective;
Building the capacity of local communities during the implementation of DEPP projects in various ways;
Application and use of local knowledge and customised advanced technologies for sharing and using information;
Appreciation and refining of collaborative research by diverse actors;
Expanding the DEPP’s scope and coverage of districts, led by government initiatives; and
Translation of DEPP activities to be more accessible and practicable among community members.
Way Forward and Action Areas

Three core issues were identified as a common agenda for DEPP actors in Ethiopia:

Strong and effective collaboration and network among humanitarian actors is crucial. The DEPP will be a platform to promote evidence based best experiences, and to minimize duplication.
The use of rigorous and accurate information across all actors, including the community, is very important. Relevant government bodies, INGOs and local NGOs are responsible for improving the quality and speed of humanitarian response.
The sustainability of projects working on DRM and early warning systems in Ethiopia is another critical factor. Broad programmes with heavy investment should not be forced to finish as the project phases out. Learning platforms should be used to promote sustainability among key actors and other interventions that would support the continuing programme; both in government and the community.


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