SOS Children’s Village Gode is located in the Somali province in the southeastern part of Ethiopia. Around five million people live here. Many of these families have been displaced by political unrest or natural disasters.
The climate here is unforgiving: dry periods tend to be long and particularly severe. If harvests are destroyed, this leads to crisis for families who survive off small plots of land.
In general, life for children is improving in Ethiopia, but the Somali region and the city of Gode still have catching up to do. Around 36% of children live in poverty, and about 25% of the population cannot afford nutritious food. As a result, the under-five mortality rate in the region is the highest in the country.
Since 2004, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Gode.
In spite of great improvements, over 22% of the populations still lives in poverty. Poverty affects parents and children in many different ways. It may mean that families do not have safe living conditions: for example, 73% of the population lack access to safe drinking water. This is no surprise since as high as 57% practice open defecation, a practice that easily contaminates water sources, resulting in few possibilities for proper sanitation.
Poverty can also mean high levels of malnutrition and limited access to healthcare. Pregnant women and young children are especially at risk.
Somali region is an agricultural region that is often affected by natural disasters. The majority of families tend to small plots of land where they grow food. At the best of times, this is often not enough to feed the household. But when a natural disaster strikes, many families are left in dire straits.
Natural disasters are increasing in number and in severity. The 2018 floods destroyed homes, farmland and schools. The floods also increased the risks of malaria and cholera spreading. This can lead to deaths due to the lack of medical care in the region.