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Ethiopia: UNHCR Ethiopia Fact Sheet December 2018

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen

Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in Africa, sheltering 905,831 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of 31 August 2018.

Approximately 231,000 of all the refugees in Ethiopia, have gone through the comprehensive (L3) registration, helping to develop a system to better manage and assist refugees.

As a Cluster lead for Protection, CCCM and Shelter, UNHCR continues to be actively participating in the humanitarian response to the IDPs situation in Gedeo and West Guji, supporting the authorities with site management and the coordination of responses to protection needs. UNHCR is also providing emergency kits to the displaced people.

**Working with Partners ■ UNHCR's main government counterpart to ensure the protection of refugees in Ethiopia is the Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA). In addition, UNHCR works in close coordination with some 50 humanitarian partners and is part of the Humanitarian Country Team in Ethiopia, where refugee programmes are discussed strategically to ensure the needs of refugees are adequately presented and addressed across the UN System. UNHCR is also building on a well-established coordination fora, including the inter-sector Refugee Coordination Group, together with national and regional sector working groups. As part of the CRRF, UNHCR is furthering partnerships with line ministries, regional and local authorities, as well as development partners.

Main Activities


■ UNHCR Ethiopia has prepared action plans to mainstream the prevention of, mitigation and response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the different sectors including Education, Child Protection, Health and Nutrition,
WASH, Shelter and Energy.

■ In preparation for the roll-out of Community Based Complaints Mechanism (CBCM) for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) in 2019, CBCM action plans have already been developed for the camps in the Afar and Tirgay regions.

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■ The SGBV e-learning Level 1 online course has been introduced as a mandatory course to all UNHCR staff in Ethiopia.


■ A total of 806 refugee youth have been placed in different public universities during the 2018/19 academic year, 505 of them sponsored by the government of Ethiopia and 301 by the government of Germany under its DAFI scholarships programme. This is on top of the 2,300 refugee students who were enrolled in institutions of higher learning in Ethiopia in 2017/18 academic year.
Data for the 2018/19 primary and secondary school enrolment rate are still being compiled, but based on 2017/2018 reports, enrolment rates at the primary and secondary levels stood at 72% and 12%, respectively. Gaps in the provision of education include a lack of available classroom space and trained teachers, and scholastic materials, including books, libraries, ICT centres and laboratory facilities and supplies. The average teacher to student ratio is 1:80, with only 56% of teachers having formal qualifications to teach at the primary school level. Over 300 refugee teachers are currently enrolled in teachers’ training colleges and are expected to help address the shortage of qualified teachers upon graduation.


■ So far in 2018, a total of 938,644 persons have received consultations across the health facilities in refugee camps, including 12% from the host communities. No disease outbreak was reported from any of the refugee camps. The health facility utilization rate has remained within the normal limit of 1.1 consultations per refugee per year vis-a-vis the standard range of 1-4. The mortality rate in children under five remains low at 0.1/1000/month. A total of 5,728 patients were referred to higher health facilities outside the refugee camps for further diagnosis and treatment. Out of 16,197 live births, 15,735 (97.2%) were assisted by skilled birth attendants. A total of 44,209 refugees were tested and counselled for HIV.

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Food Security and Nutrition

■ The amount of general ration provided to refugees remained less than the minimum requirement of 2,100 Kcal per person per day, ranging from 1,737 Kcal in Gambella, Melkadida, Assosa and Jijiga to 1,920 Kcal in camps in the Afar and Tigray regions.
Annual nutrition surveys were conducted in 23 of the 26 refugee camps and the results showed that the global acute malnutrition (GAM) rate in 21 refugee camps is below the emergency threshold of 15%. Prevalence of anemia for children aged 6-59 months is below the emergency threshold (<40%) in 13 of the 23 camps. Interventions are being made to bring the malnutrition and anemia rates in the remaining camps to the minimum level.

Water and Sanitation

■ 12.5 million litres of water were supplied across the regions in Ethiopia hosting refugees, representing an average per capita distribution of 17 litres of water per person per day (lppd). 12 of the 26 refugee camps have achieved the minimum standard of 20 l/person/day. 19 of the 26 refugee camps have met the minimum standard of ‘maximum of 20 persons per latrine’ while 7 camps are still below the minimum standards.

Shelter and CRIs

■ A post distribution monitoring of the pilot cash based interventions (CBI) in camps around Jijiga indicated that cash is an appropriate assistance modality to refugees’ needs in Ethiopia and the preferred one too. The market response was good with no negative impact on the local economy, no reports of insecurity due to the CBI and no disruption of household and community social dynamics. The vouchers that were used to facilitate the purchase of essential aid items from the local market and the construction of improved shelters did not lead to entry of contra-bands into the market as only registered and licensed traders were contracted. Refugees said the CBI improved their purchasing power with reduced adoption of negative coping mechanisms to meet basic non-food needs. It also improved interactions between the local communities and the refugees, as demand of essential aid items in the local markets improved, leading to a positive impact on the local economy. The findings will inform the designing of programmes to expand CBI to other locations as well as to cover more aid items and services.

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Camp Coordination and Camp Management

■ UNHCR and ARRA work in close coordination with partners to ensure efficient and coordinated delivery of protection and assistance to refugees. Camp coordination meetings and technical working groups take place both at the zonal and camp levels.

Access to Energy

■ UNHCR continues to seek solutions to ensure refugees’ access to energy while strengthening environmental protection activities in and around refugee camps. Response to refugees’ cooking energy needs remains a largely unmet priority. In this regard, communal kitchens and other basic facilities in Sherkole, Aysaita, Barahle and Hitsats camps are being connected to the national electricity grid as part of a pilot initiative within the operation. 33 briquette carbonizers are in place in the five camps near Assosa, and two automated briquette producing machines (1 in Assosa and 1 in Aysaiata) are also installed to increase the production of charcoal briquettes.

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