Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world and remains challenged by the need to create economic opportunities for its fast-growing population. Community conflicts and extreme climate conditions have resulted in large scale forced internal displacement (more than 3 million persons displaced in 2019). Over last years, due to political instability and escalating conflicts in neighbouring countries (e.g. Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan) hundred thousands refugees have taken refuge in Ethiopia.

Open-door policy for refugees

Ethiopia is a country of destination, transit and origin for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and hosts one of the largest refugee population in Africa. As of September 2020, 792,030 refugees have been registered by UNHCR, nearly half of them coming from South Sudan. Yet, many refugees have been living in Ethiopia for protracted periods and, in some cases, for over twenty years.

Ethiopia maintains an open-door policy for refugee inflows into the country and allows humanitarian access and protection to those seeking asylum in its territory.

Nearly 99% of refugees are required to live in camps or settlements with limited job and livelihood opportunities. Some refugees only are permitted to reside in urban areas for medical protection and humanitarian reasons.

Finnish Refugee Council in Ethiopia

Through its work, FRC will aim at empowering target groups – i.e. refugees (in and out of camps) and host communities – by the access to functional literacy and technical skills adequate to the context where they live to positively transform their lives.

FRC got registered in Ethiopia in June 2019 and set up its country office in August 2020. FRC first project started in September 2020 in Gambella Region, which is located in the South West of the country, borders South Sudan and hosts more than 350,000 South Sudanese refugees in 7 camps.

The realization of the right to education, at the centre of FRC’s strategy, appears to be particularly relevant for South Sudanese refugees, considering the exceptionally high illiteracy rate among them; the literacy rate in South Sudan is the third lowest in the world, 27% only (female literacy rate being 16%, and male 40%).

Kuvassa on Suomen Pakolaisavun logolla varustettu ajoneuvo ja sen ympärillä paikallisia ihmisiä Etiopiassa.

Finnish Refugee Council is committed to supporting the realization of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in all its projects. Read more about the SDG’s that guide our work and activities.


Project Summaries

Inclusive Functional Education and Livelihoods Programme for Refugees in Ethiopia 2022-2025 

The project aims at ensuring access to Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) and English for Adults (EFA) for vulnerable refugees and host community members. Functional literacy is expected to bring about positive effects on targeted learners, especially empowering targeted women and PWDs. FRC intervention targets Jewi, Kule, Tierkidi, Ngunyuyel refugee camps and host communities in Gambella Regional State, which hosts South Sudanese refugees. Basic literacy course is organized in the students’ own mother tongue, which provides the best potential for learning. The overall estimated number of adults attending the FAL and EFA courses is 8,000. Besides, at least 280 peer literacy facilitators, selected from target communities, will be trained to manage the courses. 20% of the learners are from host communities and 80% from refugee communities. 

Livelihood support include financial and business skills trainings, and practical, employable skills trainings, such as IT skills trainings, for refugee populations in Gambella and Addis Ababa City. 2600 individuals are planned to directly benefit from the livelihood activities. 

Budget: EUR 1,873,000
Duration: 4 years
Start date: 1.1.2022-31.12.2025 
Type/Sector: Development cooperation/Livelihoods and Functional Adult Literacy
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland – Unit for Civil Society

SDG logo with text: Quality education
SDG logo with text: 8 Decent work and economic growth
SDG logo with text: 16 Peace, justice and strong insitutions

Emergency Support to IDPs and Returnees in South Wollo, Amhara, Northern Ethiopia 

The project aims at addressing the humanitarian needs of the population displaced by the ongoing conflict in Northern Ethiopia. Multi-sector emergency support and protection services are provided to at least 30,000 Internally Displaced Persons in 4 districts of South Wollo Zone, Amhara Region: 1) cash for rent for households, 2) distribution of Emergency Shelter (ES) and Non-Food Items (NFI) relief Kits, 3) increase access to safe water for domestic purposes 4) awareness raising on best hygiene practices and 5) Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and mitigation response, including dignity kit distribution (for 320 women and girls of reproductive age), mapping of referral services for GBV survivors, and awareness raising targeting both men and women. 

The project is jointly implemented with FRC and Action for the Needy Ethiopia (ANE). 

Budget: EUR 554,500 
Duration: 1 year 
Start date: 1st of April 2022  
Type/Sector: Humanitarian assistance/Multi-sectoral  
Donor: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland – Humanitarian office 

Integrated Protection and Livelihood Opportunities for Refugee Response in Gambella Camps of Ethiopia  

Targeting refugee and host communities in Gambella region the project aims at: 

  1. mitigating protection risks and ensuring access to essential and life-saving services; 
  2. enhancing the engagement of adolescents and youth in peace building initiatives; 
  3. Increasing access to income and livelihoods opportunities. 

Under the lead of the Danish Refugees Council (DRC), the project is co-implemented by DRC, FRC, Center for Victims of Torture, and Humanity and Inclusion. FRC provides Functional Adult Literacy and Financial Literacy trainings to improve participants’ ability to handle cash and do basic financial planning and savings. 2,500 learners of whom 70% are women will be targeted. At least 100 peer facilitators from the refugee and host communities are trained to manage the courses.  

Budget: USD 765,500 
Duration: 3 years 
Start date: 1st of August 2022
Type/Sector: Development cooperation/ Functional Adult Literacy & Financial Literacy
Donor: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration

SDG logo with text: Quality education
SDG logo with text: 8 Decent work and economic growth
SDG logo with text: 16 Peace, justice and strong insitutions
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, With support from Finland's development cooperation