Climate information services in Ethiopia – A key resilience capacity for households & businesses

woman holding bullhorn
Gisti spreads the latest climate information to community members in her village, Afar Region, Ethiopia.
09 January 2024

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Climate change is wreaking havoc on livelihoods and food security outcomes in the lowlands of Ethiopia. Timely access to climate information services (CIS) can play a key role in enabling producers to manage their livelihoods in the face of uncertainty and mitigate the impact of shocks, but these systems are largely absent in the lowlands. To address this, the Mercy Corps-led RIPA-North programme is working to foster locally driven services for climate and early warning information. By working with government and the private sector to catalyse sustainable, accessible and audience-appropriate climate information systems, the aim is for households and businesses to access and utilise timely and accurate information to make decisions and take action.

Key achievements and indicators of success:

  • 90% of government offices actively disseminated advisories to communities.

  • 327,000 individuals received climate advisories through government channels.

  • 8,000 households received climate advisories from the private sector.

  • 31% of HHs in RIPA-North areas accessed CIS in 2023 compared with 11% of HHs in 2021.
  • 77% of HHs used climate information to take action.
  • 89% of agribusinesses access climate information.

 Lessons learnt and recommendations:

  • Access to climate information services is a crucial resilience capacity for lowland households – households will take action if they receive and understand it.

  • The packaging of CIS / EW into messages and language that are appropriate for target households is crucial for success in triggering actions by households.

  • Government ownership of the climate information systems that RIPA-North has fostered is strong, but there are still question marks about sustainability, in particular funding of the PSP workshops. It’s crucial that government budgets for these in their annual plans.

  • The private sector can play a valuable role in dissemination of climate information services, but more data needs to be gathered on whether digital channels result in action by households

  • Business access to CIS is nascent, but extremely promising. RIPA-North should work to expand and create a robust system fully linked to government systems.

  • At present there are no signs that the government is independently self-replicating the model in new woredas and zones. This scale-up should be a focus for RIPA-North.