Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia        

Contact information
HFH Ethiopia
Box 8953
Addis Ababa
Phone: +251 1563181
Fax: +251 111570133
E-mail: habitat@ethionet.et         Web site www.habitat.org.et          
Number of families served this year*: 492     Full house sponsorship cost: US$2,470        

Country profile:   Why Habitat is needed in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is probably best known for its regular bouts of drought and famine and conflict with neighboring Eritrea. Political turmoil and internal fighting have added to the lethal combination of factors that caused millions to starve to death during the 1970s and 1980s.

Even now, Ethiopia is one of the ten poorest nations in the world. Over half of the population is illiterate. In spite of its arid climate, the economy relies heavily on agriculture, and the country is one of Africa’s leading coffee producers. However, many Ethiopians still depend on food aid.  Almost 85 percent of houses in Ethiopia are made of mud and stick or thatch walls, which collapse easily. Homes are often cramped, with dirt floors, leaking roofs and no windows or doors, leaving occupants vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, insects and rodents. Poor ventilation for inside cooking fires is a common cause of respiratory problems. Moreover, a staggering 90 percent of the population has no access to decent sanitation facilities, and 73 percent of the population does not have safe drinking water, causing disease to run rampant.

Substandard housing not only has an adverse effect on health, but also on education, job performance and overall quality of life. Most families living in such conditions have little chance of improving their situations without assistance, and life is a daily battle for most.

How Habitat helps

Habitat for Humanity Ethiopia began construction in 1993 and has since expanded to build houses in 11 communities. Most houses are in urban and semi-urban areas within a 250-mile radius of the capital city, Addis Ababa. HFHE has attempted to integrate its operations with those of community-based organizations to be more effective in its work.HFHE’s houses vary from 22 to 36 square meters in size and are built from a number of different materials, including stabilized earth blocks, hollow concrete blocks and fired bricks. HFHE also constructs improved traditional style "chika” houses, which are built mostly of wood, soil, sand and stone. These are very popular because they are the most affordable and are quick and easy to build. All houses have a latrine in a separate block and are built in such a manner that families can add further rooms in the future.


In one initiative in its Dessie affiliate, HFHE has focused its assistance on a particularly disadvantaged and marginalized group: ex-leprosy patients. Several former patients and their families have been integrated into a "Habitat village” of homes. This ongoing project has not only provided decent housing to many people; it has also opened up income-generating and other opportunities for many in these communities.

Facts about Ethiopia

Location: Northeast Africa
Population: 73.8 million
Languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromo, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages and English
Climate: Tropical monsoons with topographic variations
Religions: Christianity, Islam
Government: Federal republic
Economy: Industries include food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metal processing, cement, coffee, beeswax and sugarcane

*Number of families served includes families benefiting from new houses, rehabilitations, repairs, and technical, finance and other services in the year to June 30.

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