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A Healthy Start in Life

1,000 Days Determine the Rest of Our Lives

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are decisive. To enjoy a healthy physical and mental development, every child needs to receive sufficient nutrients from the beginning of pregnancy to the second year of life.

Malnourished Mothers Give Birth to Sickly Children

In many regions in Ethiopia, however, nutritious food is in short supply. Ninety-seven percent of children under two suffer from both inadequate quantities of food and an insufficiently nutritious diet. Because their mothers are malnourished, these children are born in a weakened state with little chance of catching up. As a result, nearly half of all children under five are physically underdeveloped for their age.

The climate crisis is increasingly causing the nutrition situation to deteriorate, with valuable harvests being destroyed by long droughts on the one hand and flooding on the other. The climate crisis is becoming a hunger crisis—including for Alemie’s young family.

Alemie’s Daughter Was Born Malnourished

The extreme hunger suffered by the family from the Amhara region left marks on Alemie’s daughter Ayana that will be visible for the rest of her life. She is much too small due to the malnutrition she suffered during her first 1,000 days.


“Ayana kept losing weight and was often ill, and we didn’t know why,” Alemie recalls. Together with her husband, she decided to take part in a programme led by Welthungerhilfe and its partners.

At the time, I did not yet know how important my diet during pregnancy would be for my daughter’s future. I was also unable to give her enough nutritious food during the first years of her life.

Alemie was able to significantly improve her life and that of her family. Her son Dereje now has the chance to enjoy a healthy childhood and good development from the very start.

Opportunities for the Whole Community

With drought-resistant seeds and agricultural training, the family is now better able to work its small parcel of land and harvest healthy vegetables. Having learnt how to raise chickens, Alemie can provide her children with the protein-rich food they need for a healthy development.


“Look how well Dereje is developing,” Alemie says as she holds her second child, a clearly healthy and active boy, in her arms. She explains how the whole community benefits and how many families are now better off. This gives everyone a lot of hope!

Sustainable Assistance for a Better Life

The needs of the communities and families are as diverse as the challenges they face. We work with the people in our project area in the Amhara region to develop individual aid packages that meet the needs the families face in their lives.

We provide support with animal husbandry

Protein plays a key role in a balanced diet. One way we meet this need is by offering mothers training in keeping poultry as well as young hens to start them off. The eggs are eaten and serve as a source of protein.

Washera sheep are well suited to regional conditions. We support sheep herders in raising these special animals, whose milk also contributes to a healthy diet.

Some of the seedlings produced through the project are used to create shade in community pastures, giving the animals a place to graze without the sun beating down on them.

We work together to support fruit and vegetable cultivation

We support families in efficiently working their gardens and fields by providing them with drought-resistant seeds and seedlings for cabbages, chard, carrots, or robust fruit trees. Through the harvest, the families acquire desperately needed nutrients that help them prevent malnutrition and underdevelopment in their children.

The seedlings are produced by young people as part of the project, enabling them to earn extra money to support themselves.

We ensure a sufficient water supply

Water is life! It is not only drinking water for the families but also crucial for their vegetables and livestock. Shallow wells make it easier for people to access safe water, which ultimately improves hygiene

We build and repair agricultural irrigation systems so that the fields can reliably get enough water. Whereas the farmers generally had one harvest per year without irrigation systems, good irrigation can let them bring in a second harvest or even a third one.

We organise cooking courses and provide instruction for nutrition trainers

In small group meetings, we talk about the importance of a balanced diet with pregnant women and nursing mothers. Together, we cook nutritious dishes using locally sourced produce, frequently grown by the participants themselves. The women can then make these dishes at home for their families.

The group meetings also address important matters of hygiene and how to use and treat the water from the rivers. We train actively involved mothers as health consultants so that they can share their knowledge with other families.

Together, we save up for larger investments

When vegetable or livestock farming produces more food than needed, the surplus is sold at the markets. This enables the families to earn additional income.

We work with the families to organise in savings groups and manage reserves together. Inflow and outflow are recorded in a family bank book, and larger investments can be funded by applying for credit from the group, for example allowing houses or solar arrays to be built.

Your contribution helps to prevent malnutrition in children

Your donation will make a difference

With your help, we were able to achieve a lot in 2022.

Why should I support Welthungerhilfe?

A life without hunger is a human right. Nevertheless, millions of people throughout the world are forced to go hungry. Together with our supporters, our goal is to achieve #ZeroHunger by 2030, as conceptualised by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

How does Welthungerhilfe work exactly?

Welthungerhilfe’s work is based on the principle of “help for self-help”. Our aid projects aim to enable people to provide for themselves sustainably and in the long term, with the ultimate goal of making our own activities superfluous. With the support of our donors, we work throughout the world to assist entire communities in building up their infrastructure, advancing their development, and creating a fair foundation for all people in a given region.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes! Amounts of up to EUR 300 are recognised by the German tax authority without a donation receipt and are tax deductible. An account statement is accepted as proof. 

For donations over EUR 300, the German tax authority requires an annual donation receipt, which we automatically issue at the beginning of the following year. In the event that you need a donation receipt earlier, please let us know.

How safe is donating online?

Donating via our online donation form is just as safe as online banking. Data transmissions are fully completely encrypted using SSL.

Will my donation reach its target?

We are as transparent as possible in using the donations we receive so that you can follow the path your donation takes. For more information, see What happens with your donation? and read our guidelines on transparency & quality, as well as our annual donation report.

Is Welthungerhilfe currently able to work in Ethiopia?

Conflicts are always likely to interfere with our work. This sometimes means that activities have to be temporarily suspended or even discontinued so as not to put people in danger. However, our fundamental mandate is to help people in need. And we will continue to do so in Ethiopia, security situation permitting.

Welthungerhilfe works in many crisis regions. This means that we always have to carefully assess the security situation everywhere and make sure that neither our staff nor our partner organizations and, above all, the people we work for are at risk. So wherever we work, including in Ethiopia, we assess the security situation closely.

What happens to my donation when project work in Ethiopia is suspended?

When you donate via this page, you support our work with a so-called "free donation". In this way, you allow funds to be used where it is most urgent. This avoids situations where only a certain country or a certain project is supported, which may have already received sufficient funding. You can read more about donations and transparency here: What happens with your donation?

If a donation has been made specifically for a country, project or emergency situation, then that donation will be used accordingly. If project work has to be put on hold due to conflict or high risk potential, donations are held until activities can continue.

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Bank Details

Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V.
Sparkasse KölnBonn
IBAN DE15 3705 0198 0000 0011 15

DZI Spendensiegel

Welthungerhilfe has been holding the DZI seal of approval for donations since 1992. The seal certifies that Welthungerhilfe is handling the funds entrusted to it efficiently and responsibly.