Photo by Petterik Wiggers for CRS

The Resilience through Enhanced Adaptation, Action-learning and Partnership Activity (REAAP) is a 3-year project led by Catholic Relief Services and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

REAAP works hand-in-hand with 100 Ethiopian farming communities in six vulnerable districts in Oromia state to design and implement action plans to decrease the risk of climate and related disasters, and to increase resilience to shocks when they occur.


Official name of the project: REAAP (Resilience through Enhanced Adaptation, Action-learning and Partnership Activity)

Project years: 2014-2017

Country: Ethiopia

Value of project: $6 million

Names of donors: USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Global Climate Change and Feed the Future Initiatives

CRS and the following partners: Ethiopian Catholic Church-Social Development Coordinating Office of Harar (ECC-SDCOH), Handicap International and Cordaid


The goal of REAAP is to encourage almost half a million people to implement risk-reducing actions to improve resilience to climate change. Through REAAP, the Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CM-DRR) process builds community knowledge and skills, highlighting the link and inter-dependence between livelihoods, food security, nutrition and natural resource management.

REAAP aims to create stronger families by helping them to become more economically secure, be able to buy food and pay for education, and overall better withstand the effect of climate change, drought and food shortages. But REAAP does not stop there. Strengthening families and their resilience also means addressing long-standing gender inequalities and violence against women.


Ethiopia is suffering its worst drought in 50 years. Coping with the effects of drought and climate change have become daily challenges for millions of Ethiopians. Prolonged drought, erratic rainfall and land degradation are posing challenges that have pushed people to the edge. This is especially true in several vulnerable districts in Oromia state.


With REAAP, community volunteers in six districts receive training and establish committees whose members design and put into action plans that decrease the risk of climate-related disaster. Communities learn to identify and address their risks and challenges—from land and soil degradation or financial instability, to a lack of water sources or poor nutrition. They select activities, create a plan and work together to implement manageable, sustainable and low-tech solutions.

  • Families and individuals—especially women—have improved their financial situation through Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILC), allowing them to buy food and livestock and to start small businesses for extra income.
  • Farmers yield more crops, even during long periods of drought, by using drought-tolerant seed and seedlings, and tools. Keyhole gardens—small, raised-bed gardens needing minimal amounts of water—provide nutritious vegetables even during drought.
  • Community members trained in health and nutrition teach mothers about breastfeeding. Families are learning how to incorporate vegetables and other healthy foods into their diets.
  • Communities conducted disaster risk assessments and coordinated regular planning, monitoring, evaluating and learning activities with community Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) facilitators.
  • Communities who have identified land and soil erosion as problems in their villages are building terraces on hillsides and working on reforestation projects. They are also using hand tools to dig wells and create community ponds to collect rainwater.
  • Trained community forecasters use national weather predictions and local data to estimate changes in weather and help their communities better plan their farming activities.
  • REAAP complements efforts by the Ethiopian government to lead climate change adaptation initiatives. It links community committees, partners and government branches that oversee food security, agricultural growth and disaster risk management.
  • The program empowers people with disabilities to participate in and benefit from resilience-focused activities. Local governments are starting to recruit people with disabilities for employment and are in the process of making government officers wheelchair accessible.


The targets for REAAP are:

  • 475,000 people served through risk-reduction activities
  • 95,000 rural households served
  • 12,000 people participating in Savings and Internal Lending Communities, or SILC, groups
  • 6,396 farmers using new technologies and practices
  • 4,840 people learning new skills
  • 190 institutions better able to address climate change


Transforming Lives in Ethiopia with Gardens and Savings

Communities of Action: Ensuring Water Access and Building Resilience

Expanding Community Participation in Ethiopia

Investing & Growing in Ethiopia: How Savings Groups Help Families During Drought


Praying for Rain in Ethiopia

Climate Change in Ethiopia: Counting Rains

Climate Change: Reducing Risks in Ethiopia