The Impact of Drought on Livelihoods, Vulnerability and Coping Mechanisms: the Case of North Shoa Zone, Oromiya

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Addis Ababa University


Agriculture is one of the sectors most vulnerable to drought impact. The impact is even stronger in Africa, where agriculture is truly important for the daily subsistence, and where adaptive capacity is low. Therefore, it is crucial to increase the understandings of the concerned body and local community in the continent in general and in Ethiopia for future most likely drought impacts. This study uses the North Shoa Zone in Ethiopia, as a case study and examines the trends of drought and its impact on livelihood in the region. It also answers the questions who is more vulnerable and why, what are the local and institutional coping strategies and what are the constraints that aggravate vulnerability. The study uses personal observation, structured and semi-structured interview to gather information from local people, government officials and experts, and secondary data from published and unpublished sources, and systematically analyzes this material both using qualitative and quantitative analysis. The result shows that drought increases from time to time in the zone even if there is variation between and among years and it challenges the livelihood of the whole region. To cope up with the impacts, societies use savings, migration, credits, selling own assets (who own asset) and on-farm and off-farm diversification as strategy. The coping mechanisms provided by institutions is very weak and at its early stage in the zone. And the coping mechanisms available in the zone are not equally important and practiced and are insufficient to cope with drought impacts. Thought all households in the zone are vulnerable to the disaster, the problem is more acute on the poor, women, large size family, children, old and disabled. Vulnerability is further aggravated by the decline in the fertility of land, landlessness, unemployment, unavailability and inability of most farmers to afford agricultural inputs, fertilizer and selected variety of crop. The study suggests a relentless need to address these challenges both from short and long-term policy perspectiv



North shoa zone, Oromiya region