In the remote community of Gobablay, Shinile zone – and in the rest of eastern Ethiopia’s Somali Region – the rain normally starts at the end of March. This year, in the last days of April, it has yet to arrive.
This year, the situation has been made even worse by a moderate episode of the La Nina climate phenomenon, which has caused drought across East Africa and depleted the remaining pasture.

In the last few months thousands of Ethiopeans have at least been able to rely on one source of income – Oxfam’s cash-for-work projects. By helping construct fences, trenches, dams, and other structures that protect and improve pasture and farmland, they earn a steady income for weeks at a time.
The income’s not just keeping people going – it’s stopping them from going, too, to seek better conditions elsewhere.

‘Oxfam reached us at a very bad time,’ says Halima, an Oxfam beneficiary. ‘We have crossed this drought because of cash for work.’