Photo by: Ahmed Abib/Danish Refugee Council Ethiopia/Djibouti

Transforming lives in Ethiopia

Fafan Administrative zone and Babile Woresa areas are the safe havens for internally displaced persons (IDP) fleeing conflict in the Ethiopian Somali region. Located just 8km from Babile town, Qolaji camp hosts Somali communities, where the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has been providing them with multiple services over the past two years.


Mahdi Faisal is a 30-year-old father of four children who arrived at Qoloji IDP camp. He used to live in Balbaleyti where he worked on his farmland and kept livestock until conflict broke out causing him to leave everything behind. He and his family are now dependent upon the ration he receives from WFP through the regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPP) and his two eldest children are attending the recently opened school in the IDP camp. Despite all this, Mahdi considers himself lucky because he fled without being physically harmed unlike the others who died.

Previously the Qoloji-2 IDP camp used to have only 8 semi-permanent communal latrines with 4 stances only and each serving more than 30,000 people. The latrines soon filled up forcing many to defecate in the open spaces, and next to streams. This not only posed a major health risk to the surrounding households, but many felt their dignity and privacy being compromised.

DRC constructed 16 blocks of communal latrines with funding from ECHO. Many beneficiaries like Mahdi participated in the construction working as laborers during the excavation of the latrines.

“My family and I were very happy when we heard about the construction of the new communal toilets. We used to feel very embarrassed and disgusted when walking in broad daylight to the defection area,” says Mahdi. 

DRC has been running a project entitled ‘’Integrated Humanitarian Assistance to Respond to critical Humanitarian needs & to Enhance the protection of IDPs & Drought-Affected Host Communities in Fafan zone funded by ECHO and benefiting 22,970 people on WASH in Qoloji and Anod sites. Other key responses include water trucking operations, pipeline extension and construction of 6 water consumer points, water treatment chemicals distribution, establishment and training water management committees, establishment and training community hygiene volunteers, provision of multipurpose soap to vulnerable households, provision of hygiene promotion kits, excavating communal latrine blocks, excavating and fencing waste disposal pits, provision of environmental and latrine cleaning kits and installing solar street lights on key areas primarily adjacent to communal latrines.