(Washington, D.C.) August 25, 2014 — The UN refugee agency reported last week that Ethiopia is now the largest host country of refugees in Africa, surpassing Kenya. At the end of July, Ethiopia was home to more than 629,000 refugees, while neighboring Kenya hosts more than 575,000.
The conflict in South Sudan is driving the increase in refugee numbers in Ethiopia, and has sent 188,000 refugees into Ethiopia since the beginning of 2014. There are now 247,000 South Sudanese refugees in the country, making them the largest refugee population.
There are 245,000 Somalis and 99,000 Eritreans seeking safety in Ethiopia. Over the last seven months, nearly 15,000 Eritreans and more than 3,000 Somalis also arrived in Ethiopia.
In the southeast Dollo Ado region, JRS serves refugees from Somalia at Melkadida and Kobe refugee camps.
The projects in the camps near Dollo Ado are focused on youth, education, livelihoods and psychosocial counseling. "The livelihoods we give in collaboration with adult education, what we call the functional literacy program. We provide that training in an integrated manner. (The training is) mainly focused on certain skills that we think (are) marketable in this area, like tailoring, masonry work and plumbing. We (also) try to strengthen some skills that already exist in the community. They (have the knowledge) but we try to strengthen them," said Mulugeta W/Eyesus of JRS Ethiopia.