Food insecurity, hunger & malnutrition: More than 80% of the population in Soro Woreda (Region) live in rural areas and depend on traditional agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods. However, droughts, crop failure and land degradation seriously affect these communities’ abilities to produce food. As a result, the target communities have very low food crop production, and the lack of resources and information to increase this production has led to malnutrition, especially amongst children.
Lack of water supply: Soro is a region which suffers from droughts every two years, and has water supply coverage of less than 40%. The sources where water is collected are unsafe and remote, forcing local community members to travel around 1.5 hours each day to collect dirty water.
Poor hygiene and sanitation and related diseases: Current sanitation coverage in Soro is 65%, forcing those without a toilet to practice open defecation. Schools in Soro also lack safe toilets for girls and boys, making children more prone to diseases and less likely to attend classes. Girls also lack the menstrual hygiene knowledge to keep themselves clean during their periods, which discourages them from attending school during these days. Repeated diarrhea and intestinal worm infections cause 50% of malnutrition cases in children under 5 years as a result of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
Gender inequality: According to a Soro Woreda Women’s Office report, levels of empowerment amongst rural women are very low. Women’s primary functions are traditionally related to bearing and raising children, fetching water, preparing food, and other household jobs. Women and girls are also victims of gender based violence, and are exposed to possible sexual assault and abuse when having to fetch water in remote areas or when searching for a place to go to the toilet.