USAID Restarting Food Aid in Ethiopia and Unveiling New Initiatives to Enhance Oversight

U.S. humanitarian assistance is a vital lifeline for millions of people in need around the world facing drought, food insecurity, conflict, and violence. We place the highest priority on ensuring we and our partners use funds wisely, effectively, and for their intended purpose.

In Ethiopia, USAID has decided to resume food assistance to refugee populations after the Ethiopian government and implementing partners enacted reforms to Ethiopia’s refugee food assistance structure.

The resumption of food assistance to refugees will save lives and alleviate suffering for some of the most vulnerable. Reforms have been implemented to strengthen program monitoring and oversight, reinforce commodity tracking, and improve beneficiary registration processes.

Additionally, the Ethiopian government has transferred responsibility for dispatch, warehousing, and distribution of refugee food aid to our implementing partners.

Previously, USAID paused all food assistance in Ethiopia due to the discovery of a coordinated diversion scheme. While we are resuming assistance for refugee populations, our assistance for other food insecure populations across Ethiopia remains paused until we can ensure it reaches those intended to receive it.

We continue to collaborate with the Ethiopian government on additional reforms that will help ensure assistance is provided based on assessed vulnerability and need, following international best practices.

USAID’s priority is to resume food assistance for those in need as soon as possible in all regions, and we are prepared to do so once the necessary remaining reforms are implemented. Other forms of ongoing U.S. assistance, including health and nutrition, continued during the food aid pause. The United States stands in solidarity with the people of Ethiopia.

The diversion of U.S. assistance is not acceptable. USAID is implementing a comprehensive plan to mitigate the risk of diversions worldwide.

We have appointed a new agency coordinator to work with our missions and teams in Washington to strengthen oversight initiatives. We have also established a working group of experts to review field staffing levels and third-party monitoring work, develop new guidance for staff and partners, create new training for staff globally, and explore additional measures.

We are engaging with our partners to support their efforts in enhancing program oversight and accountability. These improved oversight mechanisms will enable us to quickly identify and address diversion risks and ensure that food assistance reaches those who need it the most.

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