iDE Global


Market-based approaches are new to Ethiopia, but since 2007, iDE has been demonstrating how business can address the most challenging conditions in poverty and sanitation.

Why we’re here—

Agriculture in Ethiopia accounts for 80 percent of the labor force and over 40 percent of the gross domestic product. Over the past half-century, Ethiopia has struggled with frequent droughts, leading to disruptions in its agriculture as well as a series of humanitarian crises. It is also home to the second-largest population in Africa. Ethiopia’s agricultural productivity is extremely low, due to an underutilization of water resources, with only 6 percent of its groundwater used for irrigation. Malnutrition is widespread due to the resulting lack of sufficient food for the majority of the population and chronic diseases from poor sanitation.

Leading the cause for WASH

Building a sanitation market in Ethiopia

Market-based approaches are new to the sanitation and hygiene sector in Ethiopia. Through pilot and scale-up projects, iDE brings applicable and relevant strategies to build sustainable delivery of these services to Ethiopian households. 

Read more: How iDE is building the market for sanitation through partnerships and community outreach

What matters—

Gender Equity

Fathers and husbands determine whether Ethiopian women have access to resources and can engage in their community, even though women make up the majority of the agricultural labor force. When women are able to have control of their own incomes, they are more likely than men to spend it on the betterment of their families.

By focusing on women as customers and entrepreneurs, iDE strengthens their participation in rural value chains and increases their access to technology, know-how, finance, and markets.

Learn more: iDE’s commitment to Gender Equity

Download PDF: Gender Equity | Vision & Principles


Although declining recently, nearly half of Ethiopian children under five are stunted due to chronic under- and malnutrition. Vitamin deficiencies are prevalent in Ethiopia, where the diet of the rural population consists mainly of cereals, root vegetables, and beans.

By promoting high-value, nutritious crops, iDE empowers farmers to earn more income and provides their families and communities a with more varied diet, fueling them with the energy and mental ability they need to be successful. iDE also improves access to safe water and sanitation, keeping people healthy and able to absorb the nutrients gained from an improved diet.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Nutrition.

Food Security

Given the dependence of the majority of the population on rain-fed agriculture, the risk of crop and livestock loss is increasingly high due to recurring droughts. Other factors that threaten food security for Ethiopians include land degradation, low agricultural investments, and an increasing population.

By improving farmers’ access to high-quality seeds, technology, and farming best practices, iDE enhances their ability to increase production, growing their incomes and food availability in their communities, region, and country.

Learn more about iDE's commitment to Food Security.

Resilience to Climate Change

Agriculture in Ethiopia depends on rainfall. Temperatures are expected to rise, along with more varied rainfall patterns, likely leading to extreme flooding and drought.

iDE helps people in rural areas build their resilience to climate extremes through the use of water-saving and climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices.

Learn more about iDE’s commitment to Resource-Smart Technologies.

Download PDF: Actions For Resilience

The future for Ethiopian coffee farmers

In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopian farmers are adopting new practices to enhance a way of life that’s been passed down for generations.

In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopian farmers are adopting new practices to enhance a way of life that’s been passed down for generations. With the support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, iDE is working with farmers in Jimma, Ethiopia to practice sustainable coffee production.

Read more: Enhancing coffee production in Ethiopia

What works—

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iDE increases small-scale farmers’ incomes by using a market-based approach to promote manual well-drilling and household irrigation technologies. iDE collaborates with the Ethiopian government to connect farmers to agricultural extension services, technical support, and improved seed varieties. Additionally, iDE supports and encourages farmers to diversify into high-value commercial crops, livestock products, and other high-value agricultural commodities such as honey. These activities are changing Ethiopian farmers’ perception of farming, in that they begin viewing and practicing farming as a business, rather than as a way of life.

Learn more about iDE’s global Agriculture strategy.

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Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)

iDE seeks to improve health outcomes by providing access to safe drinking water through low-cost and affordable household water technologies and by promoting rural sanitation through iDE’s sanitation marketing approach. In both cases, iDE encourages the adoption of improved products and practices among the rural poor, while simultaneously creating both profitable and sustainable enterprises. iDE also trains sales agents to sell to rural consumers directly. These agents receive a commission on their sales, ensuring the sustainability of the model.

Learn more about iDE’s global WASH Strategy.

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To ensure that farmers have access to credit to purchase irrigation technology and other needed agricultural supplies, iDE helps to establish lending programs by forging partnerships with rural microfinance institutions. The principal partners for lending in Ethiopia are Buusaa Gonofaa MFI and Metemamen MFI. With these partners, iDE clients who meet established criteria are able to borrow money to buy pumps or other farming supplies.

Learn more about iDE’s global Access to Finance.

Resource-smart technology

Bridging the design gap between the developed and developing worlds

Understanding that small-scale farming families have severe resource limitations, iDE works to help minimize the pressure on labor, income, water, and energy by identifying and re-designing technologies existing at the intersection of these four resources, which can have a life-changing impact on struggling farmers.

Read more: Technology that uses resources wisely, but isn't cost-prohibitive to poor farmers, is smart


Kirkos Sub-city, Kebele 08
House Number 429
Kera, Bulgaria Mazoria
PO Box 7892, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone: +251-11-467-2906
Fax: +251-11-467-3341

Our partners—

  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
  • Allan & Nesta Ferguson Foundation
  • Big Lottery Fund
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Comart Foundation
  • Digital Green
  • Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency
  • European Commission
  • Frankfurt School
  • Global Affairs Canada
  • Headley Trust
  • Interchurch Organization for Development Cooperation
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
  • Sainsbury Family Trust
  • Syngenta Foundation
  • The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • Vitol Foundation
  • Waterloo Foundation