There has been ongoing conflict in Ethiopia since November 2020. As the conflict has escalated in recent weeks and months, there have been impacts to Compassion’s ministry in several regions of Ethiopia. On this page, Compassion sponsors and supporters will find updates on the situation, prayer requests and answers to frequently asked questions.

Above all, please join us in praying for an end to the conflict and violence in Ethiopia. We are so grateful for your faithfulness in standing alongside our staff and church partners in Ethiopia at this time.

 

Last update: February 16, 2022

To read more about the restoration of contact with 25 of Compassion’s local church partners in Amhara in January 2022, jump to Amhara FAQ.

How has the conflict impacted Compassion’s programs in Ethiopia?

Quick facts

  • As of December 2021, 37 Compassion centres were in confirmed inaccessible conflict areas where there has been a shutdown of communications, transport and/or banking, leading to temporary suspensions of our partnerships with those frontline church partners.
  • In mid-late December 2021, we were able to restore contact and funding to 25 frontline church partners in the Amhara region, restoring our ability to serve more than 6,000 beneficiaries (children and youth) and families.
  • As of January 2022, 12 Compassion centres in the Tigray region remain suspended, impacting more than 3,000 beneficiaries (children and youth) and their families.
  • In areas of Ethiopia not directly impacted by the conflict, Compassion centres have resumed normal programming after a period of flexibility in program delivery in late 2021.
  • The delivery of letters and gifts to and from conflict areas are paused or delayed. In non-conflict areas, normal delivery of letters and gifts has resumed.

More details

As of the end of January 2022, Compassion centres in areas of Ethiopia not directly impacted by the conflict have resumed normal child development programming after a period of flexibility in program delivery in late 2021 in order to prioritize the safety and well-being of staff, volunteers, children, youth and their families. The delivery of letters and gifts were paused or delayed, but has now resumed as normal in non-conflict areas.

As the conflict in Ethiopia has developed, some areas of the country became inaccessible to Compassion because of the shutdown of communications, transport and/or banking. In these areas, we were forced to make the difficult decision to suspend our partnerships with several frontline church partners.

We are encouraged to share that following a period of suspension in eastern Amhara, we were able to restore contact and funding to 25 frontline church partners in December 2021, restoring our ability to serve more than 6,000 beneficiaries and families. We’re grateful for the prayers of our friends and supporters over recent months.

Suspensions remain active in the Tigray region, impacting 12 frontline church partners and more than 3,000 beneficiaries and their families.

Please be assured that if a child you sponsor or their centre is directly impacted by the conflict or these suspensions, we will communicate this to you directly.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

If I sponsor a child in Ethiopia, should I continue to give my monthly donation and write letters?

For children living in inaccessible conflict areas:

If a child you sponsor attends a Compassion centre that has been temporarily suspended due to the conflict, we will notify you, and your monthly sponsorship donation will be paused for the duration of the suspension. We will contact you ahead of your sponsorship donation resuming. You can continue to send letters if you would like, but please be aware that letters will be held for delivery until we are able to re-establish communication with our frontline church partners in the affected areas. ​​​​​​​

For children living in areas of Ethiopia still accessible to Compassion:

Your monthly sponsorship donation will continue. We are thankful for your continued faithful support, which enables our local church partners to continue meeting the needs of children and their families during this difficult time.

As of January 2022, the delivery of letters and gifts to non-conflict areas has resumed. You may continue writing letters. Please note that some Compassion centres and regions are still experiencing letter delays due to COVID-19 pandemic realities in their communities.

We ask that you do not mention the conflict in your letters. The circumstances are extremely sensitive and discussing the nature of the conflict may put children or families at risk.

As always, please know that your letters are treasured and whenever the child you sponsor is able to receive them, your words of encouragement are so valuable.

What is a suspension?

In inaccessible conflict areas, Compassion’s access to and communication with staff, churches and children is interrupted. Frontline church partners cannot receive funds from Compassion, as bank services are suspended. Letters and child information are suspended as there is no communication with the affected area.

What happens to sponsorship funds during a suspension?

When frontline church partnerships are temporarily suspended, your monthly sponsorship donation is paused. We will update you as needed throughout the suspension and contact you when the time comes for your monthly sponsorship donation to resume.

Why is Compassion suspending its relationship with its church partners in inaccessible conflict areas?

We cannot access or communicate with churches in these areas. We are not able to monitor the status of the beneficiaries in these areas or facilitate any financial or physical aid to children, families and frontline church staff in these areas.

Isn’t a time of crisis when Compassion is needed most?

Decisions like this are very difficult for us to make. Child development and child protection are our highest priority, and our hearts break for the children, families, and frontline church staff experiencing such suffering and hardship. After prayerful consideration, we decided that suspension was the best course of action. Suspension allows us to continue being good stewards of the resources we have been entrusted with. We hope to resume services once communication returns and violence subsides.

What support, if any, is in place for the church partners and beneficiaries during a suspension? How are we ensuring the safety of children and staff?

Since the start of the conflict, Compassion has facilitated emergency support and organized trauma counselling for children, families and the staff of frontline churches. We also intentionally equipped frontline church partners in the areas of child protection and access to relief services provided by the United Nations and other organizations. In conflict areas that are no longer accessible to Compassion, we trust that our frontline church partners will continue to protect children and help them access relief as they are able.

Will Compassion try to go back into the inaccessible conflict areas in the near future?

That is our desire. We cannot make any promises at this time without knowing how long the conflict in these areas will continue. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide regular updates to supporters about the impacts to our ministry, partners and the children we serve.

 

Tigray FAQs

The situation in Ethiopia has been going on for months. Why suspend partnerships now?

The conflict situation in and around Tigray worsened steadily in early 2021, leading to a complete cut-off of both access and communication the end of June 2021. Although the situation was not ideal, we maintained some communication with our frontline church partners and were able to monitor the status of the children in their care up until that time. Without access or communication, we cannot operate our child development program.

When was the last time Compassion was able to provide for/check on my sponsored child?

Compassion had intermittent contact with the frontline church partners in the Tigray region from the time the conflict began in November 2020 through the end of June 2021.

Is Compassion in communication with the churches/families/my sponsored child in inaccessible conflict areas?

No. At this time, communication in and out of the Tigray region is not feasible. Cell phone service and internet, including mobile internet access, have been cut off. We are unable to communicate with anyone inside these areas.

 

Amhara FAQs

For how long were Compassion’s partnerships in Amhara suspended?

We paused our relationship:

  • with 3 frontline church partners in the towns of Kobo and Weldiya in September 2021.
  • with 11 frontline church partners in the towns of Hayk, Kuta-Ber, Dessie, Kombolcha, and Bati in early November 2021.
  • with 5 frontline church partners in the towns of Kemise and Karakore in late November 2021.
  • with 6 frontline church partners in the towns of Mehal Meda, Shewa Robit, and Abaye Atir in early December 2021.

We regained communication with all 25 church partners in mid-late December 2021.

What is Compassion doing to support conflict recovery in Amhara?

Compassion Ethiopia’s crisis response task force have visited the impacted areas and carried out a preliminary assessment of the impacts of the conflict on children, youth, families, and the staff and facilities of our frontline church partners.

Compassion is supporting and resourcing our frontline church partners to provide immediate emergency support, including food, critical supplies, housing costs, medical care and trauma counselling. Over the longer term, planned interventions include a comprehensive package of community support, including the deployment of counsellors/social workers to support our church partners to serve and witness in their communities.

Additionally, 56 children have been displaced by the conflict to other regions of Ethiopia and are currently being supported by Compassion church partners in those regions.

How many Compassion-supported children and youth have been injured or suffered impacts from the conflict?

Our team in Ethiopia are working now with our frontline church partners in the affected communities to assess the impacts of the conflict on children, youth, families, staff, and facilities. We have been able to account so far for more than 99 per cent of the more than 6,000 children and youth registered with Compassion and confirm that they are safe and well, though many are dealing with direct or indirect impacts from the conflict, including damage to or destruction of property and housing, loss of livelihood, a lack of basic supplies, displacement and psychological trauma.

A small number of children and families are dealing with injuries or death of a caregiver, sibling, or other close family member. In respect for relatives, we won’t be commenting on these cases publicly at this time, although we will reach out to share news individually with sponsors as we have it.

As always, we will contact you directly if a child you sponsor has been seriously impacted by this conflict.

Will I resume receiving letters from the child I sponsor in the Amhara region?

At this time, Compassion centres in Amhara will be focusing on conflict recovery and trauma response. As a result, child letters will remain paused and it may be some time before you receive a letter from the child you sponsor in Amhara. Please be confident that Compassion centre staff are supporting your sponsored child and their family during this time and when it is appropriate, child letters will resume. As always, if a child you sponsor has been seriously impacted by this conflict, we will let you know.

 

What can I do?

Please pray for peace in Ethiopia. Pray that the violence will end, and that the ability to deliver aid will resume. Pray that God will intervene to end the conflict and bring peace to the region.

If you would like to give financially, donations to Compassion’s urgent needs fund enable our local church partners to respond quickly in times of crisis, whether in Ethiopia or elsewhere. Thank you for your concern, generosity and faithful support.

Prayer points

  • Pray for peace in Ethiopia, that the violence will end, that God will intervene to end the conflict and bring peace to the region.
  • Pray for aid (food, water, health, hygiene and medical supplies) to reach those who most need it.
  • Pray for recovery efforts by our church partners in Amhara, for the communities we serve there to return to stability, and for God to lift up victims of the conflict as they rebuild their lives.
  • Pray for the safety and wellbeing of the children and young people we serve, the staff and volunteers of our church partners, and Compassion’s staff in Ethiopia, and for people who have been displaced from their homes or communities by the conflict.
  • Give thanks for the faithful ministry of our church partners in their communities.

 

Thank you for your concern for our partners and the children we serve in Ethiopia.