Ethiopia: What Our Network is Telling Us Amidst Conflict

Ethiopia: What Our Network is Telling Us Amidst Conflict


By Alexandra Wilson, Technical Writer, Ellie Turner, Business Development Executive, and Temi Alabi, Global Ops Analyst
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Colliding with a locust outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, the ten-month civil conflict in Ethiopia has resulted in a dire food security situation. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network states that parts of central and eastern Tigray are likely in Emergency Phase 4, a step below famine.

Premise ran a survey in September 2021 to better understand how people in the region have been affected by the conflict, as well as their views on foreign assistance. With 1,157 responses from around the country, we found that the majority of people are experiencing a disturbance in food availability and pricing:

  • 49% said some foods have been harder to find in the last month, particularly meats and grains
  • 52% noted a large price increase in teff and 48% note a large price increase in legumes, both staple foods in Ethiopia

Premise asked Contributors in Ethiopia: Which foods have been harder to find?

Between mid-July and September, the UN reported that less than 10% of trucks carrying humanitarian aid in the form of food, non-food and fuel have been able to reach desperate people in the region. We asked Contributors how they have been affected by the conflict and how they feel about foreign involvement. Only 20% of respondents have not been affected, nor do they know someone directly affected by the conflict. 

How have you been affected by the conflict between the TPLF and the Ethiopian forces?

Because aid organizations have limited opportunity to reach certain areas of Ethiopia themselves, quick and easy access to real-time data about what is happening on the ground can be a game changer. Using Premise, organizations providing aid can properly determine what resources are needed where, and then more effectively and efficiently channel those resources. 

Sentiment on Foreign Involvement and Government Response

While 44% of respondents indicated they feel foreign governments should not be involved in the conflict, 27% feel foreign governments are providing valuable humanitarian assistance and goods to the people of Tigray; 20% feel foreign governments need to provide even more assistance. Only 7% feel that foreign governments should provide military support. 

Our survey also reveals which nations Ethiopians feel have made the most positive contributions and in what form the contributions come. Notably, our Contributors feel that the US has been most beneficial in terms of food aid, whereas China’s most beneficial contribution has been in the area of infrastructure. Contributors feel that both countries help equally in the area of health. 

Who do you believe has had a positive impact on Ethiopia?

What has been the United States’ primary contribution to the people of Ethiopia? 

What has been China’s primary contribution to the people of Ethiopia? 

Since we collected this data, the situation in the region has continued to evolve and intensify. Premise will continue to monitor the situation to better understand on-the-ground realities and how people are thinking and feeling. For example, we know that the majority of Contributors feel the Ethiopian government should be doing more. 

What is your opinion of the Ethiopian government’s actions in this conflict?

Information on public perception is important for aid organizations to track over time, as well as to know where certain programs or messaging is more or less effective. Premise enables continuous sentiment tracking that can be used to enhance regular multi-stakeholder meetings with up-to-the-minute data and visualizations, facilitate discussions and collaborative partnerships and tailor interventions.