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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations


Aid matters. It saves lives, but can also set people on the path to a brighter future. We invited five chefs from Europe to learn what food means in the lives of Ethiopians affected by drought and climate change. Join them to discover #WhatFoodMeans and see how the EU and WFP fight hunger and protect life.

Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing African economies, but many obstacles remain to feeding its growing population, one of which is recurring drought. In 2015, Ethiopia endured its worst dry spell in half a century. People’s crops withered, livestock died, and children became malnourished as a result.

Almost 18 million people suffered food shortages, more than double the number in any previous year, and 10 million people needed emergency food aid. EU humanitarian aid helped back then, and with our partners we will continue to provide lifesaving aid in Ethiopia this year given the limited rainfall. We remain committed and determined to save lives.

The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Operations and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have teamed up to support the most vulnerable people in Ethiopia. With special focus on children, single-parent households and pregnant women, nutrition, food and cash assistance has been delivered to those most in need, including refugees. Ethiopia hosts more than 700 000 refugees, mostly from war-torn South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

As part of the #WhatFoodMeans campaign, we invited five chefs to Ethiopia to meet the people who received our aid and witness first-hand how humanitarian aid is saving lives and building futures.

Meet Frank Fol from Belgium, Anna Stormach from Poland, Mikkel Karstad from Denmark, Clara Perez Villalon from Spain and Simone Rugiati from Italy on their journeys in Ethiopia. All five will learn about traditional Ethiopian food and hear stories about what food and the lack thereof means to local people.

"It's been a life changing experience for me! Ethiopia, you stole my heart!" Mikkel Karstad, Chef from Denmark

Want to learn more about how the EU and WFP are helping Ethiopians face a better future?

Follow the campaign on social media.

Food in Ethiopia – did you know?

  • The province of Kaffa in the south west is considered to be the birthplace of coffee. Coffee is Ethiopia's biggest export.
  • Ethiopian food is spicy. This is not just to add flavour, but also a traditional way of preserving meat.

Try out this recipe for Injera, a traditional pancake which is a staple for Ethiopians. Injera is made from teff, a grain native to East Africa. If you can't find it in your local store, you can substitute it with wheat or cornflour.


  1. Mix equals parts of teff with water.
  2. Leave the mixture to stand in a covered bowl for a few days until bubbles start to form on the surface.
  3. Stir in a bit of salt.
  4. Add a ladle of the mixture to a pre-heated pan and cook slowly until air bubbles rise to the top. Be careful not to let it brown.