Perfect timing in Uganda


Clean water, good hygiene and sanitation are keys to stopping the spread of cholera. Photo: LWF/Thomas Ekelund

When The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) announced on August 12 that it was sending $30,000 to support relief efforts for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, we had no idea how timely the grant would be. On August 16, PWRDF and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) received an email from Jesse Kamstra, the Lutheran World Federation’s country representative for Uganda and Burundi, thanking us for the relief funds we had sent.

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Iraq crisis: donate to support families displaced by violence


We’re thankful that many Canadian Lutherans have worked with us to respond to the urgent needs of families displaced by violence in Iraq. We hope that you will continue partner with us in the effort!


We’ve started a new, one-year project to make clean water more available to displaced people and host community members alike.

This support is crucial. Many communities are struggling to support the people who’ve moved into their areas because of the violence. In particular, water resources that weren’t meeting residents’ needs to begin with have become even more overworked. The upgrades we’ll make to public water systems will make a difference. For example, homes will have better access to the main water lines.

The project will also provide mental health services to people affected by violence.

“The trauma of violence and displacement puts terrible stress on families, and the communities who host them struggle to meet everyone’s needs,” says Robert Granke, CLWR’s executive director. “We will support workshops that will promote healthy ways to cope with trauma, addressing the conflict within families and communities that can happen when large numbers of people are forced from their homes.”

We are grateful for up to $1.3 million in support from the Canadian government for this work, but we still need your support. We’ve committed to raising another $100,000 to reach as many vulnerable people as possible.

Please choose to support the health needs of displaced families today.



Donations to support emergency relief in the Iraq crisis may be made in the following ways:

  1. Online at or by clicking here.
  1. By making a designated offering donation through any Lutheran congregation.
  1. By calling CLWR at 1.800.661.2597 (locally at 204.694.5602) to donate by credit card.
  1. By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR and mailed to CLWR, 600-177 Lombard Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0W5. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to the “Iraq emergency.”

Canadian Lutheran World Relief receives $1.3 million to support Iraqis displaced by violence

Funding is part of the Government of Canada’s new $100 million contribution to humanitarian relief in Syria and neighbouring countries, announced today

Winnipeg, MB – Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR) will receive up to $1.3 million from the Government of Canada to support people who have been affected by violence in Iraq.

This afternoon, Canada’s International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced a $100 million contribution to humanitarian projects in Syria and neighbouring conflict-affected countries. CLWR’s Executive Director Robert Granke attended the announcement in Ottawa.

Of the $100 million total, $31.8 million went to the Syria Emergency Relief Fund, which matches the donations Canadians made to registered Canadian charities between September 12, 2015, and February 29, 2016, in response to the Syrian crisis.

The additional $68.2 million will support several humanitarian projects in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, including CLWR’s “Emergency and Resilience-Building Assistance” project in Iraq.

This one-year project will upgrade overworked public water systems in communities hosting large numbers of displaced people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and in areas newly liberated from Islamic State forces. The work will make clean water and sanitation readily available to displaced people and local community members alike.

children from a village in Iraq where water work was done

Children from a village in Iraq where CLWR improved public water services last year. Home like this one received repairs or upgrades to the pipes that connect them to the main water lines. This new funding will continue this work. CLWR/H. Patterson

The project will also provide mental health services to people affected by sectarian violence.

“The trauma of violence and displacement puts terrible stress on families, and the communities who host them struggle to meet everyone’s needs,” says Granke. “We will support workshops that will promote healthy ways to cope with trauma, which will address domestic violence and conflict within communities.”

In 2015, CLWR received a $1.8 million grant from the Canadian government to provide shelter, water, and household items to displaced people in the Dohuk area of northern Iraq. This new project will build on this experience and further meet urgent humanitarian needs.

Canadian Lutherans gave $707,797 to Syrian refugee relief during the matching period for the Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

The donations support a number of CLWR projects in Jordan, including work to repair school infrastructure used by Jordanian and Syrian refugee students, mental health programs for youth in the Za’atari refugee camp, and food assistance and cash distribution programs for families struggling to meet food, rent and medical needs.

Coping with drought, fighting hunger in Ethiopia

Kulsuma Leita Aredo is working towards a better future, where she is better able to cope with the frequent droughts that hit Ethiopia. This is thanks to your support!

However, we urgently need you to support other families struggling with hunger during the worst drought that Ethiopia has seen in at least 30 years.

Like many farmers who are struggling, Kulsuma was born and raised in a nomadic herding family in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Over the years she has witnessed the gradual decline in rainfall and pasture land for her family’s livestock.

“Unless we have an additional source of food, the animals die and we starve.”

Irrigation systems provide water, food

She is participating in the construction of an irrigation system on the Jara River to provide access to 100 hectares of irrigated farmland for 300 households. This project will benefit approximately 2,400 people.

Community members, including Kulsuma, are receiving food in exchange for their labour, as well as training in irrigated farming practices and other supports that will benefit their farms once they start growing their own food.

Kulsuma and 49 other women are also participating in a newly established women’s savings and credit group to save money and provide loans for small businesses.

“Once the project gives me the seed money I will start my own business,” says Kulsuma. “I am discussing with my daughters in what business to invest the money. My family will also receive an irrigable plot when the infrastructure is ready.

 [God-willing]! Life will be different soon.”
EMERGENCY APPEAL: Support other communities as they struggle with drought 

Irrigation can save lives in a drought as serious as the one that is currently affecting millions of people across Ethiopia. CLWR is responding with our Ethiopian humanitarian partners, but we urgently need your help. For one, your support will help pay for repairs to broken irrigation infrastructure, so that it can be used by farmers to water their crops.


Community members who are most vulnerable to hunger will receive food or cash to do the work.
Please donate today

To learn more about how your support will make a difference, please click here. Wish to make a gift? Put your donation to work faster by donating online or calling 1.800.661.2597.
The Amuli II Small-Scale Irrigation-based project that Kulsuma is working on is funded by Canadian Foodgrains Bank, CLWR and the Amhara National Regional State in Ethiopia, and implemented by our local partner agency, Support for Sustainable Development.

Fighting drought

I have reported in previous blogs about the drought crisis facing Ethiopia today. The numbers continue to add up:

Over 400 rural districts (woredas) affected.

  • 1 million affected so far and 1 million in January 2016 alone
  • 400,000 severely malnourished
  • 7 million moderately malnourished
  • 0 million without safe drinking water
  • 800,000 displaced
  • 400,000 livestock deaths

.“The people of this beautiful country are facing their worst drought in 30 years,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said from Ethiopia during a visit with representatives of the United Nations World Food Programme.

“The impact of El Niño is unpredictable, but experts say it is likely to affect food security for the next two years,” he said. (Ki-Moon Quotes from CFGB)

The Ethiopian government is responding as much as it is able, trying to mitigate the results, but US$1.4 billion in international aid is still required.

During our recent visit to Ethiopia as part of CLWR’s Global Encounter, it was obvious that the various CLWR program partnerships are making a difference for large numbers of people by providing the infrastructure to make the best use of the small amounts of precipitation to bring about abundant crops.

Here is what one of the participants, Rev. Doug Reble, wrote in the Eastern Synod Lutheran:

“Here is some of what we saw : Working with our partners, CLWR is helping to diversify the pastoral livelihoods of target groups in a sustainable way thereby contributing to the enhancement and attainment of food security for the most vulnerable; natural resource conservation practices are being promoted and

taught; irrigation schemes are being developed; trees are being planted; farmers, women as well as men, are being trained in best nutrition practices; how to conduct dairy farming and artificial insemination so herds can be increased  and excess product sold to benefit the community. I continue to marvel how just a little bit of water well-directed can produce abundant crops of carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, Swiss chard, garlic, peppers, papaya, apples and so much more.

Let me repeat. CLWR is making a difference, a positive difference, a life-changing difference. That’s what we went to see and experience and we most certainly did. The vision of Canadian Lutheran World Relief is to work for a “world where people live in justice, peace, and dignity, united in diversity, and empowered to achieve their universal rights to basic needs and quality of life.” Your prayers and financial gifts allow this to happen. I have seen it firsthand. May they continue. Together, we can make a difference, In the name of the God who loves us all.”

From Hetosa where value is being added to agricultural outputs through processing dairy and vegetable production; to Telalack where small-scale irrigation projects bring great abundance and communities from the area are learning how to help themselves by visiting the demonstration farms; to Lalibella where tree planting is bringing the watershed to life and irrigation and terracing are turning the desert green, CLWR’s partners – LWF-Ethiopia, Canadian Foodgrains Bank and Society for Sustainable Development change lives.

Tom Brook, Community Relations Director

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Tree Nursery

LWF-Ethiopia Photos

Code red in Ethiopia

A glimpse on the current drought in Ethiopia (Data courtesy of LWF-Ethiopia)

The current drought in Ethiopia has been called the worst in 30 years and some have declared it a “Code Red” drought. It is the result of a combination of factors that includes the pre-El Niño failure of the spring rains and the El Niño induced late onset, erratic and early cessation of the main summer rains.

The impact of the failed spring (belg) (mid-February-May) rains was compounded by the arrival of the El Niño weather conditions that weakened summer (kiremt) (June-September) rains. This  harvest feeds 80 to 85 per cent of the country!

By the numbers:

  •  Over 400 rural districts (woredas) affected.
  • 10.1 million affected so far and 1 million in January 2016 alone
  • 400,000 severely malnourished
  • 1.7 million moderately malnourished
  • 2.0 million without safe drinking water
  • 800,000 displaced
  • 400,000 livestock deaths
  • 1.4 billion USD required for the emergency response

History tells us that the northern part of Ethiopia (Tigray, North Wollo & Afar) is frequently affected by drought and famine than any other region in the country.  Most of the human lives and livestock that were lost because of drought & famine of 1984 was in North Wollo, which include Lalibela.

The district is one of the most vulnerable and drought-prone areas in Ethiopia where rain-fed agriculture is the main stay of livelihoods of almost the entire communities

There has been consecutive crop failure due to intermittent and erratic rainfall patterns for at least the last two years.

The total number of people who are reported to be in need of emergency food assistance in the district is 60,699, of which 25,594 are male, 23,691 female, 6,278 children under five and 5,136 pregnant and lactating women. About 36% of the total population (167,429) in the district are affected by the drought

 What’s being done

LWF, the Government Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), Plan International, and the Organization for Relief and Development in Amhara Region (ORDA) are offering assistance through either food and cash-for-work activities integrated with road construction and maintenance, rehabilitation of small scale irrigation schemes and terracing of hill sides.

A significant number of people are engaged in food and/or cash for work activities and these activities are intended to benefit people who are listed within the category of chronically food insecure households. The payment is either 6 kg of grain or 35 Birr per person per day.

LWF has prepared an Emergency Response and Risk Mitigation Project in Lasta-Lalibela and Rayitu districts. The appeal is submitted to the ACT Secretariat in Geneva for funding

LWF is also implementing a project entitled “Food Security & Livelihood” in Lasta-Lalibela district.

To address the problem, The Lutheran World Federation with financial support from the Canadian Food Grains Bank  through Canadian Lutheran World Relief launched a Food Security & Livelihood Project in Lasta-Lalibela district.

More on this critical work in my next blog!!

Tom Brook, Community Relations Director