Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
DAI Global UK
Other implementers
Opportunities Unlimited (OU), First Consult (FC)
2019 - 2025
Total budget
USD $17.4 million
Annual budget
USD $3 million (avg)

Project description / objective

SHARPE aims to catalyse transformational, systemic change in how donors, governments and the private sector respond to protracted refugee contexts in Ethiopia. Through the innovative use of an MSD approach, SHARPE works to inclusively and sustainably empower refugees and host communities to become more economically resilient.

Market system focus

Livestock and livestock products

Somali and South Sudanese refugees have a strong pastoralist tradition, as do many of the Ethiopian communities that host them. Cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and camels are all important for livelihoods and for household resilience. In remote refugee hosting regions, however, there is a shortage of inputs that people need to manage animal health – improved breeds, medicines, vitamins, feed/fodder, advice/ extension services – resulting in poor health and productivity of the animals. To address this challenge SHARPE increases the supply of, and demand for, quality livestock inputs - increasing access to improved poultry breeds; expanding agro-vet and community animal health worker services; increasing the supply of quality animal feed; investing in sheep & goat collection and fattening. 


As with livestock, there is a shortage of quality agri-inputs available for smallholder farmers, which restrains production capacity. Supporting access to inputs will strengthen the input services markets for agriculture and make agricultural production more commercially sustainable and appealing for smallholder farmers. Strengthening local productive capacity will also offer humanitarian organisations new, local markets to purchase from for humanitarian redistribution. 


Fish value chains are at a very rudimentary level in refugee hosting regions, with almost no cold chain facilities. Fish is caught and sold on the same day through a day trading model. Although fishing is largely the domain of the host community, both refugees and hosts purchase fish to take back to their community and sell, either fresh or cooked. Fish trading is a business that is dominated by women. There is potential to grow the fish sector by improving cold chain storage and opening more avenues for fish to be sold in host communities and refugee camps. 


Energy access is challenging, with most refugees and hosts not having access to clean, reliable or cost-efficient energy for day-to-day purposes, and often not even for basic lighting. Where electricity is available from the local grid, it is usually only accessible for people in host communities or living in towns, and it is usually unstable, with frequent power outages. Some households in the refugee areas use candles, many use kerosene with low quality wick lamps, and others use dry cell-powered hand torches that provide fewer units of luminescence.

SHARPE seeks to improve access to affordable solar energy for both household and more productive uses by creating a last mile distribution system of more accessible energy means to host and refugee communities through home solar powered energy kits and solar powered kiosks.

Finance & business services

The gap in financial service provision to remote host and refugee communities is large. Commercial bank loans are largely out of reach for most micro and small business owners due to the collateral requirements of the banks. The pace of digital financial services expansion is influenced by the high costs of establishing an agent network and cash-in cash-out infrastructure, regulations which restrict the kind of people/businesses who can become agents, low financial and technological literacy among potential clients, and limited phone and SIM card ownership in rural areas. 

SHARPE’s focus is to support the expansion of digital financial services to harder to reach and underserved areas, including refugee camps, and encourage financial institutions to provide micro-loans to enterprises, addressing a critical access to finance challenge.

Programme interventions

Livestock and livestock products

Livestock & agri-inputs
Invested in business expansion of 20 local agro-vet dealers, expanding their product range, opening new stores in refugee & host markets and expanding their sales & distribution networks.

Poultry & egg production    
Supported EthioChicken to establish more than 26 local poultry and egg production farms – ‘mother units’ – and expand production and supply networks for eggs and pullets into refugee camps.

Poultry feed    
Co-invested in business expansion of two local poultry feed dealers, with backward linkages to poultry feed producers resulting in an increased supply of quality poultry feed.

Livestock feed
Through a franchise model with EthioFeed, a feed supply company, establishing five local feed production centres, utilising both locally available & EthioFeed resources. Sales networks are being established through local agro-vet dealers into refugee camps.

Sheep & goat fattening 
Established 11 sheep & goat collection centres, strengthening their backward linkages to households rearing sheep & goats, investing in technical support and training and improving their sales networks.


Crops/agri-inputs (1)
Invested in expansion of improved maize seed production through a partnership with a local commercial farmer. Using a contract farming model 100 tonnes of improved maize seed have been supplied to local small holder farmers.

Crops/agri-inputs (2)    
Invested in expansion of an Addis based agri-input company. Set up supply & distribution networks of Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICs) bags & vegetable seeds through local agro-dealers. Demand promoted through lead farmer demonstrations and farmer field days.


Fish trading    
Supported expansion of 8 small, informal fish trading businesses, mostly refugee owned, by investing in solar powered cold chain technology.


Energy kiosks
Co-invested in establishment of 15 solar energy kiosks in energy poor communities, mostly inside refugee camps, providing a range of electrical services on a commercial basis (phone charging, refrigeration, hair clippers etc). 

Household solar energy
Co-invested in business expansion of a solar energy company to host & refugee markets. Imported, assembled, distributed and sold 2,500 household solar energy kits through an affordable pay as you go model. 

Finance & business services

Digital financial services (DFS)
With two financial service providers, expanding DFS – promoted DFS and onboarded more than 79,000 new clients; expanded the agent network, including inside refugee camps; developed network of merchants who accept digital payments.

MSME support
Working with a bank to develop a new financial service / affordable business loans and BDS services to previously excluded MSMEs, including informal refugee owned micro-businesses.

Refugee self-employment
Improving the business environment for self-employed refugees by facilitating work permits and trade licenses to enable them to formalise micro-enterprises, travel without restriction and access financing. 

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

General SHARPE results

Selected preliminary results (September 2023):

  • 229,574 people in the Somali and Gambella regions have been reached by SHARPE supported interventions
  • 113,346 people have experience impact level change
  • SHARPE has produced USD $10,739,826 of increased income
  • Five key market systems (poultry in Gambella and Jijiga; digital financial services in Somali; and agro-vet markets in Somali and Gambella regions) have all demonstrated improved market resilience
  • 120 direct private sector partnerships, both lead firms and regional MSMEs
  • USD $1,652,544 of investment mobilised from private sector partners into remote host and refugee markets
  • USD $41,896,581 additional revenue generated from SHARPE supported business models, demonstrating the commercial viability of operating in host & refugee markets.

Livestock & poultry    

  • Commercial poultry farmers and their customers who purchase eggs and live chickens for fattening and onward sales reached 18,431 households. Almost half of commercial poultry farms established are owned and operated by refugees 
  • USD $136,608 additional income generated through poultry farms in Jijiga and Gambella and 48 jobs created through commercial poultry farms
  • SHARPE-funded agro-vet dealers are now supplying 22,984 new customers with essential agricultural and livestock inputs, which in turn is contributing to improvements in animal and crop productivity

Finance & business services

Financial service providers are, for the first time, targeting financial inclusion of refugees.

  • 67,710 DFS clients actively using mobile money services to conduct financial transactions – and reporting that it saves them time and money and is safer
  • 397 new mobile money agents established (refugee and host agents)
  • 2, 420 local merchants registered to accept digital payments 


Off-grid energy suppliers are being funded by SHARPE to tackle the energy deficit common in the environments where SHARPE works.

  • 15 energy kiosks (community charging hubs) have been operationalised across Jijiga, Dollo Ado, and Gambella
  • As of September 2023, 996 solar kits have been sold
  • SHARPE has implemented an effective PAY_GO model where customers can pay in monthly instalments for the kits

[Uploaded October 2023]