68,000 extra books and pens are now making their way to our rural communities in Ethiopia.

It is just one of the actions we are taking in response to the drought currently affecting the country, and a hugely important one.

As we reported last month, Ethiopia is in the midst of a major drought affecting 10 million people and requiring an estimated US$1.4 billion in humanitarian aid. It is a major short-term challenge for the country, and the long-term implications could be profound if not tackled urgently.

There are 1.3 million children affected and a further 1.2 million are at risk as the drought continues. The drought means that many of the communities we support have lost their entire financial livelihood and children can’t afford the most basic of supplies.

If no response is made, many will likely miss or drop-out of school and experience shows that some, particularly those from the poorest households, will never return to school.

That’s why we’ve mobilized additional support, including shipping extra school supplies to help reduce the financial barriers facing families and keep children in class. We are also prioritizing back-to-school campaigns in affected areas.

The wider government and development sectors are also responding, as outlined in Ethiopian’s 2016 Humanitarian Requirements Document. Back-to-school campaigns will target affected regions, school meals and education supplies are being planned for 1.2 million children, and 188 Temporary Learning Spaces will be formed for those that have left their homes due to the drought.

This drought is a short-term challenge and we will do all we can to mitigate the effects in our communities. We also remain committed to our long-term vision of elevating Ethiopia through education. Because we know education is the key to unlocking a stronger, more resilient future for Ethiopia.