Washington, DC   |


Our vision is of an Africa that is not dependent on aid, but on the resourcefulness and capabilities of its people.

We work at the roots of communities to create environments in which Africans can thrive.

Efficiency – We do exactly what’s needed, where it’s needed. This often means breaking the mould and seeking community-driven solutions.
Humility – We don’t have all the answers. We know that listening is sometimes better than talking.
Collaboration – We work with our communities to co-create programs.
Interconnection – We recognize that our work is only as effective as the relationships we build and maintain.
Conviction – We do and say what’s needed, not necessarily what’s expected.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Degan Ali

Director of Programs

Ms. Helen Jane Altschul

Main address

1250 24th Street NW Suite 300

Washington, DC 20037 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Horn of Africa Relief and Development Fund



NTEE code info

International Relief (Q33)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

International Development, Relief Services (Q30)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2014 and 2013.
Register now


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add a problem overview.

Login and update

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands – Improving Resilience (REGAL-IR)

REGAL-IR is a 5-year project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project targets at least 93,000 households (558,000 people), including children and women of reproductive age and is being implemented in five counties in Northern Kenya, namely: Garissa, Isiolo, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir. These counties have the highest number and percentage of households in need of food assistance across Kenya and thus offer the greatest opportunity for reducing the food assistance caseload in the arid lands.

Population(s) Served

This is a 4-year project funded by the European Union under its Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Initiative for Somalia. The project aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Puntland (MDG1)and has the following objective:
• To improve rangeland conditions and to promote a sustainable use of rangeland resources by empowering communities and by enabling the institutional and the legal framework for rangeland protection (MDG7).

The main target groups are the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism (MoEWT) in Puntland, nomadic pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities and associations, and local women organizations

Population(s) Served

In Marsabit County, Kenya, only 17.6% of people over age six have ever attended school and of that number,
only 14.6% are girls/women. The County also exhibits the poorest education indicators in the country, with
literacy levels as low as 20%. Girls’ transition rate from primary to secondary school is only 28% compared to
a national average of 72%, while the completion rate is 42% against a national average of 74%. There are a
growing number of children in the County who are school dropouts. Furthermore, the population in Marsabit
is scattered across a vast area in relatively small settlements, requiring long distance walks to reach the
nearest school, which naturally discourages parents from letting their children, especially girls attend school.
Pastoralists have suffered for decades while national educational policies overlooked mobile education as a
model in favor of urban and settled schools, and there are very few existing mobile school initiatives that
provide education to nomadic communities. This project therefore seeks to enhance access to education for
pastoralist children, with emphasis on girls; contributing to their economic empowerment, and increasing
their participation in the work force hence contributing to poverty alleviation.

Population(s) Served

While the humanitarian situation in Somalia has improved considerably since the last major drought, food
insecurity remains. Continued dry spells have hampered recovery efforts and led to the deterioration of previous
gains. Currently, more than one million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. In many areas, the
poor have minimally adequate food consumption, cannot afford essential non-food expenditures, and are unable
to maintain their livelihoods. Access to safe water drinking and sanitation is very limited across Somalia,
contributing to higher risks of ill-health. Pastoralist and agro-pastoralists, who rely on water from surface runoffs
(such as rivers) and are therefore entirely dependent on rainfall, are often the most affected. Most traditional
water sources are overused and unprotected. A large portion of the population lives without sanitary facilities or
means of waste disposal, the effects of which are most noticeable in urban environments. This project is aimed at
improving access to food, safe water and sanitation facilities. The project will also seek ways to protect livelihood
assets and build resilience of poor households in Northern Somalia.

Population(s) Served

Despite the crucial role they play within society, Somali women are still not adequately involved in political
decision-making. Politics and peace-building remain exclusively male domains sidelining women’s efforts to
meaningfully participate in political processes and excluding them from key discussions. The Ministry of
Women Development and Family Affairs (MOWDAFA) has been instrumental in promoting women’s issues
since their formation in 2005. However, the absence of precise objectives in relation to transforming the
position of women at the political level and lack of sufficient capacity has seen women consistently excluded
from effectively participating in the creation of a new vision of Somali society. MOWDAFA’s 2009-2011
strategic plan recognized that Somali women continued to face poverty, food insecurity, lack of economic
empowerment and limited participation in decision making and peace processes. This situation calls for a
gender sensitive response strategy which will promote sustainable national development by ensuring that
women are actively engaged in political processes.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

This profile needs more info.

If it is your nonprofit, add geographic service areas to create a map on your profile.

Login and update


Goldman Environmental Prize 2002

Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund

Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation 2008

Howard G. Buffett Foundation

Affiliations & memberships

InterAction - Member 2012

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As a humanitarian and development organization working within Africa, the problems we encounter are not unique. The way we work is.

Adeso takes a boldly different approach to development in Africa. Different, because we believe that it is African communities who must lead the development of Africa, not external agencies. This is why we prefer to use cash transfers above many other forms of aid. And why we don’t decide on how best to develop communities from the confines of our Nairobi or Washington offices, but from working and living in the field with local communities.

Regardless of where we work, our approach is the same: we help vulnerable communities through partnerships and shared decision-making. Our field teams hold regular community meetings, and find a way for every group to have a voice. This sometimes means creating venues for women, and often calls for perseverance to capture the concerns and thoughts of local minorities. It’s not the easiest way, but in our experience, it’s the best.

Adeso embraces community-based strategies during programming so as to assist affected communities take action to prevent and respond to humanitarian issues that affect them. Appropriate and effective community-based programming includes actively recognizing the role of communities in their own development, working together with CBOs and local NGOs to strengthen their capacity to respond to community-identified priorities and needs; integrating a community-based intervention approach into the assessment, design, implementation and monitoring phases across programmes in all sectors and contexts and; ensuring that staff engaged in participatory processes are appropriately trained in facilitation skills. This approach aligns with the organization’s values, while also providing an element of protection for staff in a fluid and quickly-changing security environment.

Adeso also adopts the livelihood strategy to save lives, protect assets and spur livelihood development. This strategy aims to build Economic and Livelihood programming in line with Adeso’s vision and mandate in which communities are dependent on resourcefulness and capabilities of their people by addressing emergency, recovery needs and building capacities for resilience restoration. The overall goal is improved living conditions and strengthened resilience of target communities in (Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan).

One of Adeso’s capabilities is our long standing presence in the regions we work and our strategic employment of locals. This has cultivated and further enhanced lasting relationships with our partner communities making it possible to penetrate areas that are not easily accessible to others.

Cash based transfers are one of Adeso’s flagship approaches to emergency and development work, because we believe that cash offers several advantages over other forms of aid. Adeso was the first NGO to pioneer cash transfer programs in East Africa and the Horn of Africa, implementing the first unconditional cash transfer in 2002 in Somalia. Cash transfers are slowly becoming a tool of choice for Adeso and an increasing number of other humanitarian agencies. Cash transfers represent a power shift from the agency and the donor to the local market and beneficiary. Adeso plays a leadership role in this area, and advocates for the use of cash transfers among humanitarian players throughout Africa. Adeso also holds regular cash based response trainings for humanitarian and development workers throughout Africa. The training curriculum is based on our own experience of cash programming in Somalia, Kenya and South Sudan. The trainings aim to develop the capacity of participants to assess when cash based responses are appropriate, and to provide them with practical knowledge and skills in the implementation of cash transfer programs. Adeso has also developed a “Practical Guide to Cash Based Responses”, which follows the same order as the project cycle, covering assessments and feasibility of cash based responses, planning and design, setting grant sizes, risk mitigation, implementation, monitoring and standards.

The Inclusive Community Based Targeting (ICBT) approach is a unique methodology developed and used by Adeso to target communities in a participatory manner. This approach is perhaps Adeso’s most notable strength and capability when considering all aspects of programming. This is guided by a focus on participatory programming that facilitates community-led program interventions. Through targeting the most vulnerable populations, prioritizing actions in the most vulnerable areas, analysis of environments and opportunities and collaborative actions with local government and stakeholders, Adeso delivers comprehensive needs-based livelihoods programming where it matters the most.

Adeso has registered enormous progress and continues to work with communities to co-create programs that are appropriate for them and the environment in which they live. We have equipped people with skills for life and work to enable them so that they may live useful, productive and self sufficient lives. We have also helped strengthen local economies and build people’s resilience. We have also delivered responsive and efficient humanitarian aid, especially when people’s needs have been urgent, and we have ensured that the interests and voices of African communities are heard and considered at the highest levels.

We are conscious about the evolving need for development interventions in the areas in which we work and are putting strategies in place to balance our current emergency approach with a focus on longer term development. We are aware that there is a need to promote more recovery activities among our emergency responses and are taking steps to connect more with national governments for program sustainability. We also recognize the need to foster stronger relationships with our communities and we shall do this by increasing our direct intervention initiatives and continue with components within emergency responses that are building/supporting community structures. We plan on consolidating and replicating the gains made in our current areas of intervention as we venture into wider Africa with the aim of achieving our ultimate goal i.e. promoting an Africa that is not dependant on aid but on the resourcefulness of its people.



Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 6/6/2016
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Abdia Mohamed

World Bank

Degan Ali Executive Director


Leslie Fields Director, Environmental Justice Program

Sierra Club

David Shinn Professor

George Washington University

Fatima Jibrell Founder


Sandra Brock Jibrell Consultant

Mohamood Abdi Noor Agricultural Consultant

Faiza Abdalla Mohamed CEO

Abukar Arman Former Diplomat for Somalia

Fanta Toure Operations Officer

World Bank

Fowsiya Warsame Research Analyst

Cambridge Associates, LLC

Kassim Farrah Professor