REST was founded in Ethiopia in 1978. We initially started as a relatively small organisation in response to the needs of Tigrayan refugees displaced by drought and food insecurity to neighbouring Sudan.
As famine conditions worsened in 1984/5 affecting large numbers of the Tigrayan population, we initiated a large scale cross border relief operation that lasted until 1987. At the same time, we implemented a range of agriculture (seeds, tools, and oxen), water, environmental, health and education activities in order to keep families on the land, and to restore their productivity.
When the civil war ended in 1991, REST registered as a local Nongovernmental Organisation (NGO), and has since focussed on multi-sector, long term development programming while retaining some capacity in emergency response. Today, we are one of the most prominent local NGOs in Ethiopia with a proven track record in successfully changing the lives of the most poor.
REST works directly with communities to increase their incomes, improve health and education services, increase and diversify agricultural production, protect the environment, build appropriate water supply and sanitation systems, address child malnutrition, and strengthen local capacities in development.
Drawing on our long experience and close relationship with the people and the Administration of Tigray, we play multiple and complementary roles as direct implementers of programs and projects, initiators and promoters of innovation in livelihood development and rural economic growth, and as facilitators of community development and empowerment in almost every
Wareda of the Region.
We advocate on behalf of the poor, especially excluded and marginalized sectors of society, and contribute to the evolution of development policy and strategy at regional, national and international levels so that the voices of the poor are heard.