eSwatini Drought Preparedness

Context and objectives

The ability of the Kingdom of eSwatini to develop sustainably is challenged by its vulnerability to climate-related shocks, including droughts, wild fires, and floods. These stresses negatively impact health, food security and productive economic activity, while disproportionately affecting the rural poor. 

In 2015-16, eSwatini experienced a severe El Niño-induced drought, leading to a 30-40 percent drop in production of maize (the staple food crop), extremely low water levels in the main Hawane dam serving the capital, drying up of rural boreholes, and forcing the closure of many schools (affecting nearly 200,000 students and teachers, in rural and urban areas).

In this context, the government requested technical and financial support to build the necessary capacity for a more substantive and sustained drought preparedness program, serving as the basis for the eSwatini Drought Preparedness project which was implemented by the ACP-EU NDRR Program

Main activities and results

  • Component 1: Drought monitor and early warning system. Activities under this component fostered the development of a composite drought monitor and early warning system.


  • Component 2: Drought vulnerability profiles and costing the impacts. An analysis was undertaken to quantify drought risk in key sectors of eSwatini, such as agriculture, water, health, and/or education.


  • Component 3:  Pilot drought contingency plans. This component supported the initial analytical and engagement work needed to develop several pilot drought contingency plans. 


  • Component 4:  Risk financing/insurance mechanisms. Analytical work was undertaken under this component to identify the most appropriate risk financing and insurance mechanisms for mitigating the impacts of droughts.


  • Component 5: Communication, knowledge sharing, and dissemination. Activities fostered knowledge sharing and exchange through workshops/forums and publication and dissemination of knowledge/analytical products.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) hosted a series of workshops on 4-11 February 2020, aimed at strengthening Eswatini’s institutional capacities and understanding of drought preparedness and Disaster Risk Management (DRM):

  • The workshop on “Drought Contingency Planning” focused on providing local government entities with tools to identify vulnerabilities and measures that can be taken to mitigate drought impacts.
  • The “Crisis and Disaster Risk Financing” workshop trained participants on the principles of disaster risk financing and to understand how the government could use financing instruments to fund disaster response.
  • The workshop on “Drought Monitor Validation and Impact Reporting” introduced participants to the Composite Drought Index for Eswatini, an early warning system.
  • The “Drought Monitor Technical Training” was held for government technical specialists on map composition and IT issues with the Composite Drought Index.

These workshops were greatly appreciated by participants, who gained first-hand experience with different aspects of DRM and understood the need to disseminate this new knowledge to their own communities for maximal impact. The workshops were attended by a total of 290 participants, representing institutions from the Kingdom of Eswatini including the NDMA, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, the Ministry of Health, the University of Eswatini, the Central Bank of Eswatini, and the Baphalali Red Cross Society.  

Partnerships and coordination

The World Bank implemented this project in close collaboration with the National Disaster Management Agency.

  • Africa
Window of Action
  • Window 2
Amount approved
  • $200,000
  • 07/2019 - 08/2021