Ethiopia: Sustainable livelihoods and environment

Ethiopia: Sustainable livelihoods and environment

Rapid population growth in Ethiopia has brought with it a new trend of land grabbing, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources and deforestation. As a result, these processes have led in some regions to the complete disappearance of vegetation. Unfortunately, these places are losing their natural character and function within the ecosystem.

People in Need focus on their pilot projects of reforestation, erosion control measures, diversification of agricultural production and implementation of energy-friendly sources. Through proven methods such as planted boundaries between fields, with the aim of preventing the draining away of valuable soil, and of expanding special species of plants that can be used for humus as well as animals, People in Need wants to protect the landscape and enable the population of rural areas to become self-sufficient.

Environmental projects are closely linked with the issue of subsistence. Our organization educates local indigenous farmers in the sustainable management of natural resources. The introduction of alternative fuels or energy-saving stoves then also helps prevent further deforestation. Undoubtedly, re-forestation or setting the conditions for the regeneration of an area have a chance of success when local people accept responsibility for their own land and natural resources. Therefore, People in Need seeks the closest of partnerships with residents and the local authorities responsible for the area.

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Ongoing aid / Past aid programmes

Participatory development of the landscape in the Sidama zone

Participatory development of the landscape in the Sidama zone

The loss of fertile soil and the source of livelihood is a big problem in Ethiopia. Deforestation, soil degradation, erosion, drought or flood threaten Ethiopian farmers. Over the last 14 years, People in Need has been involved in drought and flood-related crises, set anti-erosion measures, and helped small farmers diversify production. The aim of this project is therefore to capitalize on the experience gained with the protection of agricultural landscapes and to improve the living conditions of poor farmers in selected keels, which aims to improve their attitudes towards agriculture and natural resources, which are the main source of their livelihood, but suffer from intense overuse and degradation. People in Need use and combine tools to prevent the degradation of natural resources, malnutrition, low food security, and community work. There will be plans for productive development of the landscape in cooperation with the Czech Research Institute for Soil Improvement and Soil Protection. The aim is that government authorities are better able to work with farmers and farming groups in the target area, who will then acquire the appropriate behavior in managing natural resources and farming, thereby improving their livelihood and nutrition for their families. Thanks to the training and campaign, farmers will also be able to cultivate new crops.
Increase of Ecological Stability in Dijo and Bilate Catchment Basins

Increase of Ecological Stability in Dijo and Bilate Catchment Basins

Ethiopia is a developing country which has long been struggling with chronic shortages of natural resources associated with growing population and its dependency on everyday use of these resources. In the last three decades there has thus been a continuous reduction in the availability of agricultural land, massive deforestation, erosion, and last but not least, reduced water availability.

One of the main causes of soil degradation in the catchment basins of Dijo and Bilate rivers, which are the target areas of the project, is  disruption of the natural dynamics by  animals, grass and trees in savanna environment, excessive felling of trees and improper grazing, in particular. Moreover, the land and natural resources are further degraded by agriculture, which is increasingly in demand due to the growing population in the area. The result is a landscape with very low vegetation cover, both during the drought and rainy seasons. This leads to low capacity of soil to keep water and consequently to drying of the land and accelerated runoff of the surface water. The drying involves soil erosion, loss of soil nutrients and degradation of organic soil components. This environmental degradation leads to low soil fertility, reduced food security and the high incidence of malnutrition.

 

 

This project therefore aims to strengthen the capacity of actors responsible for the promotion of sustainable management of local sources, 70 representatives of local communities, 56 employees of farmer training centres and 30 government officials in particular. Their increased capacity will allow the communities of the target kebeles to actively implement the long-term measures for the rehabilitation and protection of communal and individually managed lands. Their work will also be supported by easier access to better agricultural advisory and to other support enabling sustainable development of the livelihoods of at least 35,000 local households.

 

Afforestation of land and protection against erosion

Afforestation of land and protection against erosion

The slopes around Lake Awassa have suffered progressive erosion and due to seasonal rain lots of land has ended up in the water. Therefore, PIN organized in the last couple of years training sessions for local public on how to sustainably manage natural resources, and tried to motivate local people to work on erosion control measures. With the support of PIN a nursery was set up for the production of sufficient seedlings for reforestation of the landscape. Subsequently, the worst affected areas were closed for grazing, and millions of seedlings that were planted there, are now helping to strengthen the soil.
 
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Introduction of New Technologies

Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Introduction of New Technologies

Some areas of Ethiopian territory are being deforested and are threatened by soil erosion. Such developments cause a great deal of concern to local farmers and their livelihoods. Deforestation in Ethiopia is mainly due to the consumption of wood as a source of fuel, which is the only source of energy used to heat water for cooking. PIN has been afforesting affected areas by planting new crops having obtained suitable land for this and re-populating the forests. Simple technologies for the production of renewable energy sources have been introduced and the production and use of energy-saving stoves and solar dryers has been supported. At the present time local residents are subject to an information campaign about how small changes in everyday routine can prevent degradation of the environment which the residents of rural areas depend upon.
 
Another way how to prevent deforestation is the use of alternative building materials. African schools are traditionally built of wood and clay, however this method of construction reduces their lifespan and contributes to deforestation. There is still a vital need to build more schools in Ethiopia as the demand exceeds the capacity of local communities and NGOs. PIN has therefore decided to test the schools construction using proven technology that has been developed in South Africa and has successfully spread throughout the African and Asian continent. During this project, 13,000 bricks formed from clay (containing 5 % cement) were made by specially trained members of the local community.

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