The Siraro District of Southern Ethiopia suffers regularly from food shortages. Higher temperatures and lower rainfall are major problems in this drought-threatened region. Natural resources continue to decline and so yields from arable and livestock farming – on which people depend for survival – are repeatedly at their limit; shortages of water, firewood and charcoal are a growing problem. People have insufficient food and their health suffers, particularly women, who are already disadvantaged in these traditional societies.
The project will identify natural resources in the three villages of Almento Sirbo, Nuna Raba and Loke Hada in Siraro District and then introduce measures to restore them. The project, which is located in a major water catchment area, will work in partnership with local communities to implement measures such as erosion control, reforestation, introduction of wood-saving stoves and improvements to soil fertility. The second part of the prevention strategy is to create income-generating opportunities for the affected population. As a preliminary step, the project completed a baseline study and then working with local people it selected a range of potential niche activities. In addition to the production and sale of timber and fruit from the trees, they include poultry rearing and egg sales, beekeeping and the sale of honey, kitchen gardens for the sustainable growing of vegetables and also goat farming. The creation of new income-generating opportunities should reduce dependence on emergency aid. During periods of drought, the money earned can be used to buy food and in good times the surplus can be reinvested in the development of additional income opportunities.
Restore natural resources and improve the living conditions of the poorest households in the district of Siraro Woreda in Southern Ethiopia.
In the longer term, the project seeks to bring about a change to sustainable agriculture. Here, Biovision is able to make good use of its many years of experience in ecological farming. The project will help to improve the management of resources and the development of sustainable agriculture. In addition, it will develop methods that can be applied elsewhere in Siraro. Another important aspect of the project is to raise awareness locally of the need to protect the environment.
The project will directly benefit 1,200 low-income and socially disadvantaged households – in particular farming families headed by women – together with 1,500 families living in the project region. The project will indirectly benefit some 6,500 households throughout the region by improving access to seeds as well as information on ecological methods of cultivation and animal husbandry. It will also improve the road network and help retain natural resources
- Identify, test and introduce sustainable measures that improve agriculture and incomes and so ameliorate the living conditions of those in the three villages
- Improve the food security of 1,200 particularly disadvantaged families in Siraro
In cooperation with local government and community organisations, identification of 1,875 particularly disadvantaged households; of these 975 are headed by women. 400 households (304 headed by women) each acquired two pregnant goats. 38 households received modern beehives and training in beekeeping and the production of pure honey. 603 households benefited from training in income-generating activities (426 of these households headed by women). More than 100 families provided with energy-saving stoves and more than 24,000 tree seedlings delivered to 1,566 households.
Two main factors are crucial if local people are to run the project successfully in future:
- The various local community organisations must be educated and trained regularly in the active management of groups and the running of future activities. Throughout the project, those involved must receive sound information that they can then apply and develop independently after the end of the project.
- Government advisory services must be involved in the project and encouraged to contribute their knowledge on the protection of natural resources and the creation of various income opportunities for local people as well as supporting them during the implementation process