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Finalist World Award - Category Earth

Submitted by: Green Ethiopia
Country: Ethiopia

From Trees to Forests to Water to Food: LIFE!

The overall objective of the Swiss based Foundation Green Ethiopia is to fight erosion in rural areas of Ethiopia by reforesting hills and mountain sides with primarily indigenous trees. This is in line with the Foundation’s understanding that developing natural resources makes our planet a richer place to live. The organization supports financially the production of seedlings, which are then afforested by local peasant and women associations to the hills and mountains surrounding their agricultural land, typically during three years.
To ensure protection of the newly planted tree seedlings, the Foundation is also financing the guarding of the plantation area, typically for the subsequent five years. A major challenge was raising enough funds and also to find farmers who shared its vision, who understood that by this project they can lift themselves out of poverty and who would be willing to work for free to achieve these goals.
During a visit of the Foundation’s President Kurt Pfister to Ethiopia he saw the potential of this poor country regarding natural resources and agriculture, and especially the interest of the rural people to work hard to improve their and their children’s life. Pfister, who was already retired, had enough time, and from his business contacts he could raise some funds to start producing indigenous trees with women in a nursery and to plant these seedlings to a nearby hill. Now the developing forests increase biodiversity, soil fertility and support water harvesting. The resulting changes include honey production, increased productivity of agricultural fields and sufficient water for a second crop rotation through irrigation and planting of vegetables and fruit trees. In summary: all those projects allow a cycle of trees – forests – water – nutrition – livelihood.
Pfisters’ dedication and the enthusiasm that came up when first results showed up was crowned with success and brought outstanding results: 5.8 million trees were planted in 2013 (since 2001 a total of 16.7 million trees). 2,139 hectares were afforested in 2013 (since 2001 at total of 6,816 hectares. 28 peasant and women associations were empowered. Approx. 700 full-time and 450 part-time workers are active in the nurseries. A total of 106,635 fruit tree seedlings were distributed to farmers (since 2001 a total of 530,000). 11 dams and 6 small river diversions were built since 2001. In 2013 a total of 9 motor water pumps and 6 treadle pumps were delivered for irrigation (since 2001 a total of 120 motor water pumps and 85 treadle pumps). 800 hectares of vegetable plantations were established and 450 bee houses were distributed to farmers. In 2013 women were donated 420 donkeys (since 2001 a total of 1350 donkeys). Pfister wants to motivate even more farmers to dedicate to the reforesting project and will intensify discussions with locals to convince them. Another goal is to train them in further activities like marketing or processing of agricultural production and to support initiatives like facilitating market development, providing loans for the construction of mills, etc.


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    Applicant: Green Ethiopia
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