|Vad hände sedan?|
2011 års Göteborgspriset tilldelades bland annat till Tigrayprojektet som från början var ett lokalt initiativ riktat till småjordbrukarna i norra Etiopien där resultatet är både ökade skördar och mindre slitage på miljön.
Projektet tilldelades priset för att under långsiktigt och systematiskt arbete utvecklat ett hållbart jordbruk byggt på lokala resurser. I ett brev nedan berättar Sue Edwards vad som har hänt med Tigrayprojektet sedan hon tilldelades priset:
Last year, on 14 December 2011, I had the privilege to be with you all in Gothenburg, Sweden, to receive the 12th Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development on behalf of “The Tigray Project”, the best known project of the Institute for Sustainable Development(ISD) in Ethiopia. We had the honour of sharing this Award with Koffi Annan, the Chairman of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). The focus of the Award was recognition of organizations and individuals who
had contributed to the development of sustainable food systemsin Africa.
The Tigray Project was started and is still focusing on support for smallholder farming families, their local communities and their local agricultural professionals to improve the productivity of their land and their local ecosystem services through the application of ecological principles and building farmers knowledge and capacity to use their own resources for maximizing their benefits. Over the last 12 months, ISD used the Award money to improve the documentation of its work with a local professional audio-visual company, particularly the uptake by farmers of the ‘push-pull’technology for combatting stem borer moths and parasitic striga weed in maize and sorghum. The legume, Desmodium, forms a permanent cover between the rows of the planted crop where it produces a ‘smell’telling the female moths that there is no place left for them to lay their eggs on the leaves of
the crop. At the same time, Desmodiumstimulates striga seeds to germinate but, as they can’t find roots of maize or sorghum to attach to, they die. An innovative woman farmer has also found that Desmodium, which is covered in sticky hairs, planted round her fruit trees stops the ants climbing up the fruittrees and protecting the damaging scale insects and aphids so that they can be controlled by birds and other beneficial insects.
However, the most important contribution of the Gothernburg Award has been in support of ISD’s work with youth, students and teachers in school environmental education clubs who are interested to establish organic vegetable gardens, tree nurseriesfor beautifying their school compounds and improving the environment of their local communities and learn about the rich heritage of Ethiopia’s agricultural biodiversity and the associated knowledge and practices of its smallholder farmers. This is a deliberate extension of The Tigray Project into education and urban agriculture. ISD focuses on the youth because they are the largest social group in Ethiopia with very limited opportunities for gainful employment. By learning how to grow food crops and care for their local environments they can generate income to meet their own immediate needs as well as become useful members of their local communities. ISD works with 24 government schools, at least one from each region of the country, as well as 25 self-organized groups of out-of-school and unemployed young people.
An assessment of the status of the school environment clubs in 2011 found that half of them had two critical problems preventing them from having effective school gardens and tree nurseries. These were lack of access to water and no fencing to prevent students and stray animals getting into the gardens and destroying the work of the club members.
At this point, ISD would particularly like to recognize and thank the Gothenburg Award partner, PEAB, for its very generous addition to the sum of the Award. We have used this money as a matching fund to help 10 schools establish facilities for water harvesting and another 7 schools to build fences around their gardens.
Experience-sharing through visiting, seeing and discussing is a very important contribution to ‘learning by doing’. As Ethiopia is also known for its rich cultural diversity, whenever it has sufficient funding, it organizes a three-day event under the title of ‘Learning about Ethiopia’s Rich Cultural Biodiversity’. Core support for the Cultural Biodiversity Project comes from The Christensen Fund based in California. But, with the additional funds available from the Gothenburg Award, this year, in July 2012, ISD was able to bring together 292 participants from all parts of the country to Konso, Ethiopia’s Seventh World Heritage Site. Konso is a semi-autonomous area in southern Ethiopia with a unique culture in environmental protection through terracing, recycling household and agricultural wastes, and the cultivation of an endemicdrought resistant tree, Moringa stenopetala, the leaves of which are rich in vitamins and the crushed seeds can be used to cleanse muddy water. The participants for the July event comprised 92 male and 59 female students, 72 teachers and representatives of local school support groups, 35 male and 5 female farmers, 9 male and 5 female youth leaders and others from the media and local administration. The Guests of Honour were the Vice-President of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State, and the Director General of Ethiopia’s Environmental ProtectionAuthority. The event got wide coverage in the local media and a documentary of the event has been made to be shared with interested parties, including the Gothenburg Award Partners.
On behalf of my colleagues in ISD, I hope this gives you a glimpse of how ISD has benefitted from receiving The Gothenburg Award of 2011.