Archive for 2017

Apéro and presentation on May 18th 2017

Join us next Thursday, May 18th, when Ethiopian Enterprises will celebrate its 8th year of endeavour in Ethiopia. If you are a member of our organisation, we look forward to greeting you at 18.30h for our members’ meeting. 

The meeting will be followed at 19.00h by an apéro for our members and all others interested in knowing about our work. Our Information Presentation and Q&A will begin at 19.30h There will be a charge of CHF 20 per person to cover the cost of the apéro, and we will again have an Ethio store at which you can purchase Ethiopian honey and hand-woven cotton/polished-cotton scarves.

Venue: Kulturraum Thalwil, diagonally opposite Thalwil Bahnhof:  http://www.kulturraumthalwil.ch
Parking available.

Please confirm your participation to: info@ethiopianenterprises.org

‘Best Training Ever’

Lesley Stephenson and Thomas Baumann made it back to Switzerland just before the Easter Bunny  after organizing and participating in two special training workshops in our project sites in Hagereselam and Mohoni.

The workshops introduced participant groups to the ‘Permagarden’ concept designed by US Global Nutrition Garden Training Specialist Peter Jensen who has worked throughout Africa for the past 20+ years in agricultural projects addressing the challenges of climate change. Peter Jensen developed the PermaGarden method over ten years ago, and has since trained hundreds of groups throughout Ethiopia and other African countries in this effective method. By applying special garden-protection techniques to deal with the management of excess water in the wet season, as well as unique digging techniques and soil enrichment procedures, Peter helps his participants ensure that the quality of their gardens and the food they grow is far beyond that which can be expected from most ‘normal’ gardens.

In Mohoni, the training was attended by teachers and parents from 6 different schools, and these participants now have the mandate to create a Permagarden in each of their own schools. As at Lemlem Baro, the produce from the gardens will be used exclusively to raise resources to cover school maintenance costs. Teachers are also expected to use their school gardens as teaching models for their wider school communities. The teachers and parents were thrilled with the training, which they described as ‘our best training ever’.

Peter Jensen, creator of the PermaGarden concept, is an internationally recognised acute climate change  and nutritional garden expert. He has worked all over Africa, and now lives in Ethiopia. Lesley met him in Ethiopia 4 years ago and has since linked him to our project partners in Hagereselam and to the schools in Raya.

Peter Jensen, creator of the PermaGarden concept, is an internationally recognised acute climate change and nutritional garden expert. He has worked all over Africa, and now lives in Ethiopia. Lesley met him in Ethiopia 4 years ago and has since linked him to our project partners in Hagereselam and to the schools in Raya.

A bare site at the back of Lemlem Baro School was selected for the Permagarden site.

A bare site at the back of Lemlem Baro School was selected for the Permagarden site.

Teachers and community members from six schools attended the training.

2 1/2 days of hard work was expected from the participants, theory and mainly practical work. Participants learned the crucial advantages of 'double digging' the gardens which means that the gardens require far less watering, a huge benefit in drought-prone Tigray.

2 1/2 days of hard work was expected from the participants, theory and mainly practical work. Participants learned the crucial advantages of ‘double digging’ the gardens which means that the gardens require far less watering, a huge benefit in drought-prone Tigray.

The completed garden has been planted with beans until the wet season begins. Then maize, pumpkin, and other vegetables which require more rain will be planted. The garden is dug and designed to allow water to be held at its corners, and to flow off in other areas. In other words, the form of the garden manages the rainfall.

The completed garden has been planted with beans until the wet season begins. Then maize, pumpkin, and other vegetables which require more rain will be planted. The garden is dug and designed to allow water to be held at its corners, and to flow off in other areas. In other words, the form of the garden manages the rainfall.

Self-Supporting Schools Program

EE president Thomas Baumann and Mohoni School Project leader Lesley Stephenson have arrived safely back in Zurich this week. As so often in the past, they appear to have taken rain with them to Mohoni and Hagereselam – at least that’s what the local people are starting to believe! The day after they arrived, the small rainy season (which hadn’t eventuated for the past 2 years) started almost a month earlier than usual. Mohoni had full rain showers for several days which served to refill the school rainwater collection tanks substantially, and greatly please the local farmers.

A lot of activities took place during this visit, including the orientation meetings for the Triple S (Self-Supporting Schools) Rainwater-Collection Project. This project has been initiated by Lesley and is strongly supported by the local government and the other schools involved in the pilot project. We will be explaining this sub-project in full at our information apéro on May 18th (open to the general public), but basically it will allow us to share the vital committee and rainwater/garden components of the Lemlem Baro School Project with 5 other schools in the Raya region. This will add considerably to the sustainability of the entire program, as additional focus and pressure on these schools will be applied to ensure that creating school resources for maintenance purposes becomes a top priority.

In addition, meetings at government level took place, and Lemlem Baro had it’s semester prize-giving last Saturday, always a very large event at the school. And there was an exciting presentation. The Raya-Azebo Bureau of Education (BofE) with whom we have excellent relations received a long hoped-for gift. Due to scant resources, BofE members have had to rely on public transport to make their school visits to over 170 schools in the region! Even when there is a local bus, they are dropped somewhere on the main road and have to walk literally for hours on the dirt roads to reach some of the schools. But not any more. An EE donor has covered the costs of a sturdy motor bike which can carry two Bureau members to the schools outside Mohoni in a fraction of the time, saving wear and tear and allowing for better school supervision. Bureau members are thrilled and have formally agreed to use the bike only for BofE business.

We will shortly begin our compound consolidation project at Lemlem Baro School, a next and crucial step designed to protect our new school buildings from the effects of heavy rain and flash flooding during wet seasons. A new girls’ toilet block is also foreseen in this next construction phase.

As always, we urgently need further funding for these new projects. If you are able to help us with fund-raising initiatives of any size, please contact us so that we can provide you with any relevant materials/support from our side. And of course, we look forward to seeing you on May 18th for the info-apéro in Zurich-Thalwil. Details to follow.

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