News from Hagereselam and Mehoni

Our long-year watershed rehabilitation project in the farming community of Hagereselam notched up its 8th and final year in 2017. Financed by Ethiopian Enterprises and executed by the team of Helvetas-Swiss InterCooperation in Ethiopia, the project in Hagereselam was slowly ‘phased-out’ throughout the past year in mutual agreement with the relevant stakeholders.

Highlights of the phase-out year included a perma-garden workshop run by international expert Peter Jensen which was financed by Ethiopian Enterprises. A group of Hagereselam’s ‘entrepreneur’ farmers attended the training and were able to implement Permagarden digging and planting techniques in their own garden plots.

During the project’s final weeks, a comprehensive survey was carried out by a company hired by Helvetas Ethiopia in order to see just what had been achieved over the duration of the project. The survey reflects both the successes and shortcomings of the project and is a very helpful document. Should further collaboration between the farmers of Hagereselam and Ethiopian Enterprises prove appropriate in the future, the survey document will provide a basis for monitoring the community’s progress between the end of 2017 and any future starting point.

After a challenging 2017 in Mehoni, the good news is that the year ended on a positive note. After nearly a full year without a school principle due to a desperate shortage of school staff in rural districts, our project school Lemlem Baro Elementary School acquired a new and experienced headmaster at the start of the new school year in September. At the same time, the challenging and disruptive building work required to stabilize the school compound and protect the school buildings against flooding and erosion drew to a close. The compound landscaping work was completed in December, and the Swiss flag now flies proudly on its flagpole in the compound along with the flags of Ethiopia and of Tigray.

Ethiopia will celebrate its Christmas on the weekend of January 6th and 7th, which in the Ethiopian calendar is the end of December. School starts up again later in January and we are looking forward to a new semester of progress at the school in which the focus will be on maintenance of the school’s new buildings and the improvement of academic standards.

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