Gergera watershed covers 1382 hectares in the kebele (Ethiopia’s smallest administrative unit) of Hayelom in Atsbi-Wonberta district in the eastern zone of Tigray.
By Cathy Watson (The Guardian)
Ethiopia is suffering from severe drought, but there is water in Gergera. Twenty years of restoring its hills and river valley has brought life back to this area of the Tigray region in the country’s far north.
The work has been painstaking, complex and multidimensional and continues to this day. But the hard-won results offer up two key lessons. We know now that landscape restoration in drylands hinges on water management. And we know, just as importantly, that restoration can create a base for better livelihoods and jobs for youth who formerly left in droves.
Government ministers visited the revitalized watershed on 31 May 2017 after signing a memo of understanding to establish a National Agroforestry Platform to support climate-resilient green growth and transformation. Over 40 prominent figures attended, including ministers of state Kaba Urgesa and Gebregziabher Gebreyohannes, Wubalem Tadesse of the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute, Fassil Kebede, adviser to the minister of agriculture, and Eleni Gabre Madhin, founder of Ethiopia’s commodity exchange and representatives of embassies, development agencies, and civil society groups such as Oxfam, Farm Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Packard.
Gergera watershed covers 1382 hectares in the kebele (Ethiopia’s smallest administrative unit) of Hayelom in Atsbi-Wonberta district in the eastern zone of Tigray. The visit began at the head of the valley where community leaders had gathered. Alighting and looking around, Ethiopia’s minister of agriculture and natural resources Eyasu Abraha was visibly moved. “I know this place. It was abandoned and untouched. This is very incredible to me,” he said.
The group stood under tall trees, bathed by bird song, with luscious grasses and pools of clean water at their feet. So that it can regenerate, this part of Gergera has long been closed to cattle.
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