Seedling production: Afforestation starts with production of seedlings in tree nurseries, nurseries that are operated by the local agricultural office, by women associations, youth organizations, or by private people. In autumn of each year, preparation work begins (prepare seed beds, mixing soil, production of shading, etc.) and starting in December, seeds are planted in pots and then they grow to young trees during the next few months. During growing to seedlings, they are watered, weeded, shaded, and after 5 to 8 months they are ready to be planted out. The work in the nursery is primarily done by women, who therewith earn a little but important income. At the beginning of the rainy season, the seedlings are planted to the mountain sides and hills.
Afforestation preparation: Afforestation requires significant preparation of the afforestation area. The area, typically eroded hills or mountain sides with few bushes and shrubs only, are prepared by construction of terraces, digging trenches, planting holes and linings against washing out during the rainy season.
Seedling transportation: The seedlings are brought to the afforestation sites in strenuous transports. As much as possible, transportation is with vehicles, then by donkeys and when the terrain becomes too steep on women's backs.
Afforestation days: The afforestation takes place in the months of July and August, during the rainy season. Afforestation are collaborative work of villages, forest organizations, or women associations. Seedlings are planted to the mountain sides and hills, where they have to survive until the next rainy season without any further water (it is not possible to water millions of seedlings on sloppy hills with watering cans).
Protection of afforestation: Afforestation areas are preservation areas. The villages, which offer the mountains and hills for afforestation, also agree to protect the areas against interference of domestic animals, partly by engaging guards. So the seedlings and the vegetation grow well. Typically, the afforestation area is protected for 5 years. Then protection is no longer necessary, the farmers which by then benefit greatly from the forests care for the forests by their own interest.
Support subsistence farmer, women associations, and donkeys for women: There is fierce poverty in the afforestation areas, people live from what their small fields provide as yield, and from the few cattle that they own. In these rural areas, income generation is hardly possible. The ones suffering the most are women, too much responsibility weighting on them, and for whom the limit of reasonable burdens is crossed oftentimes - according to our scale. In order to offer such farmer families a path out of the misery, we support selected farmer families by financing of seeds, donation of oxen, with hennas and sheep, as well as providing water pumps to groups of farmers. Beneficiaries are supported only once, and this support shall allow them to lift themselves out of poverty.
Students understand the necessity of forestation and which important role they can play in it.
Students learn at school the practical tasks around fruit trees, cultivation and taking care, and how sweet the fruits of this work are (after 2 years already, students may harvest papayas)!
Students learn about the water cycle and why trees play a key role within this cycle (retention of water levels, protection against erosion, bettering of the climate).
While establishing, maintaining and running schools is clearly the duty of the government, Foundation Green Ethiopia aims to grow and pass on the youth's understanding and experiences regarding carrying and growing fruit trees and forests. We collaborate closely with the local school administration, and any such project is undertaken in addition to our other forestation, water and vegetable plantation projects. This integrated approach underlines the importance to combine short-term and long-term benefits. At the same time it involves everyone of a family in our projects as a beneficiary. In detail our support includes:
Establish fruit tree orchards within or next to the school compound
Financing of fencing (where necessary)
Financing of water harvesting ponds for rain water (collected on the school's roofs)
Partial Financing of wells (where ground water is available)
Financing / supply of required fruit tree seedlings
Education of teachers regarding caring of fruit trees and water cycle
In return for our school projects, the school management is obliged to, together with the parents of the respective students, reforest hill sides surrounding the school area. The students do also collaborate in this forestation work and therewith gain practical experience how forestation takes place. Each school's forestation area is between 10-20 hectares.
Since 2008 we have supported the following schools:
Adwa Woreda (Tigray) a total of 12 schools
Gimbitschu (Oromo) with fruit trees at 33 schools
Weliso Woreda (Oromia) a total of 4 schools with own tree nurseries in the school compound, operated by mothers and school children