Nov 11, 2020

Challenges - COVID, locust and now an ugly War

Dear Friends and Contributors,

The new year started great for our project. I visited the project area and was excited to see the current progress and future potential. Our 2020 funding was great. However, the rest of 2020 has been tragic. First, it was COVID-19 then the locust infestation followed and is still ongoing. Recently. we sent vegetable seeds to the village through a volunteer who traveled to Tigray.  Unfortunately, there comes a manmade disaster, war.

On November 3, 2020, the  Ethiopian Federal government declared war on the Tigray regional state due to a constitutional misunderstanding. There is a blackout of communication in the region as the internet and phone lines are cut. All banks are also closed and a curfew is declared in the region. No civilians and commodities are going into the region. The place has now turned into an active war zone and a humanitarian disaster is expected by many experts.  Our plan to discuss priority projects after the harvest is now disrupted. 

We need to pray and appeal for a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities as well as phone and internet access. Please contact your representatives to stop the war in Ethiopia and avert any humanitarian disaster. 

I am sorry to send you this bad news.

May peace prevail in the region and the world so that we can focus on development. Thank you.

Jul 14, 2020

Project update during the era of COVID-19

Dear supporters and partners

We hope that all is well with you and your loved ones during these challenging times. The problem of COVID-19 has affected our work though disruption of meetings. Our plan to work on upscaling the project during this rainy season is delayed due to the national and regional state of emergency to cope with the virus.

One of the interventions that we started this year is a supplementary irrigation technology to support the clay pot irrigation system. As shown in our demonstration project the system had helped our trees to survive despite the 9-10 months of dry months. We noticed that our fruit trees had stunted due to the shipowners of the clay pot subsurface irrigation system. The system provided water but did not help the roots to go deeper. Therefore, we came up with the funnel deep root irrigation system. It was a trial and we have the video to show it. Reports we received show that it has a lot of potentials to support the fruit trees. This was at a small scale for the demonstration of existing trees.

Drilling on the side of the trees allows us to insert a plastic pipe with holes to the tree side to be inserted to deliver water directly to the root zone of the trees to encourage deep root growth. The system reduces water waste by eliminating runoff when compared to surface irrigation. It also provides water to the soil below the existing roots helping the tree to send its roots deep and improve growth during the dry season. See the video we took during our early 2020 trip (https://youtu.be/9GOfUsnJQAw)

I plan to travel to the areas as soon as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and expand the program as well as work on additional water harvesting systems.

Again, Thank you for your continuous support. Please keep safe.

Mar 17, 2020

Ready for 2020 upcaling of our project

Kudusan installing the funnel direct root watering
Kudusan installing the funnel direct root watering

Dear supporters and partners,

As promised, I spent some time in the village in the first two weeks of January 2020. I returned to the village after a couple of years. Funding constraints had slowed our project activities. The plants in the demonstration project are still surviving but I observed that they needed more care. The teacher who used to live there and cared for the trees had moved to another location. One of the roof water-harvesting systems has been wrecked and needed repair. However, the concrete surface water harvesting system was made by the people to gather water from the roof instead of the surface. The people used local skills to connect the roof with the reservoir (see picture).

Despite our absence, I was not disappointed with what I saw. Many participants have cared for their apples and others have included other fruit trees. There are pomegranate, lime, and guava in the backyards of some participants. Ato Haile Mariam’s homestead has many fruit trees and has built a water harvesting system. The reservoir was full of water when I arrived. Others have incorporated such vegetables such as cabbage and tomatoes. Ato Haile Mariam is an exemplary leader and we awarded one hand pruner.

Discussions with the community showed a high demand for a more focused and bigger water harvesting system and additional seedling and seeds. I distributed seeds that I took from Boulder and it was not enough. We are planning to travel to the project before the rainy season in the summer and plan an effective upscaling of the project.

During the recent trip, we demonstrated the potential use of funnel direct root irrigation system. The clay port irrigation system is shallow, and the funnel direct root watering system will help the trees push their roots deeper and grow.  We also demonstrated the potential to harvest moisture from the air using metallic funnels during the months when the air precipitation is high. We learned from the people that air humidity is high during the dry months of October, November, and December due to moist air coming from the red Sea. We will have a chance to make the experiment next year.

We also learned that success has its enemies. We were told that monkeys and scourers are eating the matured apples to the disappointment of the growers. They can’t kill the wild animals because they are protected and we have to find out how they can protect their fruits from these animals. 

I sincerely appreciate your support. If it was not for your continued contributions, the project could not have been sustained. The current support from GlobalGiving and its partners is a testimony of your financial support.

Again, thank you very much.

Haile Mariam Family
Haile Mariam Family
Lime tree
Lime tree
Guava - probably the first in the village
Guava - probably the first in the village
With elders and village opinion makers
With elders and village opinion makers
With Haile Mariam
With Haile Mariam
He regrets for missing seedling distribution days
He regrets for missing seedling distribution days
Hailus Tomatoe
Hailus Tomatoe
 
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