Build victory gardens for 200 Ethiopian students

by Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB), University of Colorado at Boulder
Bar shaped buried clay pots-A. Gebru
Bar shaped buried clay pots-A. Gebru's experiment

Dear supporters

The project you have been supporting, building victory gardens....has began to impact schools of higher education in the region. It has influenced a research interest at Mekelle University’s Ethiopian Institute for Climate and Society (ICS). Amanuel Gebru, a former development practitioner in one of the local NGOs and an active volunteer in our project has been admitted to the Climate and Society Masters program in  2013/14.. I met Amanuel in December when I visited Mekelle University to teach Sustainable Development to the incoming graduate students. Amanuel took the time to take me to his experimental site (see picture). I also read his draft proposal and discussed his planned experiment on the effectiveness of the clay pot irrigaiton system. He wants to test a bar-shaped clay pot design instead of the traditional round clay pot. The bar shaped clay pot for the experiment is also manufactured by traditional female potter in the nearby village.

When completed, the research output will have a positive impact on the diffusion of the buried clay pot irrigation method. It will also contribute to the sustainability of the idea and help for a successful climate change adaptation and food security in this arid area and beyond. Amanuel’s hypothesis is that “water filled and buried clay pot irrigation technology could play a big role under climate variability in producing more crop even under drought conditions and high transpiration” is an idea whose time has come. Amanuel believes that the bar shaped clay pot might be the best design and efficient irrigation system. Lets hope that he comes up with a successful positive outcome from his research.

Amanuel’s research is progressing with a test site that was assigned to him by Mekelle University. He will ‘attempt to map area suitability of clay pot technology, test the bar shaped clay pot design and see profitability of the technology on the targeted research area. Amanuel's lead thesis advisor Dr. Araya A. Berhe of the ICS is very optimistic about the research outcome. We wish Amanuel the best of lack and also thank you for his volunteering on the project. We will keep you updated on the success of the research.

This implies that your support to the project through is having a larger impact beyond the  students in the village.

Again, thank you for the support. Happy Spring to you and your loved ones!

the in situ water harvesting system is still wet
the in situ water harvesting system is still wet

Dear supporters,

Greetings. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones during this holiday season.

I recently travelled to the village of Atebes, taking another opportunity that took to Ethiopia. I visited the victory garden project on Saturday, November 29. I interacted with the participants and learned both the positive developments and the things that requir for sustainability. Many respondents that I met said that they are beinning to harvest apple fuits. The number of fruits harvested rainged from 20 to 180 fruits. This is an outstanding achievement thanks to your support and the dedication of the  articipants and our volunteers. In 2010 no one has even seen an apple tree or fruit and after 4 years people have began to eat the fruits. We plan to give awareness on marketing opportunities in 2015 so that the expected surplus is sold in the market. 

The other issues we observed include bird attackes that have destroyed the fruits even before they are ripe.  We plan to search ways to protect the plants from birds using both traditonal and moder ways in 2015.

We observed the availability of water from the various water harvesting systems.  All families we talked to stated that they did not travel to the remote valleys to collect water due to the revitalized streams.  An important promising development is the new focus by the local government in watershade mangement in the village including terracing and afforestation.This are very positive developments that can contribute to sustainability if they are fully implemented.

Some of the constraints we observed include lack of fruit tree management such as pruning as well access to the market. The apples need to be pruned and this requires additional follow up and continued training. We can also inject sustainability by introducing market information thorough training.  

The bushes are invading the apple trees in the demonstration site due to neglect tied to the lack of incentives by the guards. Many individuals who did receive apple seedlings prevously  are also requesting and the potential for expansion is huge.


gabion wires bought by the project are installed
gabion wires bought by the project are installed
VG project water harvesting system full of water
VG project water harvesting system full of water
Selam drying the clothes she washed
Selam drying the clothes she washed

Dear Supporters,

Greetings. I hope you all have a great summer. 

We are trying to connect our project participants with other similar development activities in the area. Recently, we had preliminary dicussion with a ICRAF/Ethiopia on the potential of training our project participants on how to grow seedlings so that they can sell to farmers in neighboring villages and increase their income. When the project materializes they will get additional and quick source of income. The innovation of growing fruit trees in dry areas will also spread to other villages leading to the improvement of their food security and sustainability.

The goal of fund raising to complet out project is not yet achieved. We are counting on your continued support to accomplish out objectives. Thank you very much.

Dear supporters,

Our pilot project on the use of clay pots for irrigation system as a climate change adaptation tool to improve food security in  vulnerbales communities in the dry lands has caught the attention of the University of Colorado's INSTAAR. The news update was written by Shelly Sommeron INSTAAR's  website on April 4 2014. The article is titled "Apples in Atebes: Cultivating Climate resilience in an Ethiopian Village. The article is a testament to the impact of our supporters that icnlude you and our volunteers in Ethiopia. We lookforward for your feedback on the article.

Again, we would like to thank you, our esteemed supporters and look forward to your continued support until we reach out goal. I hope that you will distribute the article to your friends, familes and colleagues so that we can reach our goal.



In our recent visit to the project we had a discussion with some students who are participating in the Atebes victory garden project. We asked them how the project is going. Below are some of the answers they provided. 

Question: How many apple trees do you have

Hiwot: We have 5 apple trees. I am the one who take care of them. My little seeblings also help in watering. My father tells us to water it when we forget.

Q. Have they started bearing fruit.

Hiwot: Some them have started to give fruit but others are still short. It depends on their age. the ones that are fruiting were planted in 2011. We are eating them and they are tasty.

Q. Have you started selling them in the market.

Hiwot: We have not started selling them. One of my trees has only 24 fruits. Others are also like us. This is a new tree and man people dont know what it is. May be we will sell in the future and make a lot of money. Now we want to eat them.

Q. How many households have apple trees.

Hiwot: I dont know. But most of my friends have apple trees. But again, on the old ones have fruit.

Q. Do you know that the price of one apple in Mekelle city is 18 birr ($1.00).

Hiwot: No, I dont know that. I have never been to Mekelle even. When we a lot of fruits we will sell our in Mekelle.

Q. What is your plan for the future.

Hiwot: I am with my parents until I finish my school. I am only 10th grade. I hope to grow more apples if I get the seedlings or if I knwo how to multiply them. 

Thank you for the chat. Thank you.


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Project Leader:
Tsegay Wolde-Georgis
Boulder, CO United States
$9,260 raised of $30,000 goal
224 donations
$20,740 to go
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