This project started as an agro-forestry project among the Gumuz. The Gumuz were traditional hunters and gatherers with an abundance of harmful cultural practices including a history of violence. The project has had success beyond what could have been imagined. There was great resistance initially in trying to change the values of a people that have had the same values for thousands of years. They were destroying the environment by cutting trees and selling for charcoal. They were killing every living thing (including each other) within 100 kilometres in their hunting and there was a chronic shortage of food, high mortality rate and superstitions that kept them living in constant fear.
The project started with one model farmer brave enough to buck the trend as well as distribution of many trees. When people saw the success of the one model farmer, the value of the trees and the difference it was making – many more were added. Soon the whole group saw the value in trees and 8 years later there are now close to two million trees, thousands of fruit trees, model farmers on their way to wealth, and miraculous change in the environment. Stream beds that were dry have come back to life. Hillsides that were bare now are lush jungles. The health and prosperity of the group has had a miraculous turn around.
The original project has had such a success that it is now multiplying itself into new areas and expanding its original vision to include integrated development with water, health, education, and expanding on income generating activities. One of the new areas is North Shoa a strategic area that is the convergence of 4 tribes/regions in Ethiopia (Amhara, Oromo, Afar, and Arbgoba).
The Forestry Group is looking for volunteers to join the team. Please join them in this exciting venture.