Mwananchi Ethiopia - Lem Limat
Consultations for the Mwananchi programme in Ethiopia highlight efforts by the government to end poverty through promoting multiparty democracy and establishing institutional structures for political and economic development. The government was also involved in rethinking its role and alignment to pluralism, autonomy and self-determination. Activities to support these policies have included enacting legislation that enhanced good governance. More >
Stories of change from Mwananchi Ethiopia
Mwananchi Ethiopia (Lem Limat) is pleased to present its Annual Report for 2011-2012. The report reviews the main activities and achievements during the year, and learning from the programme and some of the innovative projects that are funded.
The annual report also includes several stories of change about emerging impact from Mwananchi's interventions to strengthen voice and accountability in Ethiopia, including:
- How the Association of People with Disabilities in Guraghe Zone has been invited for the first time to participate in the local council's annual assembly - the first time disabled people have been represented in this forum.
- The use of evidence on local land degradation which led to the creation of Guraghe's first Environmental Council, with representatives from civil society, marginalised groups, traditional leaders and elected representatives.
Lem Limat, the Mwananchi Programme in Ethiopia, has been working in partnership with the Guraghe Mihuran Forum (GMF), an organisation that recruits skilled volunteers to input into local planning and governance. Following a GIS-mapping of the area, the partnership blossomed into the area's very first Environmental Council.
Guraghe Zone, in central Ethiopia, is an area suffering from erosion of cultivable land following heavy deforestation. The majority of the dense population are involved in traditional farming systems, which are barely adequate to provide year round subsistence. The resulting strain on resources has lead to 60% of the local population, especially men, migrating in search of livelihoods. Women are frequently left to shoulder the entire burden of providing for their families.
The Guraghe Mihuran Forum, in partnerhips with Lem Limat, is involved in projects which make use of the skills of educated volunteers to generate reliable evidence on the socio-economic, infrastructural and environmental conditions of the area. By producing strong evidence, GMF hopes to pave the way for citizen engagement with state actors in the management of these public resources. So far, GMF has developed spatial and thematic information on public service facilities, infrastructure networks and natural features of Guraghe Zone.
Spatial information is produced with the help of Geographic Information System (GIS) that makes use of spatial database, software, satellite images and modern cartographic technologies. To ensure the creditability and reliability of information, the work was carried out in cooperation with the Ethiopian Mapping Agency.
‘The moment professionals presented the land cover maps on the wall and told us the colours representing the eroded land, gullies and eucalyptus plantation, I was surprised by the size of land that can’t be farmed and the magnitude of the problem we, women, are in’
Aynalem Tedlla, Member of Environmental Council
Evidence was presented to representatives of the community, CSOs and government actors at a workshop. Very quickly, the state of natural resources, especially the degradation, the misuse and under-use of land resources became issues of concern to the participants. Having seen the evidence, participants agreed that the need to initiate community engagement with local government actors for the improvement of the prevailing status of those public resources was urgent.
Guraghe Zone Environmental Council for rehabilitation of natural resources was established by the participants of the workshop at the same event. Chaired by the Chief Administrator of the Zone, it is composed of 150 members drawn from elected representatives of people, traditional leaders, mass-based CSOs, and government actors.
Achieving these outcomes was not without challenges, mainly due to the political sensitivity of the issue, and the shrinking of space for CSOs in the governance arena as a result of the law issued by the government on charities and societies operating in the country. A large proportion of land in Ethiopia is owned by the government, which thus holds responsiblity for its careful and sustainable management. Time will tell how the Environmental Council navigates the political and environmental challenges it faces, but the cooperation between different interest groups is an encouraging sign.