WATER FOR ETHIOPIAN VEGETABLE GARDENS
An incredibly quick success!
In early October the Board of E&E RPCVs voted to approve the following proposal for a new RPCV Legacy Program project championed by Linda Harbaugh Hillman (Gondar, 67-68) and John Hillman (Gondar, 66-68):
Water for Ethiopian Vegetable Gardens
to be implemented by the Kossoye Development Program (KDP) in conjunction with the Faculty of Agriculture (FOA), Department of Horticulture (DOH), at the Meles Zenawi Campus of the University of Gondar in Tseda, Amhara Regional State.
The $7,500 to be raised for this project will be used to construct a surface water collection facility (SWCF) on the new Teda campus of the University of Gondar that will serve as part of a demonstration garden to show how fruits and vegetables can be grown, prepared and eaten to improve nutrition among farming families in the region. The SWFC will consist of a system of terraces and drainage ditches that allow water to be stored in a concrete cistern during the short/minor (February-March) and long/major (May-September) rains to irrigate fields during the dry season. A 10-acre hillside will be terraced, and drainage ditches and a cistern will be constructed.
KDP and the University conducted nutrition research which found that malnutrition of the families in the Region was 52%, leading to stunting in children. Cultivation of t’eff and animal husbandry practices require at least three hectares for a family to eat for a year. However, the family diet lacks all the nutrients necessary for well-being. Consequently, KDP launched a horticultural seed distribution activity among schools in the region. After demonstrating how to cultivate and cook the fruits and vegetables, the family adoption rate soared to 50%. KDP anticipates that even greater adoption rates will be achieved as the children in families that are growing these fruits and vegetables on less than one hectare experience growth in accordance with international standards and as statistics on stunting decline.
Establishing the SWFC will have many benefits:
- Demonstrate a model for water harvesting that can be used by local farmers and schools.
- Provide a real-life laboratory for horticulture majors who will be the horticulture extension agents of the future.
- Enhance the nutrition and well-being of all family members.
- Produce a more food-secure population.
AS TIMING IS CRITICAL IN THIS PROJECT (TO BE ABLE TO HARVEST THE SHORT RAINS IN FEBRUARY/MARCH), YOUR TIMELY CONTRIBUTION IS NEEDED.
Here it is, the end of December, and because of Linda and John’s vigorous fundraising campaign, they have reached and surpassed their goal to raise $7,500.00 for this well-designed (no pun intended) project, and the campaign is now closed with plenty of time to build the SWFC before the tinnish zenab. Many thanks to the donors — friends of Linda and John, and RPCVs — and most especially, thanks to Linda and John.