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Ethiopia - WFP Ethiopa MERET as Result Oriented Human Capacity Building Project

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Organization(s): UN World Food Programme

Country(ies): Ethiopia

Primary thematic focus: Sub-national capacity development: local solutions, national strengths

In a Nutshell:
The participation principle in MERET-PLUS is based on active participation of communities practiced at several levels of the communities. Active involvement of the community has enabled the community to take decisions, to organize and manage their work while sorting out differences between the various types of activities.

The Story:
Since 1980, the World Food Programme (WFP) has supported rural land rehabilitation in Ethiopia through the MERET Project, formerly known as ETH/2488, addressing the root causes of land degradation that resulted in food insecurity. The main activities of MERET are natural resources rehabilitation and development such as stabilization of hillsides, construction of farm land terraces, gully erosion control and rehabilitation, reforestation of degraded lands, water harvesting for small scale irrigation, construction & maintenance of feeder roads, area closure, productivity enhancement, etc. The Government’s implementing partner of the MERET Project is Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at different levels (federal, regional and woreda levels). The MERET Project is currently under implementation in six regions (Oromiya, Amhara, SNNP, Tigray, Somali and Dire Dawa), in 72 woredas (districts), in 500 community sites.

To mitigate the problems of land degradation and food insecurity, WFP has been supporting the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through MERET Project and considerable achievements have been made with regard to land rehabilitation, protection and development. Because of the climatic shocks, traditional poor farming practices and alarming population growth, since 1983 severe droughts have been almost an annual event in Ethiopia. According different studies and project Impact Assessments undertaken, households who were producing only five to six months of food supply in a year has reduced the food gap in a year to 2 – 3 months. Anticipating renewed interest in addressing the root causes of chronic food insecurity, WFP has assessed the potential contribution of MERET Project to mitigate problems of food insecurity and currently, WFP is providing supports to the implementation of the 6th phase of MERET Project, which is operational during 2007 – 2011.

Results and Critical Factors:
Capacity building supports such as provision of non-food items & transportation, and technical training to field staff of the Government partners. More than 2,600 technical staff of implementing partners, involved in the planning and implementation of project activities have been trained in different technologies and techniques. Consequently, more than 500 community sites have been planned and 75% are under implementation. MERET Project gives more emphasis to community empowerment and participation and the project activities are community centered, use community-based participatory watershed development as planning tool, communities actively participate in prioritization, planning, implementation & decision-making processes. Communities have organized themselves into user groups and generated sustainable incomes, demonstrated strong success in improving food security, and poor household food gaps has been reduced considerabl y. The main MERET-PLUS intervention packages include soil and water conservation; soil fertility management; forestry and biological stabilization; homestead productivity intensification and income generating activities; water harvesting at community, groups and household level; small community level access road development; and small scale irrigation activities.

The major physical and biological achievements of MERET include:

  • treatment of over 130,000 ha of cultivated lands;

  • training of more than 2,600 technical field staff of implementing government partners;

  • preparation and distribution of over 20,000 copies of technical guidelines and training modules;

  • scaling up of homestead development and income generation activities;

  • over 800 water springs, 211 water ponds and 1,000 shallow wells constructed;

  • construction of more than 20 farm dams and 50 overflow dams;

  • plantation of over 300 million tree seedlings in degraded lands;

  • over 26,000 ha of degraded land closed & planted with trees (rehabilitated);

  • construction of over 1,000 km of gully check dams;

  • construction and maintenance of over 2,000 km of feeder roads;

  • promotion of compost making in all regions;

  • result-based monitoring and evaluation system established and made functional at all levels.

Name of Primary Contact Person: Arega Yirga

Title of Primary Contact Person: National Programme Officer

City: Addis Ababa

File: WFP_Ethiopia_MERET_Project_CisD.pdf



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