Wednesday, 20 March 2019


Returning to Addis was for us one highlight after another.
Ziad from CESO made a reservation for us at the Marigold Hotel.  We enjoyed the two weeks at this hotel very much.  It is basically the same location as the Washington Hotel where we were before, just around the corner as a matter of fact but on a quieter street.  The bonus for me was the pool and sauna.  Nice treat. 
As well as arranging our hotel location for us, Ziad called clients we had worked with before, setting up a schedule either to meet them at the hotel or go to their location to see the progress or changes.

 
Heruit’s Tinsaye Peanut Butter

Heruit surprised us with a new label for her Tinsaye Peanut Butter that she designed using the Kraft Peanut Butter Label we brought her in April 2017.  Notice how she carefully covered the Kraft label with plastic wrap!  She was able to use the Kraft ingredient label for her new peanut butter label. 
Heruit With Her New Peanut Butter Label
Heruit Had Saved The Kraft Peanut Butter Label We Had Brought
Her in 2017 and Used It As a Guide To Design Her New Label
Heruit's New And Improved Business Card
Heruit's New Peanut Butter Label
Complete With Nutrition Facts
He Says He Will Take It to the Head Chef
Heruit Presents A Bottle of Her Peanut Butter To the Sous Chef
At the Marigold Hotel. 

Here Is The Head Chef Tasting Tinsaye Peanut Butter.
The Chef Wants To Know What Other Products Heriut Wholesales.
Chick Peas Is One.  She Is To Make A List Of All Products To Present To Him With Prices.

We visited her factory in her home.  A lady was working, cleaning chickpeas for packaging.
               
                              
A Fresh Batch of Peanut Butter Is Waiting For The Labels To Be Added
                                    
         Heruit’s mother prepared the tea ceremony and a full meal of injera was ready for us!

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Are Other Farmers Adapting The Conservation Farming Methods?


Are Other Farmers Adapting The Conservation Farming Methods?

MSCFSO/CFGB Project Debre Marcos Ethiopia Feb 5 2019


Script from this movie clip:

Sam Vander Ende, Ethiopian Regional Rep for CFGB asks, “Scaling up the project, at some point you have a threshold of adaptors, then it will be spontaneously adopted by the community.  What evidence do you see so far of the 10-12 years that we have been engaged in watershed rehabilitation that the communities where you have been that they are now doing their own watershed rehabilitation”.

Yihenew, MSCFSO Program Director responds:  ”Good question.  Very difficult to address all the areas which are affected by land derogation.  If you group the highland areas, most of the farmers are totally covering the land with trees.  You go to other areas and farmers are taking their soil to the market.  So our objective is to show.”
“We can visit the first project we started in 2008.  We are the one who first started such works and we got the Green Award from the President.  So subsequently in the water shed area.  The community developed a sense of ownership.  That is one of the indications of what we have seen.”

Sam: How long did you support it?

Yihenew:  “Until they were ready to spread their wings.  One project, 3-4 years.    All you can do is show the farmers how to improve their livelihood starting from their soil.  After that the government can replicate to other areas.”

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Migbarey Senay Children & Family Support Organization/MSCFSO (February 5-6 2019 by Allan Sorflaten


Canadian Food Grains Bank Ethiopia
Project Tour
February 2, 2019


Migbarey Senay Children & Family Support Organization/MSCFSO (February 5-6 2019)
The MSCFSO project is in the final year of a three year food for work project In East Gojam of the Amhara Region. Land degradation here, like so many other areas of Ethiopia, has seriously affected soil fertility and availability of farmland and grazing land for households. This results in chronic shortfalls in food production at the household level, with households often facing up to a four month food gap each year. The Migbarey project addresses food security and food gap shortages using cash-for-work on watershed rehabilitation projects during food deficit periods. The work being done is transforming bare, deep gullies and hillsides into productive land with improved soil fertility levels.  These achievements have resulted in more successful harvests and improved food security in the affected areas. Working with nearly 2,400 farm households and nearly 900 landless youth, all at times participating in cash-for-work or food for work project related activities, the project overall stands to benefit more than 12,000 persons.



Our 2019 CFGB project tour group visited the central office and management staff of Migbarey Senay Children & Family Support Organization (MSCFSO) in Debre Marcos on late afternoon Feb 5th. The Migbarey organization is a Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC) partner in the project along with CFGB. CFGB’s ETH Regional Representative Sam Vander Ende formally introduced our group to the MSCFSO Program Manager Yihenew DeMessie, to the Organization’s Founder and Executive Director Mr. Meheretu and other staff members.  Mr. Yihenew then presented a power point describing various key aspects of this Migbarey Senay project. The points that he covered included the techniques being used in practicing conservation agriculture, particularly the use of green manure/ cover crops, minimum tillage practices in helping to restore soil fertility and the related application of agro-forestry, reforestation techniques and other measures being used for soil and water conservation and land restoration. All of these practices he said are central to the project and were viewed by our group on-site during morning and afternoon field visits the following day.
  
                                                                                                   
Below: Project Manager Yihenew Demessie Explains Key Components of the Migbarey Senay (MFCFSO)          




                                                                                                 
                                  

Mr. Meheretu is Founder and Executive  Director of Migbarey Senay Childrens Project                                                Family Support Organization (MSCFSO) pictured above with Allan and Lydia Sorflaten














As described by Sam Vander Ende of CFGB ETH, the problems of farmland productivity and food security in the Migbarey Senay/East Gojam area are largely associated with;
- land fragmentation and deforestation
- continual and sometimes erratic cultivation techniques
- the application of traditional farming practices that often are inadequate for the job
-  the prevalence of inadequate and unsafe water supplies   


 MSCFSO Project Manager Yihinew Demessie Discusses 
                         Teff Cropping Practicew with Dennis Reimer of Hudson Bay SK                                                                                                    
     
Teff is an annual grass native to the
                                                  northern highlands and the Teff seed                                                                         is a staple food crop for all Ethiopians.                   


                                                                               
          
As a consequence of the MSCFSO Project, issues of food security are being addressed by various activities to do with soil and water conservation, and by measures to control land degradation using reforestation activities that incorporate the use of tree seedling raised at on-site tree nurseries. In their application, cash for labor and food for labor options have had favorable impacts on the food security of participating households.

Results are being experienced as improved household incomes by participating families. Farmers now are finding that they are able to purchase some of their needed farm inputs, for instance through use of the revolving seed pools. As well, new crops are being recognized for their cash value in the market place, for instance sweet lupin seed. Women (farmers) are becoming socially and economically empowered through their abilities to become involved with and influential in the adoption of CA farming practices. Women farmers also are said to show better savings habits than the men. Farm Radio International increasingly has had an important influence on the rate of adoption of CA farming practices as more and more farmers throughout the East Gojam appear willing to give it a try.
                                       Several of the MSCFSO Project Participating Farmers

The project manager estimates that by next year there will be close to 6,000 participants using CA practices in Migbarey Senay. This represents an increase of about 50% from the 2,000 that were reported to be part of the original project in the year 2000. The average land holding he also said is about .72 ha or about 1 ½ acres.

MSCFSO Day Two Field Visit Showing Eucalyptus Hedgerow or
Bunde Plantings On the Contour for Watershed Erosion Control 

All of the above is not to say that gaining the needed further adoption is not without its challenges.
One such challenge is the existing lack of awareness about CA practices which is itself made that much more worse by the current mindset of non-participants who have the awareness but simply remain unconvinced. They are the potential late adopters. According to reports, some 14,000 overall have been reached with the message.

There are also other associated challenges. For instance, weed growth is probably one of the more major challenge in growing the crop using CA farming practices, particularly during the emergent stage.

Another challenge is associated with traditional cattle rearing practices that make it difficult at times to cultivate cropland, particularly if the cattle at times go untended. Some effort (intended or unintended) has been made to encourage ranging cattle to stay in certain pastured areas by constructing watering troughs at strategic locations separated from cropland areas. This is because leaches that often occur in traditional watering places can be a big (health) problem for the cattle. The permanent troughs if strategically placed can serve as an incentive to keep cattle away from the cropped areas.      
  
 MSCFSO Staff Honour CFGB Guests With Traditional Ethiopian Hospitality
                                                        at Debre Markos 





            

    
                                                

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Addis to Debre Marco:  Our First Introduction To The Ethiopia Country Side

                                                           




Addis to Debre Marco: Comments of interest on our trip:
·         We passed the Yaya village: The Yaya Village Hotel is a high altitude training center and resort in Ethiopia, located 11 kilometers north of Addis Ababa
·         Fuel comes from South Sudan by tanker.
·         Lots of cell towers along the way.
·         Newly paved road.
·         We saw a large acreage under glass where flowers are produced for export (Dutch initiative).
·         Ethiopia is believed to have the largest livestock population in Africa (CSA 2013; Solomon et al. 2003; Tilahun and Schmidt 2012). An estimate indicates that the country is a home for about 54 million cattle, 25.5 million sheep and 24.06 million goats.
·         We saw a number of large cement plants said to be locally owned.
·         There are communal lands for grazing
·         Reforestation is low priority
·         Water is problematic
·         Productive agricultural areas have 600-800 mm of rain fall but the rain fall is erratic
·         In some areas, aquifers come out of the hillside and are piped to stand pipes in villages
·         Gastro- Intestinal problems result from contaminated water.
·         Parasites are a problem
·         Harvesting is all done by hand.  Methods of threshing and winnowing go back to Bible times. 
·         Often stubble is left long for livestock to eat.
·         Livestock is often brought into the house.  Akasha leaves are spread on the floor to make it smell better.
·         Akasha wood is used to make charcoal (environmentally damaging but very widely used as a fuel for cooking in Ethiopia).·         We passed the Yaya village: The Yaya Village Hotel is a high altitude training center and resort in Ethiopia, located 11 kilometers north of Addis Ababa
·         Fuel comes from South Sudan by tanker.
·         Lots of cell towers along the way.
·         Newly paved road.
·         We saw a large acreage under glass where flowers are produced for export (Dutch initiative).
·         Ethiopia is believed to have the largest livestock population in Africa (CSA 2013; Solomon et al. 2003; Tilahun and Schmidt 2012). An estimate indicates that the country is a home for about 54 million cattle, 25.5 million sheep and 24.06 million goats.
·         We saw a number of large cement plants said to be locally owned.
·         There are communal lands for grazing
·         Reforestation is low priority
·         Water is problematic
·         Productive agricultural areas have 600-800 mm of rain fall but the rain fall is erratic
·         In some areas, aquifers come out of the hillside and are piped to stand pipes in villages
·         Gastro- Intestinal problems result from contaminated water.
·         Parasites are a problem
·         Harvesting is all done by hand.  Methods of threshing and winnowing go back to Bible times. 
·         Often stubble is left long for livestock to eat.
·         Livestock is often brought into the house.  Akasha leaves are spread on the floor to make it smell better.

·         Akasha wood is used to make charcoal (environmentally damaging but very widely used as a fuel for cooking in Ethiopia).

A Slideshow of This Part Of Our Trip is Found by pasting this into your http:

https://www.slideshare.net/LydiaSorflaten/cfgb-ethiopia-2019-community-project-participant-tour-addis-ababa-to-debre-markos?qid=cb101e31-24a7-4ec0-a6a4-f6352df85af6&v=&b=&from_search=1


Friday, 15 February 2019


Each meal we gathered, usually at a big table with Grace before the meal.   Following Breakfast, a different person was designated to present a devotional.  A great way to start the day.                                                                                                                                  We were warned early on to drink lots of water and protect ourselves from the sun.
We were asked what are expectations were for the upcoming trip.  One of the grain farmers hopes to see the circle completed. They want to see the people on the other end benefitting from the CFBG projects.  Some expressed fear of the magnitude of what we were going to see, concern that we would not be able to comprehend what we would see, others look forward to seeing the love and appreciation they have in their hearts, we want to see the hope the projects bring.  One is concerned that we don’t know and we will not understand.    We are advised to listen, ask good questions, to be ready to accept their gratitude.  We expect this experience will change us; we will not be the same people when we come back.  We understand there will be a blessing and a burden resulting from this experience.  The aim is to help them help themselves.    We are assured that the places we are going are quite safe but the politically based insecurity, although turned around by the new Prime Minister, is not totally turned around.  We are warned to be street smart, to lock our suitcases, to show respect, reciprocate, to expect respect in return.  Hope is that we will see beauty beyond the poverty, to look at the beggar as a person.
We are here as guests of our partners.  Be gracious receivers.  We are all biased.  We are encouraged to look at what we have in common.  To be open minded as we listen.  To look at what we have in common.
Monday Morning there was no mercy for anyone now on Ethiopian time (7-10 hours earlier that Canadian time!)  Quality programming brought the group to life.  A consulting firm called Desert Rose help people who come into the country to understand the country.  Martha’s background is in Social-Anthropology quickly made the topic very relevant.
·         Eighty plus classes or groups make up Ethiopia.  Very diverse culture.
·         The colors of the flag of Ethiopia have different meanings.  Martha said some say the Green is for the Holy Spirit, the Yellow for Peace and the Red for Sacrificial Blood.

·         There are three important pieces to the Ethiopian culture: 
1.    Relationships:
§  Ethiopians love to be around people.
§  Family is very important (they don’t want to be alone)
§  Family goes beyond the nuclear family.  For example, responsibility extends to cousins.  If financial help is asked for, obligations may have to be postponed until next month to help you cousin. This applies to education, medical help, immigration and more.
§  There are lots of orphans in Ethiopia.  Adoption is accepted.
§  People live in close family compounds.
§  There is not a good system for emergency police, ambulance.  Rely first on family, then on neighbors.
§  Network is important.  They make sure they have many people in their network.
§  It is not important what you know, it is who you know.
§  You can only depend on your network to get the services you need!  (Martha gave two life threatening examples in her own life)
§  1st responders in any crisis are the neighbors
§  The population of Ethiopia is 102 million ((2016).  Canada, by comparison was 36.2 million in 2016.  Canada  is 9 X the land size of Ethiopia!
§  Of the 41million children in Ethiopia, only 5 million are able to eat well.
§  There are many displaced people, refugees. 
§  There are 16 million hungry (the government says 8 million)
§  Diplomats have their own community network
§  Tourists?
§  Why would expats want to live here?
§  People want to go to a better life
§  For outsiders to build a new relationship, difficult
§  Outsiders are called Farage (people from the outside)
·         Four rules will help build relationships
1.    Smile:  If you smile, you are accepted by them.  A smile is a door opening to build a new relationship.
2.    Greeting:  How to acknowledge another person.  We deserve to be greeted.  Greet everyone every morning.  It is very important to recognize another person’s space. 
We had demonstrated to us the ‘shoulder bump hand shake, the three part cheek kiss, the hand shake touching the right arm with the left hand, all with appropriate eye contact and head position’.
3.    Smile and greet
4.    Greet and smile
§  Invest time to make social visit.  Family, friends, neighbors.
§  Weddings, funerals, sickness, birth, holidays-all times to make visits, to celebrate life.
2.    Status.  Power in Culture. 
§  Hierarchy vs Equality
§  Customs:
·         The man slaughters the chicken or goat
·         Inheritance is to the male child or children
·         There is an attempt to change the society.  For example, 50% of the cabinet are women
§  The Five A’s of Position in the Ethiopian Society
·         Ancestors- eg King or Queen, Indian caste, Somali
·         Achievement- graduated, appointed to a position
·         Age-older people have more respect
·         Assignment-government appointment
·         Appearance is important-(how I want to represent myself to you).  Clean shoes are important!
§  Criticism throws Ethiopians off.  It is painful.  People may become defensive or aggressive. 
§  Evaluation is stressful for senior management
§  It is hard to receive criticism, not easy to take
§  Here it is exceedingly hard to manage, the culture makes it difficult.  Everything is taken personally.  It becomes part of who they are.   The Ethiopian must be respected.
·         The Expat says, ‘I will respect you when I see results.’
·         The Ethiopian says ‘I will give you results when I am respected'.
§  If not greeted, the Ethiopian feels disrespected. 
3.    Holidays and Celebrations:
§  Religious       vs      Social
§  Christian:  Finding the cross;  Christmas Jan 7th, Epiphany: Baptism of Jesus, Easter
§  Muslim:  There are two official holidays in Islam: Eid Al-Fitrand Eid Al-AdhaEid Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting during daylight hours), and Muslims may invoke zakat (charity) on the occasion which begins after the new moon sighting for the beginning of Shawal (Google)
§  Desert Rose provides training for religious groups to understand each other.
4.    Social Events
§  New Year, Childbirth, Baptism, 1st Birthday, Graduation, Weddings, Funerals
§  Financial Burden:  For example, a wedding may include 1000 guests with 200 invited to a luncheon.  (They say the main reason for divorce in Addis is the wedding!)
§  Why is celebration important?
·         Escape from the Hierarchy
§  In Ethiopia, there is strong distinction between formal vs informal
·         If you want to talk to someone, have coffee, not a meeting.  Coffee is a green light for discussion.
·         In an informal setting, it is easier to give feedback.
 Poverty vs Sufficiency:
We then played a game where we were given a card representing a person in Ethiopia.  We were each given a small amount of money.  We were asked to pay our necessary bills.  Many of us did not have enough to pay our bills.  To make matters worse, we had to draw cards and deal with unexpected situations usually requiring money.  Some of us had been given extra money so you know what happened.  We had to call on neighbors for help. 
This brought up topics like:
·         Independence vs Inter dependence. Everyone is helping. 
·         Present vs the Future
·         Investing?
·         Networking
·         Resources
·         To do something bigger, if everyone contributes, we can do bigger projects
·         Money-invest in network, land and resources

This was a very valuable morning, one that we would think about many times over the duration of our travels to communities where we visited CFGB projects.

  https://www.facebook.com/desertroseconsultancy/