Semien Gonder Resilience Project, Ethiopia - SEGORP
The Project goal is to strengthen household and community resilience to climate change in three food insecure woredas (districts) in the Amhara region through the development of adaptive, absorptive, and transformative capabilities.
The project seeks to bring about change across different but complementary project components. The components contribute to the following outcome areas:
1. Improved management of natural resources (examples of key targets: 18 micro-watersheds have a management plan, 3.000 households obtain increased livelihood benefits from their surrounding natural resource base)
2. Improved market opportunities within and across livelihood zones (example of key target: minimum 25% year-on-year change in household income of those engaging in external market linkages)
3. Strengthened systems for improved human condition (examples of key targets: minimum 15% decrease of moderate wasting of children 6-59 months old, in a minimum of 65% of the project households, women are consulted and participate in decision-making on key areas of community development)
4. Strengthened institutions for improved governance and accountability (examples of key targets: at least 3 practices to improve community level accountability are institutionalised and 50% change, using qualitative tools, in capabilities of citizens and officials related to accountability over community development)
Three woredas, Jan Amora, Telemt and Debarq, in the North Gonder Zone of the Amhara region, were selected considering organisational presence, neglect in other interventions, and potential to serve as a pilot.
The most vulnerable households in the watershed will be supported. Further targeting will balance pro-poor considerations against the ability to bring about changes in households and communities. Livelihood diversification and participation will consider the importance of defining targets for women and youth, while children under 5 years will be targeted for improved nutrition and health. Disability inclusive criteria as well as other key criteria like household profiles will ensure pro-poor targeting. Approximately 15.000 people will directly benefit from measures of the project.
Partners will be local government structures, community-based organisations (CBOs) and local knowledge centers.
At the kebele level, watershed management committees, women or youth groups, and CBOs will facilitate activities with targeted households and community members. Support to integrated watershed management plans will focus on activities across the watershed such as: improved soil and water conservation techniques, rehabilitation of land through hillside terracing, improved water stewardship, reduction of herd sizes and introduction of zero grazing through alternatives for animal feed. This will be linked to the promotion of non-timber livelihood options and the introduction and promotion of perennials and agroforestry. Climate smart practices will be introduced to improve agriculture and livestock keeping.
The intensification of agricultural production provides an opportunity to expand and improve current market linkages and actively engage the private sector. Viable value chains will be explored through initial market assessments. Also, key to market development will be an improved functioning of cooperatives in the zone, for which a capacity development trajectory will be established. The project will also explore and support viable business service groups in the formalization and operationalization of their businesses and explore opportunities to expand off-farm income opportunities.
Another component will be technical and organizational capacity development to strengthen government capabilities contributing to more responsive and accountable institutions. Equally important are participation and inclusion of CBOs and women and youth in community level development activities.
Support will be provided for behaviour change activities that focus on improving health conditions through improved hygiene and sanitation practices, promotion of improved feeding practices for children under five, promotion of household consumption of nutrient rich foods and ensuring linkages to health services for the treatment of common childhood illnesses.
For most activities, government and communities are expected to provide a cost share against the start-up of an activity with the project providing a portion of the initial capital investment.
The Amhara Region is administratively divided into 10 zones, has a population of approximately 21.5 million people, can roughly be divided into two main parts: the highlands and lowlands and hosts one of the remaining protected areas of Ethiopia, the Simien Mountains. North Gonder zone includes 6 woredas all of which are food insecure and have limited livelihood opportunities in comparison to their neighbours to the West and South. The zone has one of the highest poverty indices in Amhara, and Ethiopia. The ability for households to improve their resilience against re-occurring risk factors such as drought also varies considerably with those belonging to the more extreme Tekeze lowland zone unable to even meet their basic requirements in a normal year. This is further exacerbated by their relative geographic isolation and political marginalization resulting in higher and more pervasive levels of poverty.
Most Ethiopians consume a poor-quality diet that lacks a diverse range of foods; with a mere 7.3% of children aged 6–23 months being fed a minimum acceptable diet. Most households have limited access to clean drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation practices are the norm with the majority still practicing open defecation. This is exacerbated by poor access to health services (low health seeking behaviour) and high incidences in childhood diseases. Stunting levels of children under five years of age in the Amhara region are amongst the highest in the country (stunting 46.3%; wasting 9.8% and child mortality 8.5%). Gender norms are entrenched, women do not participate in decision making at a household or community level and harmful traditional practices such as early marriage are highly prevalent. The zone has very high levels of unsafe migration. The natural resource base in the 385 watersheds has been subjected to a process of severe and protracted degradation resulting from inappropriate farming practices and a lack of alternative livelihood options. This is exacerbated by low budget allocations from the Region.
The intervention contributes to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 5, 13 and 15.