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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo

Asosa is not in China, not even in Asia.    It is a district in the west of Ethiopia, on the Sudanese border.   To many people, bamboo means China.   But it’s not just panda food — mountain gorillas in Rwanda also live on bamboo.   About 4 percent of Africa’s forest cover is bamboo.In the district of Asosa, the land is thick with bamboo.   People plant it and manage the forests. They rely on its soil-grabbing roots to stabilize steep slopes and riverbanks, cutting erosion. They harvest it to burn for fuel, to make into charcoal sticks to sell to city dwellers and to build furniture.

Soon it may be much more.  Bamboo may provide a solution to a very serious problem:  deforestation.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of the people cook their meals over wood fires.  The very poorest cut down trees for cooking fuel; those slightly less poor buy charcoal  made from wood in those same forests.  Every year Africa loses forest cover equal to the size of Switzerland.  Terence Sunderland, a senior scientist at the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research, said that in southern Africa, even trees that can be used for fine carving, such as ebony and rosewood, are being cut down and made into charcoal.

Deforestation starts a vicious circle of drought and environmental decline.   Burning wood releases the carbon stored inside.   And deforestation accounts for at least a fifth of all carbon emissions globally.  As tree cover vanishes, the land dries out and the soil erodes and becomes barren — a major reason for Ethiopia’s periodic famines.

Reliance on hardwood fuel poses more present dangers as well.   It’s a woman’s job to collect firewood, and when trees are scarce, women must walk farther and farther to find it, an often dangerous journey.
Much cooking, moreover, is done indoors.  The resulting air pollution kills some two million people a year. Almost half the deaths are from pneumonia in children under 5.  Bamboo and charcoal made from bamboo burn more efficiently and cleanly than wood and wood charcoal
Sunderland is talking to several southern African governments about bamboo.  Farther north, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, a membership organization of 38 countries based in Beijing, is providing technical support for growing and using bamboo in Ghana and Ethiopia.
Hundimo Dedere is a farmer in Southern Ethiopia in Sidama zone, Hagere Salma Hula district. He is involved with bamboo resource management.
InbarHundimo Dedere owns and manages a plantation of African highland bamboo in Southern Ethiopia that was used as a model for modern bamboo cultivation and management training.
How does bamboo improve on hardwood?  Cut down a hardwood tree and it’s gone.  It will take several decades for another to grow in its place; it can take a century for a forest to grow back after cutting. But bamboo is a grass, not a tree.  Under the right conditions, it can grow a full meter a day — you can literally watch it grow.   It is also fast maturing.   A new bamboo plant is mature enough to harvest after three to six years, depending on the species.   Most important, bamboo is renewable.   Unlike hardwood trees, bamboo regrows after harvesting, just as grass regrows after cutting.  After it is mature, bamboo can be harvested every single year for the life of the plant.
Bamboo has other advantages.  Its roots grab onto soil and hold it fast.   Plant bamboo on a steep slope or riverbank and it prevents mudslides and erosion.  And bamboo is parsimonious with Africa’s most precious resource:  water.
“In Africa you want everything,” said Dr. Chin Ong, a retired professor of environmental science at the University of Nottingham in England, who was formerly a senior scientist at the World Agroforestry Center in Nairobi.  “You want firewood, you want to reduce erosion, to maintain the water supply, generate cash and employment.   Bamboo comes the closest — it gives you the most things.”
The need for firewood is now critical in Ethiopia; trees covered 35 percent of the country a century ago; by 2000 they covered just 3 percent.   Ethiopia is trying to reverse deforestation by planting trees, and it lags behind only China and India in sheer numbers — in 2007 alone the country planted 700 million trees.   But even a huge, continuing campaign may not be enough to reverse deforestation.  It has been a problem wherever people settled in Ethiopia.   The country’s capital had to be moved five times since the first century B.C., because any concentration of people quickly ran out of firewood. In the 1890s the problem was solved by importing eucalyptus from Australia — a tree that, like bamboo, is renewable.    The first plantations were around Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s new capital, which at times has gone by the name Eucalyptopolis.
But while eucalyptus trees provide a renewable source of wood, they starve other trees and plants of water, and rob water from rivers and reservoirs.  They gobble so much water that they are sometimes planted for the purpose of draining swamps.  By 1913, the government issued a proclamation ordering the destruction of all eucalyptus trees.   It was ignored.
In Ghana, Chinese experts taught a local man how to use bamboo charcoal and energy efficient stoves.
InbarIn Ghana, Chinese experts taught a local man how to use bamboo charcoal and energy efficient stoves.
In the last five years or so, Ong said, Ethiopia has realized that bamboo is a more profitable and greener solution. INBAR’s programis a four-year project financed by the European Commission and the Common Fund for Commodities, a United Nations organization.  The technology comes from China. The project provides bamboo seedlings and trains people to manage bamboo plantations.    It teaches villagers to build kilns to make charcoal, which they can sell to city dwellers (rural people in Ethiopia and Ghana can’t afford charcoal.  They burn wood. )   The program also promotes bamboo as fuel, and has helped village women to set up businesses making and selling a stove with a closed chamber that uses half the fuel of an open fire. In Ethiopia, the stove, locally made of iron and clay, costs only $3.
Coosje Hoogendoorn, INBAR’s director-general, said that while people in Ghana are slower to embrace bamboo because they can still find firewood,  Ethiopians need no convincing — there are hardly any trees left to cut down.
Bamboo is not the perfect plant.   Although the kinds of bamboo that grow in Africa are not invasive — some varieties that grow in cooler climates are — it can be very difficult to get rid of the networks of roots when the plant is no longer wanted.    While bamboo can tolerate dry conditions, like any plant it will grow more slowly with less water, and it cannot grow in desert climates — exactly where it is needed most.   And most bamboo is hollow, which means it burns more quickly than hardwood.  Fortunately, bamboo that grows in Africa’s lowlands is one of the few solid bamboo species.
Charcoal, of course, is not the only thing that can be made of bamboo.  Its tensile strength makes it a good construction material, and it is also used for furniture, flooring and textiles, among other things.   Paradoxically, harvesting bamboo to make durable goods is greener than not harvesting bamboo.  Here’s why: bamboo culms — the poles — do not live as long as hardwood trees, usually up to a decade. When an old culm decays, it releases carbon into the atmosphere. (The root system, which hold 30 to 40 percent of its carbon, last much longer.) This means that an untouched bamboo forest is a poor carbon sink.    Fortunately, the best way to turn bamboo into an excellent carbon sink is to make money with it — harvest the bamboo to make durable products before it starts its decay. Treated bamboo flooring or furniture will last as long as wood, storing its carbon the whole time.Because bamboo requires few nutrients, it can grow in soil inhospitable to other plants — not only does it thrive there, it can reclaim the land so other plants can thrive, too.  Its roots leach heavy metals from the soil, hold the soil together and draw water closer to the surface.   One example is a project in Allahabad, India, to reclaim land whose topsoil had been depleted by the brick industry.  In 1996, an INBAR project planted the land with bamboo.  Five years later, villagers could farm the land again.   Dust storms — a local scourge — were greatly reduced.   The bamboo also helped raise the water table by seven meters.   In 2007, the project won the global Alcan Prize for Sustainability.
In some ways, the challenge in Africa is not to introduce bamboo, but to persuade people and governments that it has commercial uses.  “We’ve taken policymakers from Africa to China and India where bamboo used in everyday life — and there’s still very poor adoption,” said Ong.   In some countries, for example, Kenya, making charcoal is illegal — a well-intentioned ban that seeks to prevent deforestation, but one that is impractical as long as people need to find their own cooking fuel.   “It is not effective to ban charcoal production,” said Jolanda Jonkhart, the director of trade and development programs at INBAR.  “It is more effective to promote charcoal production with renewable biomass sources such as bamboo.”
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በሀዋሣ ዩኒቨርስቲ ከሁሉም የትምህርት ክፍል ለተውጣጡ ተማሪዎች በስነ ተዋልዶ ጤናና ኤች አይቪ ኤድስ መከላከል ዙሪያ ትምህርት ተሰጠ፡፡ስልጠናው ጤናማ፣ ብቁና አምራች ዜጋ ለመፍጠር የሚደረገው ጥረት የሚያግዝ መሆኑም ተገልጿል፡፡የሀዋሣ ዩኒቨርስቲ ኤች አይቪ ኤድስ መከላከያና መቆጣጠሪያ ዳይሬክቶሬት ረዳት ዳሬክተር አቶ አለማየሁ አበበ እንደገለፁት የስነ ተዋልዶ ጤና እና የኤች አይቪ ኤድስ ትምህርት ማግኘታቸው ከነዚህ ጋር ተያይዞ የሚጋረጡ ችግሮችን አስቀድሞ ለመከላከል ያስችላቸዋል፡፡
ዩኒቨርስቲው ትኩረት ሰጥቶ ከሚሰራባቸው ዘርፎች አንድ ኤች አይቪ ኤድስና የስነ ተዋልዶ ጤና ችግሮች የተማሪዎች ችግር እንዳይሆኑ ማድረግ ነው ብለዋል፡፡ከሁሉም የትምህርት ዘርፍ የተውጣጡ ተማሪዎች በመገኘታቸውም አላስፈላጊ እርግዝና እና ሌሎች በሽታዎችን ለመከላከል ያገኙትን ትምህርት ለሌሎች ተማሪዎች ግንዛቤ ለመፍጠር እንደሚያሰችልም ጠቁመዋል፡፡  ይህም ውይይት የመማር ማስተማሩን ሂደት እንዳያስተጓጉል እና ጤናማ፣ ብቁ አምራች ዜጋን ለመፍጠር የሚደረገውን ጥረት የሚያግዝ መሆኑን ተናግረዋል፡፡
የደቡቡ ክልል ሀገርን እንወቅ የባህል ልማትና ቱሪዝም ፎረም ዋና መስራችና ስራ አስኪያጅ ወጣት አሸናፊ ግዛው እዲህ አይነት ውይይቶች ተማሪዎች በጋራ ማድረጋቸውንና ግልጽ ሆነው የመናገር ባህል እንዲያዳብሩ ይረዳቸዋል ሲል ተናግሯል፡፡በቀጣይም እንደዚህ አይነት ፎረሞችን በክልሉ ባሉ ዩኒቨርስቲዎች በማዘጋጀት እራስን ባለመጠበቅ የሚመጡ በሽታዎች በዩኒቨርስቲዎች ለመቀነስ እንደሚሰሩ ገልፀዋል፡፡በሌላ በኩልም ተማሪዎቹ የካምፖስ የፍቅር ሕይወት ጣጣ ወይስ አላማ በሚል ከነባራዊ ሁኔታ መነሳት ተማሪዎቹ በግልጽ ተወያይተዋል፡፡

እሮብ, 14 መጋቢት 2012 13:26

በኢትዮጵያ ፕሪምየር ሊግ ተስተካከይ ጨዋታ ደደቢት በአዲስ አበባ ስታድየም ሀዋሳ ከነማን 1 ለ 0 በሆነ ውጤት አሸነፈ፡፡

ደደቢት ከመሪዎቹ ጋር ያለውን የነጥብ ልዩነት አጥብቧል፡፡

የሳምሶን ከተማን ሪፖርት ከቀጣዩ ቪዲዮ ይመልከቱ፡፡

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2.16 Intermarriage between Conflicting Groups: The Case of the Arsi Oromo and the Sidama
(Girma Negash)
The basic objectives of this study can be summarized as follows:
      1. To bring to light and properly document the age-long intermarriage between the Arsi and the Sidama about whom little seem to be known thus far.
      2. To investigate the puzzling paradox how two peoples who perceive one another as
enemy, and often at war with each other, happen to intermarry.
      3. To identify specific reasons that induced Arsi-Sidama neighbours to look for a partner from a hostile group.
      4. To analyse the attitude of members of the two respective communities towards such cross-border marriages.
      5. To examine the progress of the intermarriage issue in a time perspective.
      6. To investigate the possible impact of this intermarriage on the conflict between the Arsi and the Sidama.
In pursuance of the outlined objectives of the study, a qualitative method of research was
employed. Historical sources of three categories were carefully collected and analysed: oral data, archival data and previous literature. Oral data are of great value where relevant written materials are few or hard to find. The oral data used in this study were collected through several trips to different localities along the Arsi-Sidama border. Despite the current dismal condition of our provincial archives, attempts have been made to get access to pertinent materials. The archives of Zeway Warada provided some valuable data to corroborate and counter check the oral information. Relevant secondary written materials (published and unpublished), though very
few, were also consulted. The following were the findings.
      1. Despite incessant and still active conflict between the Arsi and the Sidama, a large
number of people belonging to the two hostile groups are knitted together by cross-cultural marriages.
      2. The most important factor for the ever-increasing rate of Arsi-Sidama intermarriage is the extremely high rate of the Arsi gabbara (bride-wealth or bride-price). In consequence, those Arsi who either are unable or unwilling to pay the rather high Arsi gabbara have made it a strategy, since the distant past, to look for their partner in life among their southern neighbours (the Sidama) for a tolerable bride-price.
      3. Owing to the gabbara factor and other established traditions, intermarriage between the two has always been of the pattern that the Sidama almost exclusively provide the bride and the Arsi the bridegroom, and not vice versa.
 1 / 2Intermarriage between Conflicting Groups: The Case of the Arsi Oromo and the Sidama
      4. Intermarriage between an Arsi and a Sidama has never been an object of social
disapproval. Arsi young men have been taking the hands of Sidama girls for marriage just as they would take those of fellow Arsi girls.
      5. There has been a considerable rise in the number of Arsi-Sidama marriages in the wake of the Second World War. The state of affairs during the Derg regime (1974-1991) seems to have created an environment conducive to the further growth of the rate of Arsi-Sidama intermarriage.
      6. At a given locality, the extent of intermarriage and the intensity of the conflict are mutually interdependent. As one goes to the east, the relationship between the Arsi and the Sidama appears to be relatively more cordial than conflictive. Similarly, it is in this part of the common border that intermarriage between members of the two groups is rife. On the contrary, the western borderlands, where tense relationship and a high frequency of conflicts are inherent features, show a very low record of cross-border marriages. In sum, wherever there is a high rate of intermarriage the relationship is friendlier, and a low rate of intermarriage presupposes strained relationships.
From the history of the conflict during the past fifty years alone, the western borderlands to the west of the Addis-Awasa road have been haunted by frequent Arsi-Sidama conflicts. The realities in the east have been quite the opposite. The eastern borderlands have experienced major conflicts between the two groups in about fifteen years' intervals. Marriage ties and settled way of life seem to have been the most important contributing factors for the relative peace that the Arsi-Sidama neighbours of the east enjoy, as opposed to their western counterparts. This evidently is a substantial revelation, pertaining to the overall Arsi-Sidama relations, which can serve as a principal stepping-stone for policy makers, experts and civil servants ready to partake in any endeavour aimed at enduring peace and development in the region. For instance, the government can devise integrative projects that would narrow the distance between the two peoples and promote a sense of amity and togetherness. One such project could be poly-ethnic settlements at some volatile sites along the common border. The experience of Shamana, a locality exactly on the Arsi-Sidama border about 35 km to the west of Lake Awasa, is a useful lesson in this regard. Shamana, which used to be a traditional battle ground for the two peoples, dramatically changed to become a peaceful area following as resettlement scheme carried out by the Imperial Government in pursuance of the " Third Five Year Plan (1968-1973)". Establishment of commonly shared social services, such a schools and medical institution, at some border localities can gradually erode feelings of animosity and
bring members of the two communities closer. Furthermore, as far as resource, particularly land, has increasingly become the most conspicuous cause of disagreement, the government should facilitate grounds for equitable utilization of resources.