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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Photo: Addis Journal
The last decade has seen a number of exciting new lodges make their debuts in different parts of Ethiopia. Though not yet numerous, the new breed of lodges are every bit as polished as their chic urban counterparts. The eco-friendly lodges have the advantage of protecting the heritage and culture of the land whilst at the same time increasing in a small way, knowledge and understanding of this country. In a series of posts, Addis Journal will feature ten unique spots that are spread out in every direction from the capital. The lodges are chosen for their spectacular locations, outstanding guest amenities and commitment to conservation.
Located in the outskirts of Yirga Alem town, midway between Awasa and Dila, Aregash Lodge is by far the most attractive of those lodges. 317 kms away from Addis, it is only three hours drive. Situated in 11 acres of land, the bold and beautiful house deep in the wood is inspiring of awe in the true meaning of that word: a feeling of solemn wonder. 

Yirga Alem (meaning cool world) is one of the most biologically diverse flora regions in Ethiopia. It is home to the Sidama peoples who are known for their ingenuity, fortitude, and sense of the outdoors. Bamboo is the material used for the framework of their beehive-shaped tukul and is covered with grass and enset leaves as the rainy season approaches. Ten elaborately woven Sidama tukuls of such types are fitted out with modern facilities at Aregash Lodge, giving it impeccable environmental credentials.

Innkeepers Marica and Gregory Missailidis, owners of the Aregash Lodge, strive to render scene typical of the Sidama region at its best – the calm area bordered by immense forest. I have the good fortune of knowing and chatting with the couple on a number of times. I am a great admirer of their extraordinary taste in, and knowledge of, their hospitality. During our encounters, I have come to learn how Mr. Gregory is a true historian of the region and a skilled raconteur.

The couple makes it a point to provide a personalized and sustainable experience for visitors. After 75 years of growing coffee and oranges, it was Gregory’s mother’s dream that one day the family would do something worthwhile with the land-and-so –Aregash was named in her honor when it opened in April 2004.

“We’ve used Ethiopian made products as much as possible’ says Marica. ‘It took 3 years to complete the buildings and 10 months alone to make beds, chairs and other furniture using bamboo from 60km away. The curtains and bedcovers are made of fabrics, designed by a local entrepreneur. Everything reflects the local materials,” she adds with satisfaction.

There are twin, double and quadruple rooms with electricity and hot water. Each has a large separate lounge. The only draw-back is the lack of veranda or private outside space, which would be ideal given views over the forested valley below.

Yet a stroll inside the lodge would offer you stunning vistas of an oasis of coffee plantations and immense fig, guava, avocado, indigenous zigiba (podocarpus) trees. The fruit trees are harvested for the kitchen, as is the salad garden. You could also get closer to the Vervet and colobus monkeys and bushbuck that roam here. The reserve is home to endemic bird species such as white-cheeked turaco (a bird that has been idolized by the Sidamas for ages and today serves the symbol of the lodge) and black-headed oriole whose song will wake you up in the morning.

You can wander through the forest and be shown the cave where Haile Selassie’s daughter, Princess Tenagework hid for some time during the Italian invasion.

The gourmet restaurant is dining at its finest, with an emphasis on local, seasonal and organic food. At 6pm each night, guests gather for the coffee ceremony which has a grand finale of hyenas and vultures competing for morsels of meat in an area down below the viewing point.

There’s no TV or internet. If that’s your idea of hell, don’t go. But sitting around a bonfire under the glow of a million stars, it seemed rather heavenly to me.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, please! inform us. The views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Bloggers.
Photo from Arefe
Abstract: Bamboo is an abundant resource in Ethiopia and has a great potential for commercialization, which can drive rural development. In view of these realities, this study analyzed the state and determinants of small-scale bamboo commercialization in Ethiopia.
Data were collected from three major bamboo-growing districts (Awi, Sidama, and Sheka) and four urban centers (Masha, Hawassa, Bahir Dar, and Addis Ababa) via semi-structured interviews, group discussions, and questionnaire surveys with key actors along the value chain. Results revealed distinctive differences in proportion of cash income, value chain structure, and management engagement among the districts. Percentages of cash income were 60.15, 42.60, and 9.48 at Awi, Sidam, and Sheka, respectively. Differences were statistically significant between Sheka and both other districts (p = 0.05), but not between Awi and Sidama. The value chain structure showed that compared with Sheka, Awi and Sidama have a relatively large number of actors involved. The major factors explaining commercialization differences among regions were distance to market and presence of alternative forest products. Within Sheka, households with larger family size, higher education attainment, and access to training reportedly engaged more in commercial extraction. Therefore, we conclude that development of infrastructure for linking resource and consumer centers and expansion of extension education among producers may enhance the commercial engagement of producers and improve the accessibility of bamboo resources for commercial production.

Read more:

Sidama:Indicators and Determinants of Small-Scale Bamboo Commercialization in Ethiopia

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, please! inform us. The views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Bloggers.
There is no denying that Africa, and East Africa in particular, is currently buzzing with entrepreneurial activity. Adding to the buzz, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has signed a collaborative agreement with Microsoft East Africa Limited to grow entrepreneurship in the region.
The agreement sees Microsoft providing training and mentorship services to Ethiopia’s UNDP supported Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for 200 000 entrepreneurs. These services fall under Microsoft’s flagship entrepreneurship programme in Africa, the 4Afrika Initiative.
The initiative looks at helping African entrepreneurs accelerate their economic development as well as improve the continent’s global competitiveness.
“Microsoft brings this vision, as well as its vast experience in providing ICT skills, education and curriculum for developing countries, to the deal,” says the initiative.
This agreement makes perfect sense for the division, which launched a similar programme in Morocco recently to help foster female entrepreneurs in the country.
“Entrepreneurs hold the key in driving innovation and long term competitiveness in the African economy. Microsoft’s partnership with UNDP to support 200 000 entrepreneurs in Ethiopia is the first step in driving this growth,” says Amrote Abdella, Director Startup Engagement & Partnerships Africa Initiatives at Microsoft.
Here is what the agreement with the UN in the Ethopia entails for senior Microsoft executive:
  • Provide support, including mentoring entrepreneurs on strategy and marketing
  • Support the best innovators and nominate them for the 4Afrika Innovation Grant Award
  • Provide access to Microsoft BizSpark, a global program that provides free software to startup entrepreneurs
  • In future, help entrepreneurs exchange products and service and gain global recognition through the Microsoft Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) portal
The partnership also provides opportunity for micro and small businesses as well as aspiring entrepreneurs to build their business through a canvas called “Build Your Own Business”.
This is UNDP Ethiopia’s first private sector partnership.
“The goods and services offered by Microsoft provides a unique opportunity to unleash the potential of young and budding entrepreneurs. This will help them to play a vital role in the economic growth and transformational development of Ethiopia,” said UNDP’s Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu.
This is not the first partnership between the two organisations. According to a release by Microsoft, both organsisation have successfully partnered in the past in numerous countries to promote sustainable development, eradication of poverty, advancement of women, good governance and the rule of law. In this new partnership targeted at Ethiopia, the collaboration will focus on addressing some of the principal challenges faced in building resilient nations, by empowering citizens and preparing them to join a dynamic and innovative 21st century workforce.
“It is critical to develop the capacity, knowledge and skills of local entrepreneurs who will stimulate local economies. We look forward to working with the UNDP in taking innovative business models to scale,” says Eric Odipo, Country Manager of Microsoft East and Southern Africa.
አዲስ አበባ ነሐሴ 8/2006 በኢትዮጵያ ለመጀመሪያ ጊዜ የተባባሩት መንግስታት የልማት ፕሮግራም እና በምስራቅ አፍሪካ የማይክሮሰፍት ድርጅት 200 ሺህ ኢትዮጵያዊያን  ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን ለማብቃት የግል ዘርፍ የትብብር ስምምነት ተፈራራሙ።
የልማት ፕሮግራሙ ለኢዜአ እንደገለጸው ስምምነቱ ሁለቱ ደርጅቶች በኢትዮጵያ ለሚካሄደው የስራ ፈጠራ ፕሮግራም ለ200 ሺህ ስራ ፈጣሪዎች የስልጠናና የክትትል አገልግሎት ለመስጠት ተስማምተዋል።
እነዚሀ አገልግሎቶችም አገር በቀል ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን በማብቃት የአፍሪካን ኢኮኖሚያዊ እድገት ለማፋጠንና በዓለም ተወዳዳሪነቷን ለማሳደግ  የማይክሮሶፍት ፎር አፍሪካ ኢኒሽዬቲቭ አካል ይሆናሉ፡፡
ስምምነቱ በስራ ፈጠራ ዙሪያ የሚከናወኑ ተግባራትን ለማሳደግ ያለመ ነው።
በስምምነቱ መሰረት ከፍተኛ የማይክሮሶፍት በጎ ፍቃደኞች ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን በመከታተል በስትራቴጂና በገበያ ድጋፍ በማድረግ ምርጥ ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን በመደገፍ ለማይክሮሶፍት ፎር አፍሪካ ኢንሽዬቲቭ ሽልማት እጩ ያቀርባሉ።
በተጨማሪም ለጀማሪ ስራ ፈጣሪዎች ነጻ ሶፍትዌር ለሚያቀርበው ማይክሮሶፍት "ቢዝስፓርክ" ለተሰኘ የዓለም ፕሮግራም እድል እንዲያገኙ ለማስቻል ይሰራሉ።
በቀጣይም ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን ምርታቸውንና አገልግሎቶቻቸውን በማቅረብ  በማይክሮሶፍት ጥቃቅንና አነስተኛ ኢንተርፕራይዝ በኩል ዓለም  አቀፍ ተቀባይነት እንዲያገኙ ድጋፍ ይሰጣሉ።
ስምምነቱ ጥቃቅንና አነስተኛ ቢዝነስና ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን ለማነሳሳት ለተቀረጸው የራስን ቢዚነስ መገንባት በሚል ስያሜ  የስልጠና ፕሮግራም  ያካትታል፡፡
በኢትዮጵያ  የልማት ፕሮግራሙ ተወካይ ኢዩጌኔ ኦውሱ  በማይክሮሶፍት የሚቀርቡ ምርቶችና አገልግሎቶች  ወጣትና ተስፋ ሰጪ ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን አቅም ለማመንጨት ልዩ የሆነ እድል መሆኑን ነው የተናገሩት።
ይህም ለአገሪቱ ኢኮኖሚያዊ እድገትና የእመርታ ልማት ጉልህ ሚና  እንዲጫወቱ ያደርጋቸዋል ነው ያሉት።
በኢትዮጵያ የምስራቅና የደቡብ አፍሪካ ማይክሮሶፍት ኃላፊ ኢሪክ ኦዲፖ በበኩላቸው እንደተናገሩት የአገሪቱን ኢኮኖሚ ሊያፋጥኑ የሚችሉ አገር በቀል ስራ ፈጣሪዎችን አቅም፣ ዕውቀትና ችሎታ ማዳበር ወሳኝ ነው።
በማይክሮሶፍት በአፍሪካ የጅመራ ተሳትፎና የትብብር ኢኒሽዬቲቭ ዳይሬክተር አምሮቴ አበደላ እንደተናገሩት ስራ ፈጣሪዎች ፈጠራን በማጎልበትና የአፍሪካ ኢኮኖሚ  ለዘለቄታው  ተወዳዳሪ እንዲሆን  ቁልፍ ሚና አላቸው።
የተባባሩት መንግስታት የልማት ፕሮግራም ማይክሮሶፍት ብዛት ባላቸው አገሮች በዘለቄታዊ ልማት፣ ርሃብን በማጥፋት፣ በመልካም አስተዳደርና በሕግ የበላይነት ዙሪያ በትብብር እየሰሩ ይገኛሉ።