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Monday, December 12, 2016

Photo from UNESCO
"Today, the Sidama area has only a small number of schools, and inadequate health services, though primary education has increased recently. The people have repeatedly complained that Sidama does not have regional autonomy in the country and asked for the government to give the Sidama people their own region."


They number 12 million (4.01% of the population) of whom 149,480 are urban inhabitants, the third most populous ethnic group in Ethiopia. Their language is called Sidaamu-afoo, which according to the 1994 national census was the mother language of 99.5% of this ethnic group. According to one authority, the majority of the Sidama practice their traditional beliefs, and only in the 1960s that European missionaries came to their region did any leave that faith. However, according to the 1994 national census, only 14.9% practice traditional beliefs while the majority (66.8%) are Protestant, 7.7% Muslim, 4.6% Catholic, and 2.3% practice Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Recently, this writer met Abebe Bedasso who resides in Sheha Gekele Kebele, Wondo Genet Woreda in South Nation and Nationalities and Peoples State.
When we arrived at his home, he had been preparing coffee bean for sale. He left his work behind and took us to a place where there was a big hole found at the back of his house. This writer asked him, "What is it?" He replied then "a bio-gas." Previously, his neighbors had been using enormous firewood to meet their daily energy demand. They did not realize the great impact the deforestation can bring on the environment.
Unlike the previous days, things seem to change. Thanks to bio-gas; the forest has not been denatured to ash. When Abebe was asked the purpose of the bio-gas. He responded, "I am using bio-gas to cook every thing, except Injera." But, still he uses much of firewood to cook Injera due to lack of oven. Bio-gas has also been serving him to cook other foods and as a lamp for their home.
Obviously, animal ruin can serve as an input for bio-gas preparation. Previously, they took the ruin to their plot and make it dry to replace firewood. Unfortunately, the smoke that has its own impact on health comes out of it. On the contrary, these days, no smoke observed since the animal's ruins are used for bio-gas preparation. After extracting the bio-gas, the by-product would be used on the farm land to increase agricultural productivity, especially coffee.
The experience of farmer Abebe who has been identified as a model farmer should be scaled up across the nation. In the Woreda, including Abebe, few individuals have got a chance of benefiting from bio-gas service. In this regard, Oromia State Wondo Woreda Water and Energy Bureau Energy Core Process Owner Zelekash Demisse told this writer that though her office has been striving to scale up this best practice to other beneficiaries, they are facing shortage of finance.
Though the farmers have understood the benefit of bio-gas, they could have the capacity to cultivate it. "We have no capacity to supply input and install the bio-gas for the farmers. Only few farmers are benefiting from the bio-gas services through the support that have got from various donors. Considering endless benefit of bio-gas, some four farmers have been installed through spending money from their pocket."
"When farmers heard this, they retreat back," she said. Besides preventing deforestation, bio-gas has huge economic benefits. The health problem that comes out of smoke has also been resolved. Indeed, except the cost needed to install the bio-gas facility, it does not require additional investment. Considering multifaceted benefit of bio-gas, Zelekash has requested assistance of donors to further expand the bio-gas services for more farmers. Though Hawassa University and Wondo Genet Forest and Natural Resource College have given unreserved support providing input for bio-gas, it is not as per the desired level, she said.
Research and Technology Transfer Coordinator Dr. Motuma Tolera at the college said that the College has been making various activities. Accordingly, besides teaching and learning process, the collage has a mission of conducting research and providing community service to make the public beneficiary. The research results have not been putting on the shelf, he said. Instead, they are reaping fruits.
Producing huge amount of fish in a small plot of land, protecting ecosystem, increasing productivity in some selected fruits, expanding bio-gas are some of the research that bear fruits. By and large, over 21 researches have been conducting in Wondo Genet and Wondo Woredas. Though the College has been making various researches regarding bio-gas, the research conducted has not efficient, as beneficiaries said.
Collage Community Service Coordinator Samuel Bekele said that the College has given prior attention to other research areas, that is why, it declines to provide input support for bio-gas. But, the professional assistance has still been providing to farmers. "We work jointly with woreda administration and various NGOs, he said. Because, there is limitation of budget.
The prime measure taken to reduce the impact of climate change is preventing deforestation. To make this happen, it is essential to control deforestation through expanding bio-gas. Best practices that observed in Wondo Genet woreda should be replicated in other villages across the country.