Trees for Cities’ first fruiting orchard completed in Ethiopia
Local communities harvest their ‘urban fruits’...
Trees for Cities is delighted to announce the successful completion of the charity’s first fruiting orchard in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and a new partnership with the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society with more sites identified for future planting across Addis Ababa.
The first planting project saw the planting of a banana, lemon and avocado orchard in the Bambis area of Addis Ababa. Over 100 trees were planted in a site which was previously a wasteland. Working with the Gashe Aberra Molla Project (GAM), who have secured a lease on the Bambis site from the local government, which means the land is protected as a community resource, young homeless people were employed to prepare the site and carry out the planting and maintenance of the orchard; this has given them the opportunity to escape life on the streets and receive training in horticulture. The project was organised with the active support of the Mayor of Addis Ababa and the British Embassy in Ethiopia. Trees for Cities was delighted to work with GAM on this initiative and the charity is exploring other potential partnership projects with GAM which was set up by prominent Ethiopian artist, Sileshi Demissie, as a non-governmental organisation with the aim of ‘cleaning, greening and beautifying the urban environment in Ethiopia, with job creation opportunities for the jobless’.
Tekahun Basha, project co-ordinator for GAM, says: “Trees for Cities and Gashe Aberra Molla have come to the rescue by supporting the fruiting projects in Addis Ababa. This is a great initiative from both an environmental and social perspective. It will increase green urban spaces, help create a fresh urban environment and protect soil erosion. From a social angle, it will generate work and income for the unemployed, encourage the planting of fruiting trees and produce fruits as nutrition. “
The Bambis fruiting orchard and the wider work in Addis Ababa was made possible through the generous support that Trees for Cities has received from Good Gifts. Hilary Blume, Director of Good Gifts and a Patron of Trees for Cities, says: “I am delighted that the three gifts we offered, ‘Prepare the ground’, ‘Trio of fruit trees’ and ‘Budding horticulturalist’, have enabled Trees for Cities to create their first fruiting orchard in Addis Ababa. Our ‘Good Givers’ enjoyed being able to contribute directly to the project, knowing their donations would be used exactly as described in the Good Gifts Catalogue.”
Whilst the British Ambassador to Ethiopia, Bob Dewar, commented: “It is great to see a British charity like Trees for Cities working with local organisations in Ethiopia on initiatives that both beautify the environment as well as providing jobs and security in a very practical way at the local level.”
Trees for Cities’ work in Addis Ababa is also being supported by Alpro Soya through their wider partnership with the charity and John Alloway, Commercial Director for Alpro Soya, added: “Alpro believes passionately in both sustainability and healthy living and is delighted to be supporting Trees for Cities’ work both in Ethiopia and the UK – for us, fruiting orchards that provide training and employment for local people as well as a healthy fruit harvest is a fantastic example of best practice.”
Following the success of this initial project Trees for Cities is now working on a second phase of activity in Addis Ababa. Whilst GAM works to renew its licence to operate, a new partnership agreement has been signed with the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society that will see many new fruiting tree orchards created in community spaces in the heart of the city. Women’s and youth groups, in addition to the unemployed and those on low income, will be employed to plant both small and large orchards in a number of designated sites. Graham Simmonds, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, says: “Addis Ababa is a city with many pockets of urban wasteland and our long-term aim is to work with local people to transform these areas into thriving green spaces.”
Trees for Cities is an independent charity that plants trees and re-landscapes public spaces in urban areas of greatest need. The charity’s vision is to stimulate a greening renaissance in cities around the world that will impact on global warming and beautify the urban landscape, as well as encouraging greater social cohesion through the active participation of local people. A special effort is made to involve children and young people in all of the projects. The public can get involved by sponsoring trees, registering as a volunteer, enrolling in training programmes and going to fundraising parties – see www.treesforcities.org for more information.
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