The yellow wheat fields billowed in the wind on the horizon. At first glance, the gently hilly area looks fertile and productive. But looks can be deceiving.
Ethiopia has been severely affected by climate change. Soil erosion, shrinking water sources and frequent droughts have caused crops to fail. Whilst the area of farmland is large, each family has only a small corner to harvest. For the countless Ethiopian families who live on the crops from their small fields, the effects of the climate crisis are threatening their very existence.
“I see how much the farmers suffer,” says local school principal, Kedir Abdo Ketebo. “The depleted soil brings less and less income and the families are becoming increasingly impoverished.”
This is where the role of young people becomes crucial. Kedir believes that educating his students on climate change is key to helping the community.
This is exactly what has been happening in Eteya. Young people are working with SOS Children’s Villages to learn about climate change, plant trees, upgrade watering systems and improve farming methods. This programme is equipping young people with the necessary skills to help their communities adapt to the changing climate.
“If the climate is good, we are fine too. If the climate is bad, the plants die and we will starve.”
Tadelech is one of the students taking part in the project. At 16 she is determined to become a role model. She will pass on the lessons she has learned to her future children but also to her parents and community.
Environmental and climate protection is closely linked to food security. So, if we manage to contain the effects of climate change and exploitative agriculture, we will also fight hunger and rural exodus at the same time.
In addition, a few years ago the government began its “Green Heritage” initiative. Green Heritage is a re-forestation project that aims to plant 20 billion trees in five years. SOS Children’s Villages is participating in the initiative by planting 17,000 trees within the grounds of six schools.
“Our aim is to create an awareness that everyone is responsible for the environment and thus for their future and that of future generations.” – SOS project manager Tadesse explains.
Projects like this are essential in preparing communities for the ever-growing challenges of climate change.
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