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Nature-based solutions

The problem

Wabi-Shebele and Gelale-Dawa, Omo-Gibe and Baro-Akobo, and Rift Valley and Awash basins are three eco-regional clusters in Ethiopia where uncoordinated and unregulated development, combined with persistent poverty, are driving unsustainable natural resource use and undermining the resilience of rural communities.

These areas struggle with soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss, declining watershed management and degrading rangelands. High population growth is leading to more people cutting down trees in protected forests for construction and firewood.

Agricultural potential is being lost due to land and soil degradation, reducing farmers’ food security and incomes. Meanwhile, non-agricultural opportunities are underused and poorly organized. And with limited access to resources, sustainable knowledge and market opportunities, comes competition and conflict.

These varying problems are further aggravated by high unemployment, gender inequalities and climate change, putting marginalized communities into even more vulnerable situations.

What have we done so far?

Between 2017 and 2022, Farm Africa led a consortium implementing the Sida-funded Growth for the Future (G4F) program, which sought to improve the profitability of people’s livelihoods in Ethiopia in an environmentally friendly way.

The program's six projects took place in different settings, but were linked by shared aims to kick-start economic development, build communities’ resilience to climate change and conserve biodiversity. The program benefitted approximately 2.5 million people in the Oromia, SNNPR, Amhara, Tigray, Benishangul, Somali, Gambella regions and Addis Ababa city administration.

What are we doing?

The four-year Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable and Inclusive Development (NSSID) program will reduce poverty, build communities’ resilience to climate change and protect the environment through five mutually reinforcing outcomes:

  • Protecting, conserving and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Improving sustainable food and nutrition security.
  • Supporting communities to earn money from environmentally friendly businesses.
  • Supporting communities to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reducing resource-based conflicts through gender-sensitive inter-community peace and conflict resolution.

The program will benefit over 87,000 households, including smallholder farmers, community-based organizations, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises and community leaders; with special attention given to building the resilience of women and young people.

Using an integrated landscape management approach, the program will work with communities to sustainably manage forests, rangelands, parks, protected areas and wetlands.

We will help farmers to grow and sell nutritious crops using climate-smart agricultural techniques, while also helping local people to earn money from the production and sale of non-timber forest products.

The program will be implemented in eight regions and one city administration in Ethiopia, but the reach will extend beyond Ethiopia, benefitting neighboring countries such as South Sudan, northern Kenya, and Somalia through improved watershed management and wildlife, biodiversity and forest conservation efforts.

The initiative builds upon our experience over the past five years, as well as the extensive technical and operational knowledge of the diverse members of the consortium implementing this program.

Who are we working with?

The program is funded by Sida and will be delivered by a consortium of nine partner organizations: Farm Africa (lead), SOS Sahel Ethiopia (SOS-E), Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action (MELCA), Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA), ORDA Ethiopia, Population Health & Environment - Ethiopia Consortium (PHE-EC), Union of Ethiopian Women and Children Associations (UEWCA), Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), International Water Management Institute (IWMI).