Tag Archives: environment

A Partnership Project

5 Aug

So my friend Sally from Bonga down south, has started a fundraising campaign for a project that involves Gondar. It’s basically a training program for environmental tourism. I’m a co-signer on the grant and have helped her with contacts in Gondar and the Simiens. Please send it along if you want/and donate at the link.

Bonga, Kafa Zone, Ethiopia

Bonga, Kafa Zone, Ethiopia

Here is her/my project:
Hello friends! I send my best regards and hope that you are well. I am
writing to ask for your help and support. I need to raise funds for a
sustainable development project as part of my Peace Corps service.
Please find details below, and the link to my project here:
https://donate.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=donate.contribute.projDetail&projdesc=14-663-028

“Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to
everything else in the universe.” -John Muir

We are one world. Try as we might to preserve one little corner of it
– a national park here, a bird sanctuary there – that effort is lost
without thousands of similar efforts far away from us; we are all
connected. Many of us who work in environment-related careers remember
a formative experience as an intern or volunteer, learning both love
of nature and the skills to communicate that love to others. This
project intends to provide such a formative experience to promising
young environmental leaders in Ethiopia, by sending interns from the
newly formed Makira Tour Guides Association in Bonga to  learn with a
more established tour guide operation in northern Ethiopia.

Bonga is a developing town of around thirty thousand in the southwest
administrative zone of Kafa. Nestled in breathtakingly beautiful cloud
forests, Kafa Zone was recently declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
This designation recognizes Kafa’s complex ecosystems supporting
natural coffee and abundant wildlife; it also aims to provide means
for sustainable development and poverty alleviation for Kafa’s one
million inhabitants. As the population here grows, there is more
demand on forest resources; work is being done to promote sustainable
use of these resources, as well as to introduce alternative
livelihoods such as ecotourism. Well over a hundred thousand hectares
of forest here preserve millions of tons of carbon dioxide, besides
supporting unique biodiversity and a landscape known as the
“Birthplace of Coffee.”

Members of the Makira Tour Guides Association here were trained two
years ago through a project run by Naturschuzbund Deutschland and the
Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society. However, while these
and other organizations have been working hard to promote Kafa as a
tourist destination, the new guides have not had much practice. A
refresher training I ran this year as a Peace Corps Volunteer shows a
group of eager, but untried guides, with little knowledge of how to
structure a tour, provide for customer needs and comfort, or market
their product to the world. By contrast, Simien Mountains National
Park in Ethiopia’s north has been welcoming tourists for decades. The
leader of Simien Trek Tour Company (www.simientrek.com), Shiferaw
Asrat, has an easy command of the tools of his trade. He has agreed to
accept two representatives of Makira TGA to intern with him for four
weeks, observing and apprenticing with him, then drafting their own
two-year plan to bring back to their association in Bonga.

So many fundraising efforts by charity organizations in the developing
world involve acquiring stuff: food, construction materials, water
filters, medicines, supplies. This effort aims to spend money on
building capacity, by forging connections between Ethiopians
themselves. It is a relatively small investment – the total I need to
raise is under $2000. But this small amount could get this business
off the ground and help these rising leaders to benefit their local
community in a sustainable way.

Thank you for all that you do for the environment and the development
of our world.

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Camp GLOW Gondar 2014

2 Aug

Some photos from my second Camp GLOW and Gondar’s 6th Annual. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is a worldwide Peace Corps program. Gondar, Ethiopia was the first Camp GLOW in Ethiopia and continues to be the longest running thanks to hard working volunteers in the region. This year we had five themed days: Gender, Education, Environment, Health, and Leadership, with lifeskills, volunteerism and just general awesomeness making their appearance. Here are some photos from the week.

 

Some Goal 2 - teaching the girls how to throw an American football

Some Goal 2 – teaching the girls how to throw an American football

morning sport

morning sport

Girls Bill of Rights. From the girls themselves

Girls Bill of Rights. From the girls themselves

Strong women gallery walk

Strong women gallery walk

Learning about Michelle Obama

Learning about Michelle Obama

Vision boards

Vision boards

Brittany leading an energizer

Brittany leading an energizer

We had guest speakers throughout the week

We had guest speakers throughout the week

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reading her strong woman statement

reading her strong woman statement

breaking the pinata with her "strong woman" statement

breaking the pinata with her “strong woman” statement

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Permagardening

Permagardening

giving nutrients to the soil through charcoal, eggshells, and compost

giving nutrients to the soil through charcoal, eggshells, and compost

fertile ground

fertile ground

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Working in Katie's yard

Working in Katie’s yard

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getting their hands dirty

getting their hands dirty

Vision Boards

Vision Boards

Hyena and Sheep game

Hyena and Sheep game

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Malaria Freeze Tag

Malaria Freeze Tag

I was a mosquito

I was a mosquito

Condom demonstration

Condom demonstration

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RMPs - Reusable Menstrual Pads

RMPs – Reusable Menstrual Pads

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Talent Show- Injibara dance

Talent Show- Injibara dance

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"What is a leader?"

“What is a leader?”

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blind leading the blind...

blind leading the blind…

The group at the Gondar Castles

The group at the Gondar Castles

Video

Gondar Camp GLOW Video

7 Sep

After battles with incompatible video, computer crashes, and awful editing software, I finally scraped together the 2013 Camp GLOW video. Sometimes simple is best. And putting the video together made me smile more over the past few days than anything else. Big thanks go to our partners the University of Gondar and Addis Ababa CCL Girls. And we wouldn’t be anywhere without funding from Peace Corps and PEPFAR. Last Camp GLOW post I promise! (until next year!)

Camp GLOW – Environment Day

9 Aug

Environment Day started with tree cookies (the anatomy of a tree), picking up litter for collages, making soaps and salves, and composting. The next day we drove to the Agriculture college at the University of Gondar (who graciously hosted us for the week) and built an herb spiral garden in their entrance. At night we also screened a few Planet Earth episodes – “Mountains” actually feature the Simiens, which are just north of Gondar.

One my girls from Gondar has already called me saying she is building an herb spiral in her compound with her family. Permagardening and taking skills home for the win!

picking up trash for the "Litter We Know" Collages

picking up trash for the “Litter We Know” Collages

making soap

making soap

oil for salves

oil for salves

Ronny teaching about composting

Ronny teaching about composting

Herb Spiral Garden

Herb Spiral Garden

Getting dirty for permagardening

Getting dirty for permagardening

planting seeds - these are peppercorn I believe

planting seeds – these are peppercorn I believe

Camp GLOW – An Overview

5 Aug

Over the past few months a lot of sweat, tears, and planning have gone into putting together a weeklong camp for girls across West Amhara at the University of Gondar. Camp GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) is an international Peace Corps program and Gondar’s camp is the longest running Ethiopia. When Camp GLOW first started in Ethiopia, there was only one camp – Gondar. This year, there were 12 camps around the country. Though legacy aside, each year the leadership team comes in new, and this year G8 (my group) and G7 (4 months ahead) took the reins. And clearly Gondar still dominates : )

Group shot at Fasil Castle

Group shot at Fasil Castle

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We broke the camp down by days: Gender Day, Education Day, Health Day, Environment Day, and Leadership Day. We chose girls through an essay contest and looked for qualities of leadership, community volunteerism and how they had overcome issues of gender inequality.

I’ll break down each of the days in its own blog post (with lots of photos), but in addition to all the learning, there was lots of fun, energizers, and even a few tears throughout the week as the girls got to know each other and bonded.

Gondar Girls

Gondar Girls

The goal was for these girls to bring back skills, and motivation to their towns. My Gondar girls have already called me to help them set up a visit to the Mission of Charities (an off-shoot of Mother Teresa’s work in Calcutta) to visit with the residents (mentally and physically disabled, abandoned children etc.) and sing songs.

We had talent shows, sport in the mornings, sang songs and even had a yearbook signing at the end. My job was “logistics” – facilities, meals, medical emergency planning, registration, and water (yes, we did have a water issue- it is Ethiopia). During the camp I did less with programming, and more behind the scenes work to smooth over issues so the girls would have a great week.

I think I can officially market myself as an event planner. If I can plan basically a week long conference in Sub-Saharan Africa in a foreign language, I think I can do your event… will be available Jan. 2015… hint hint.

And my unofficial job during the week was camp photographer. So enjoy the next few posts, the girls definitely enjoyed the week.

Closing Ceremonies

Closing Ceremonies

"make me the injera"

“make me the injera”

AJ leading an energizer

AJ leading an energizer

Yordanos pulls in Morgan for some Skiskista (shoulder shaking)

Yordanos pulls in Morgan for some Skiskista (shoulder shaking)

Rosa does some traditional dancing at the Talent Show - love that hair.

Rosa does some traditional dancing at the Talent Show – love that hair.

morning sport

morning sport

The Camp GLOW Yearbook

The Camp GLOW Yearbook

Closing ceremony tears... the girls made lots of new friends

Closing ceremony tears… the girls made lots of new friends

And for more photos continue to follow the blog this week, check out my facebook album – https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153109300440523.1073741829.640805522&type=1&l=e66c9e40e2

A Quick Preview – Camp GLOW

25 Jul

I have been busy this week with girls from all over West Amhara at Gondar’s Camp GLOW (the longest running in Ethiopia!). Here’s a preview of some of the activities we have been doing and how much fun the girls are having learning about everything from health to environment to leadership.

Picking up litter for collages

Picking up litter for collages

Making salves with oil and beeswax

Making salves with oil and beeswax

Reading her "I'm a strong woman because..." statement before hitting the pinata

Reading her “I’m a strong woman because…” statement before hitting the pinata

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Hitting the pinata to show that we are strong women!

Hitting the pinata to show that we are strong women!

Energizers

Energizers

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