End Review of Eritrea Community Based Forestry Project
The project area is located in the central highlands, comprising three zobas. The bigger part of the project is in Zoba Maekel, in which Asmara is also located. The project includes three sub-zobas under this administration; Serejeka, Berik and Galanefi, having 81 villages. Zoba Anseba includes one sub-zoba; Aditeklesan with 25 villages, and Zoba Gash Barka includes sub-zoba Logo-Anseba with 22 villages. The implementation of the project is being done by the zoba-administrators, having allocated field staff to work in the communities as well as in local administration. These areas have a population of about 223.000 people.
Eritrea had a tree coverage of about 30% a hundred years ago, now reduced to about one percent. Traditional methods of house-building demanded much timber and cooking is done by fire-wood and charcoal. Animals usually graze freely, eating upcoming plants. The deforestation has caused serious damage to the soil, affecting agricultural productivity and water supply. The selection of the central highlands as a pilot for a nation-wide effort was appropriated as the people living in these areas were most severely affected by the degradation of natural resources, and would best understand the necessity to take corrective action and best be motivated to take on full responsibility. This assumption has proved true as the targeted population has shown great interest and full participation.
The Project aimed at contributing to improve national food security through continuous public awareness on soil and water conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, and mitigate the effect of land degradation.
The concept of the project was to make farmers and communities take an interest in raising forest, which will be their own property to be harvested in a sustainable way for providing fuel-wood and timber for the household needs as well as sale for an income. A tedious communication work was to be made with local politicians, administrators, civil society organisations, community-based organisations, and in particular – each individual farmer.
The ten main activities of the project were:
o Management at central and local level, including monitoring,
o Training and awareness making at local and national levels,
o Procurements and input supplies,
o Raising seedlings and distribute to farmers,
o Land demarcation, distribution and preparation,
o Agro-forestry support to individual farmers,
o Forestation on communal lands for benefits and incomes to the communities,
o Mobilizing pupils and students to raise forest around schools and to contribute to community natural resource management,
o Support religious institutions to raise forests around churches, monasteries and mosques,
o Supply of fuel-efficient wood stoves.