The project is underpinned by a guiding philosophy; to achieve real and lasting sustainability requires an approach which integrates physical, cultural, biological, and economic sustainability. This philosophy permeates all aspects of the project.
The Primary School
A number of isolated rural communities live in the mountains surrounding Lalibela, and are unable to access education. This has led to a lack of literacy and numeracy skills over many generations, including the current school age children in this area and their families. The nearest school is a six hour return journey on foot down a small track inaccessible by vehicles. This prohibits access to education, especially for children in their early years of education.
The project will construct a building to provide education and training, and also a central meeting place for the whole community, which will enable opportunities for capacity building. It will provide literacy and numeracy and the National Ethiopian Curriculum for Grades 1 to 8. The school will also provide education to adults so that they acquire some basic literacy and numeracy and also learn skills to farm sustainably and preserve the natural environment. Surrounding the school will be a garden, an agroforestry site, and a revegetation site, providing an example to the community for training and inspiration.
With access to education, sustainable technologies and sustainable farming practices the community will be empowered to manage their landscape to sustain themselves and future generations. It will also increase their employment opportunities, organisational capacity and cultural integrity.
The region is rich in unique ecological and cultural diversity, however poverty and land use practices are increasingly degrading the landscape, resulting in poor food security and livelihoods. A population boom has caused rampant deforestation. Devastating soil erosion, loss of soil fertility and lowered water tables have resulted. This has created increasingly less productive farms and lowered food security.
The utilization of all organic matter for fuel, rather than soil enrichment, lowers the lands’ capacity to function ecologically and productively. Local populations are encroaching on the Abuchagula nature reserve, one of the last remaining forests in the Abune Yosef Massif, home to a number of endemic and endangered species. Most community members have some reliance on international food aid for their survival.
Without access to education the community is unable to gain the types of skills and knowledge which would allow them to overcome the challenges they face. Providing an education will increase their employment opportunities. This project aligns with the Ethiopian government’s national policy and strategy to educate every child.