Between November 25 and 27, a total of seventy-one representatives from various Non-Governmental Organizations, as well as Parliamentarians, government ministries, and other stakeholders met for a three day workshop unde
Seed diversity is the basis of food security and food sovereignty. Seed is a community resource that has always been shared amongst communities. Local seed exchange between farmers and communities has been – and continues to be – the basis of agricultural development in Ethiopia. Seed developed by the local farmers represents up to 90% of all seed planted in the country. Even today, it is the farming communities of Ethiopia that are the nurturers of seed diversity and the producers of seed, not the governmental programs or the industry laboratories.
The results of a baseline study conducted by MELCA in 2005 on the situation and threats to Sheka Forest provide a framework for MELCA’s work to save the forest and bring about policy change on issues concerning environmental and community rights, and a focused and coordinated advocacy. Thus, five research works which focused Land use/Land cover changes, the impact of land use/ land covers changes on biodiversity, the impact of cultural changes on the people of Sheka and their traditional resource management practices, legal and institutional analysis for sustainable use of forest resources, and economic value of natural forest in sheka Zone have been sponsored by MELCA.
SEGNI in Oromiffa, one of the widely spoken languages in Ethiopia, means “seed”. Seed, for the agrarian rural community is a traditionally well-respected thing as it signifies continuity of generation. The acronym SEGNI, on the other hand is a program designed by MELCA to revitalize the transfer of traditional ecological knowledge and culture to the youth in schools.
MELCA means ford both in Amharic and Oromo language – two of the widely spoken languages of Ethiopia. It means a crossing point on a river, which is symbolically used to indicate the need to take people away from their misconception about local people and culture to an understanding and appreciation of traditional ecological knowledge. A river also signifies linkage with a source. If the source dries, the river also dries. MELCA emphasizes that culture is the source of identity and wisdom, and that the destruction or degradation of culture will result lose of a vast amount of knowledge and identity.
1. History of Establishment
The founders of MELCA are environmental practioners and lawyers. They have an extensive experience, both nationally and regionally, on issues related to environment and culture. MELCA arose out of their concern for the confusion that the public has on matters concerning traditional ecological knowledge. They are deeply worried about the current erosion and destruction of both biodiversity and culture. They sincerely feel that a wholesale adoption of western thinking and action is not a solution to Ethiopia. They believe profoundly that there are lots and lots of positive experiences in our culture which could be used to address the current ecological and social crisis that we have. The founders were airing their worry through national and international forums and are now convinced that it is by organizing themselves as a group that they can address their concerns in a focused and meaningful way.
2. Legal Status
MELCA (Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action) was registered in 2004 with the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Justice as a membership based association and renewed its certificate until October 28, 2013(Certificate No. 0348). It has a broad membership base, comprising, foresters, lawyers, ecologists, sociologists, environmentalists, youth groups and women’s associations, and currently has 60 members.
3. Organization and Management
Until 2012, MELCA Ethiopia had a general Assembly led by the renowned environmental activist and former General Manager of EPA, Dr. TewoldeBerhan G/Egziabher, who won the Alternative Nobel Prize (Right Livelihood Award). He was replaced by W/ro Mahilet Teshome, a lawyer, at the end of 2012, after serving for two terms as per MELCA’s article of association.
Under the general assembly, there is a board, which has five members. Until 2012, chairman of the board was again the renowned Ethiopian scientist, Dr. Melaku Werede who also won the Alternative Nobel Prize. He was also replaced by Ato Melese Damte, a law professor at the Ethiopian Civil Service University, at the end of 2012. Under the board there is the executive office lead by the Director and 24 staff members. We have focused our work in three forest areas of Ethiopia. The areas are the Sheka forest (SNNPR), the Bale Mountains and the Sebeta Suba Forest (Oromiya Region). There are three branch offices, at Dinsho, Bale Mountains, at Holeta, Menagesha Suba and the other one at Masha, Sheka Zone.
4. Vision and Mission Statements
To see bio-cultural diversity conserved for healthy ecosystem and sustainable life.
To work for a healthy ecosystem, vibrant culture and improved lives of communities in Ethiopia through developing and spreading innovative methods.
MELCA has more than 20 partners including government offices at regional, zonal and woreda levels, local non governmental organizations and CBOs as well as a number of non-Ethiopian non governmental organizations operating locally in other countries and internationally including Ethiopia.
MELCA-Ethiopia has recently produced a documentary film showing the history of the Sheka forest renowned for its rich bio-diversity.
Driving some 40 kilometers to the west of Addis Ababa, on the high way to Nekemte, we find the Town of Holeta. Holeta is the center of Welmera Woreda, which is one of the woredas
MELCA means ford both in Amharic and Oromo language – two of the widely spoken languages of Ethiopia. It means a crossing point on a river, which is symbolically used to indicate the need to take people away from their misconception about local people and culture to an understanding and appreciation of traditional ecological knowledge. A river also signifies linkage with a source. If the source dries, the river also dries. More