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Sheka Project Area

Sheka is a Zone in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region where one of the few remaining wet forests are found in Ethiopia. It is one of the few areas in the country where 47% of the total area is covered by forest. The forest of Sheka is known to have high social, economic and cultural values. It is where a number of big and small rivers originated and flow to different directions. As an example Baro River is started from Sheka forest.  As such it is believed that any manipulation disturbing that ecosystem will result in a serious disruption of the normal functioning of the natural habitat in the area and all its surroundings.

Shakichos’ Traditional Houses in the Forest

Despite these facts the Sheka forest is currently under a threat mainly from private investors who are interested in using the area for agricultural investment. Hence MELCA has determined to work in Sheka to contribute its part to the effort for the protection and conservation of the forest.

MELCA-Ethiopia  has   been initiating and involved in the implementation projects focused in the conservation of natural resources and livelihoods enhancement at varying degrees in five national regional states of Ethiopia among which SNNPR is found.   Sheka Administrative Zone harbors ‘Sheka Forest Biosphere Reserve (SFBR) covering a total area of 238,750 hectares has been one of the intervention areas of MELCA. As this area is one of great national and international importance, in partnership with the Sheka Zone Administration of SNNPR, MELCA has developed project proposal to continue supporting the development efforts government and other actors in the area.

Accordingly, the project namely “Enhancing Resilience of Sheka Community to CC through Strengthening Conservation of SFBR” being is financed by SOS-Faim Luxemburg and has been declared effective as of January 2021 to be implemented over a period of five years.

The development goal of the Project is to contribute to contribute to the poverty reduction of target communities through supporting environmental and eco-system conservation and livelihoods support. The project objective is centered at addressing some of the challenges the SFBR is undergoing so as to contribute sustainable conservation of the forests in the area while minimizing vulnerability of the targeted community to the effects of climate change. As a mitigation measure the project will work on enhancing the natural resource management and governance system with the aim to improve conservation of the forests through effective and eco-friendly interventions through adopting participatory process.

More specifically, the objective of the project is to enhance the adaptive/resilience capacity of communities living within Sheka Forest Biosphere Reserve (SFBR) to the effects of climate change through improving their livelihoods and strengthening conservation of the ecosystem.