Our team recently had the pleasure of meeting her at our site in Amhara, Ethiopia, where she shared her hopes about the project. Mulenesh and the rest of the children in her community participate in different household activities, both in the home and in the gardens and farmland, where they plant trees, fetch water and help their parents harvest crops. Children play an active and important role in family life and so our tree planting activities are important to them too.
The project restores forest landscapes through tree planting and soil and water conservation approaches, and trains local families to plant trees in agroforestry systems in their homesteads. Mulenesh is keen for her family to get involved in the agroforestry component of the project for a number of reasons.
Trees have been shown to increase agricultural productivity by providing nutrients, water and shade for growing crops.
Mulenesh is more interested in the trees themselves, however. There is a plethora of trees that provide food, income and more, and Mulenesh is hoping to plant two in particular. She is keen to plant coffee (Coffea arabica) and gešo (Rhamnus prinoides), both of which will be among the species planted. Coffee production in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originates, is a longstanding tradition and gešo is extremely valued in Ethiopia for nutrition, medicine and religious purposes. It is also used in the production of tej and tella.
Trees in agroforestry systems contribute to cooling our climate as well. Converting agricultural land into more natural systems reduces its impact on the environment and, through the planting of trees, can help carbon dioxide sequestration and combat climate change.
For Mulenesh, “trees are important to regulate climate change and when we plant trees we will have good rain to produce enough food to feed us”.