Various development and humanitarian projects have been executed over the years. Accordingly, only few exemplary projects are presented below.
A) DAFI PROGRAMME
Refugee Status in Ethiopia
Protecting and assisting refugees is part of Ethiopia’s ancient culture through its generous open door policy. The country always extends welcoming arms to refugees on the basis of three major principles from which its refugee policy evolve; (1) maintaining its longstanding history of hospitality for refugees (2) meet its international obligations as signatory of both the UN (1951) and OAU (1969) refugee conventions and (3) to materialize its foreign policy of building sustainable peace with its neighbours through strengthening people to people relations.
Ethiopia is one of the largest refugees hosting country in Africa providing protection, relief and assistance to a total of 875,000 asylum-seekers and refugees by December 2017. The majority are originating from South Sudan (42.7%), Somalia (30.5%) and Eritrea (20.8%). There are also refugees from Sudan (5.1%), Yemen (0.2%) and other nationalities who constitute (0.7%).
Cognizant of the massive demand, UNHCR, the Ethiopian government, donors and the international community are exerting efforts and making commitments thereby showing their global solidarity to the world’s refugee crisis. Most importantly, the Government of Ethiopia has co-hosted Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis on the margins of UNGA, on 20th of September 2016 and has made ground-breaking pledges to improve refugees’ self-reliance and inclusion through opportunities for education and legal work. The pledge on education is one of the nine pledges which states that “Ethiopia will provide primary, secondary and tertiary education to all qualified refugees without discrimination and within available resources”.
DAFI Brief History
DAFI is abbreviation of Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative Programme Referred to by its German acronym „Deutsche Akademische Flüchtlingsinitiative“. It is a programme named after Albert Einstein, the most famous and beloved scientist of all time, who was born and grew up in Germany. It is funded by the Federal Government of Germany globally in 42 countries since it was established 25 years ago.
DAFI Success Stories
The Programme started in Ethiopia in 2000. Since October 2011, it is being implemented by the Association of Ethiopians Educated in Germany (AEEG) in close collaboration with the UN Agency for refugees (UNHCR) and the Ethiopian Government representative on the sector, Administration for Returnees and Refugees Affairs (ARRA). So far, the Programme benefited 1,141 potential refugees in Ethiopia from over 7 countries. DAFI club was established, consultative meetings facilitated and tutorial classes enhanced and hence the Programme became much more visible and popular. The counselling, networking and further efforts for an advanced degree level education possibilities for top performers is underway through the implementing partner as well the Ethiopian Government pledge related to jobs inspired improved student’s performance. Accordingly, we have had two Gold Medallists in the graduating class of 2017.
The total on-going DAFI beneficiaries (refugee students supported at higher education level) by December 31st, 2017 are 542 enrolled in 15 Universities and Colleges across the country.
Partial view of participants during Assosa Workshop, November 2017
B) Solid Waste Management (SWM) and Urban Agriculture (UA) Projects
Urbanization is increasingly expanding in all parts of Ethiopia. More and more lands previously used for agriculture are committed for these expansions. This has brought an increase in volume of urban waste at alarming rate, which AEEG has decided to work on it at a grass-root level since 2008.
The solid waste management (SWM) was a demand driven project proposed by members of AEEG and backed up by stake holder’s in order to support the awareness creation, enhance capacity of stakeholders, site workers and pre-waste collectors as well as conducting scientific study back up on the compost quality improvement and process control on sustainable solid waste management in Addis Ababa through a practical pilot plant established at Kolfe-keranyo Sub-city of Addis Ababa.
The project was elapsed for 5 years and was done in collaboration with Addis Ababa Cleansing Management Agency (AA-CMA), Ministry of Urban Development and Construction (MUDC), Kolfe Keranyo Sub City Administration, Kolfe Keranyo Solid Waste Management Bureau with financial support by DAAD, DED-GiZ, BOKU University of Austria.
Major activities and achievements: 1) Over 500 experts and interested professionals from stakeholder organisations from various parts of the country were trained. Moreover, households, waste collectors, and school communities have been trained. Our understanding is that this along other efforts has brought about a big improvement. 2) Source-separated waste collection at household (HH) level was introduced and implemented. 3) Aerobic composting method adopted from Guinea (BOKU-University Conakry project) was used as a best practice for this project on 1200 Kg – 1500 Kg of household waste used to be delivered weekly at the site through the collectors, which were found 90-95% organic. 4) By producing compost from organic waste as a natural resource rather than directing the waste to the landfills, the value of waste has been redefined and an integrated approach of composting, soil fertility, nutrition and food security was demonstrated. 5) Related to quality control, testing characterisation of organic content (Loss on Ignition, Organic Carbon); rotting status (pH-Value, Ammonia-N, Nitrate-N); and nutrients (Nitrogen, total phosphorous, Calcium, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, plant available compounds) has been made and verified production attained European standards. The know-how of quality production and testing methodologies was transferred to the trainees through theoretical and practical trainings.
C) Alumni Portal Deutschland (APD) 1st Seminar in Ethiopia
Alumni Portal Deutschland (APD) is a network of former German Alumni, who are educated by different scholarship agents like DAAD, KAAD, inWEnt and other institutions. The aim of the portal is to keep in touch the Alumni within the country and abroad and update on what is new in Germany; facilitate the knowledge and experience sharing; information exchange for career, events, and alumni’s activities and to connect Alumni with German Development organizations and company in the country. The first workshop to establish the alumni portal Deutschland-Ethiopia was held in January 16-17, 2009. In the workshop the portal was introduced to AEEG members and invited them to register online. In APD, an approach to bring alumni (AEEG), governmental stakeholders and German development organization for maximum impact was made.
Alumni Portal Deutschland (APD) has been first launched by AGF-DAAD-Goethe-inWEnt-ZAV in September 2008. In just a year time, the first information seminar was held by AEEG here in Ethiopia on September 19, 2009 in collaboration with Goethe-Institut and the then inWEnt.
The workshop was attended by many AEEG members and information was disseminated by the then DAAD’s representative in Ethiopia (Prof. Albert). Practical registration has also been made on the very day. Since then, it can be assumed that many have befitted from it.
D) Biodiversity project
Ethiopia is known for its diverse species of plants and animals. These unique and endemic species of plants and animals are exposed to extinction because of the expansion of agricultural lands and expansion of cities towards the rural area. National parks and Forest areas are among the places where these problems are facing. Creating awareness on the problem, identifying and mapping these biodiversity hot spots and conducting research on the problem are among the strategies to have a sustainable solution. Accordingly, this project was designed to identify best practices (examples) of biodiversity management in Ethiopia; and increase the capacity of the country in Environmental Planning by bringing cooperation between AEEG (Alumni), Ethiopian and German Universities. A detailed literatures and research projects were compiled in the area of Forestry, Forest Ecology, Biodiversity, Vegetation Mapping, Environmental Planning and related subjects in hard and soft copy and then presented to expert’s seminar in order to discuss the case with stakeholders to reach to a common understanding. A project proposal was prepared in close consultation with other concerned bodies and institutions for PhD training programme that was submitted to the implementing partners, i.e., DAAD, Addis Ababa University, Leibniz Universität Hannover (Institute of Environmental Planning) and Center for Development Research, University of Bonn. The project was vital to combine the biodiversity issue in a regional and urban planning. Finally, the project was concluded after a PhD programme was launched on Environmental planning at the Addis Ababa University in 2010. It was sponsored by DAAD.