Ethiopia: Marching Against Desertification Through Planting Tree Seedlings


The government of Ethiopia and the city administration of Addis Ababa have launched this year’s round of Summer Voluntary Services recently. The services include renovation of old and dilapidated houses, road traffic conducting, blood donation, tutoring students, and assisting the disabled and supporting hospitalized patients are some of the activities the youths are expected to engage in the program. Some 14 programs are designed to be implemented by youths during the summer.

Volunteerism is not a new concept to Ethiopia rather it is a fashion now a days. Following the coming of new leadership in power in mid-2018 in Ethiopia, the concept and the practice voluntarisms become a day-to-day activity of the nation which open the door to every citizen. The government also gives due importance to the voluntary activities that were held in the country so far. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed remarks that “one can be said to have engaged in voluntary activities when he or she sacrifices his/her time, knowledge and wealth to help or support others. Hence, voluntarism is not treating or helping oneself rather it is doing something good for others. For this reason, the government of Ethiopia gives credit and value for voluntary activities” Furthermore, Abiy added that across the nation, voluntaries have been helping the needy, planting trees and renovation of Old Houses and the like. These activities would help the nation’s journey to development and prosperity.

Addis Ababa University Development and Policy Research scholar Tesfaye Zeleke (ph.d) told local media that in Ethiopia, however, the concept of voluntary services has been exhibited through communities, cultural, religious and individuals’ activities but it is not well promoted. Hence, the current administration’s efforts to institutionalize voluntary activities are commendable.

In order to facilitate and strengthen the ever-existing voluntary works of the nation, the government acknowledges and institutionalizes voluntarism. Minister of Peace Muferihat Kamil said it is important to institutionalize voluntary services since it helps to direct the youths through different trainings. It also enables the youth not to be emotional, psychologically prepared, to express themselves, to do things easily and to lead themselves independently.

Voluntarism activities could be provided by voluntary organizations are acknowledged by several other names such as Non-Government Organizations (NGOS), private voluntary organizations (PVOS) and so on contingent upon the geographic area and time period of reference. As a whole these organizations, irrespective of terminology used, have certain characteristics; that they are non-government and nonprofit, that they are voluntary.

According to UN, voluntary works are important since the gaps in public services frequently affect the poorest and most marginalized people the most. At a community level people have to use their voluntary labor to fill the gaps because they do not have money to buy services. As a result, many of those volunteers who are helping to extend the reach of services to the most marginalized are often the same individuals who are living in poverty. In Huiting Wu book entitle “Social Impact of Volunteerism” explains the economic and social impact of voluntary works: voluntary works are important not only the communities but also for the ruling party or the government. Because they are key players in the economy in their own right as employers and service providers, adding to the overall economic output of a country and reducing the burden on government spending. Furthermore, voluntary works have helped to strengthening social connections, building strong, safe, cohesive community, enhancing civic engagement and delivering public goods and services.

Hence, voluntary works are important for a country like Ethiopia. Volunteer Abdulwahab Ibrahim explains the significance of voluntary works as follows “I have a small shop where I make money for livelihood. But whenever I have free time, I participate in voluntary activities such as cleaning and beautifying the surroundings. This would help my village to be clean and livable”. Another Volunteer Saba said “before we started voluntary work, our village was dirty and people living in the surrounding areas used to be affected by diseases such as flu. Additionally, even the kids have place to play and do physical exercises. However, the beginnings of voluntary works make their surrounding comfortable for living to kids, aged, and youth.”

Advisor at Ethiopian Environment, Forest Research Institute, Teshome Tesema (PhD) told The Ethiopian Herald apart from beautifying the surroundings and cleaning villages, voluntary services have been important to cultivate forest resources. Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commissioner, Fekadu Beyene said on his part Ethiopia has been exerting maximum effort to become one of the world’s top forest covered countries and to protect its natural resources. Hence, Ethiopia’s forest coverage from has grown up from 15.5 percent five years ago to 17 percent. In all of these efforts the role of voluntary services has been enormous.

This year the City Administration has launched Summer Voluntary Services. In these voluntary services more than 2 million volunteers would participate where some 1 million people would be benefited. Deputy Mayor of Addis Ababa city, Adanech Abiebie said voluntary services are given not because there is plenty of resource rather being a human is enough to give voluntary services. Voluntary services can alleviate people’s problem through providing health care to the needy. It is also important to modernize the city and improve living condition of individuals, to mitigates climate change through green legacy. Hence, it is important to make voluntary services not only organizational but also culture of the citizens.

Voluntaries Wongelawit Teka told also local media that making voluntary service organizational is not enough, like any other country it should be included in a curriculum, both private and governmental organization must acknowledge and facilitate voluntary services platform. This would help to make voluntary service sustainable. Canadian volunteer Nathan Monash who has been giving voluntary service in Ethiopia also agree with Wongelawit’s idea and added his part the inclusion of voluntary services is important since it makes people competitive in any jobs.


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Author : Ethiopian Herald

Publish date : 2021-07-07 12:33:56

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