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Equator Initiative Case Study – Abrha Weatsbha Community

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Once on the brink of resettlement due to desertification, soil degradation and lack of water, the Abrha Weatsbha community in northern Ethiopia has reclaimed its land through the reforestation and sustainable management of over 224,000 hectares of forest. Tree planting activities have resulted in improved soil quality, higher crop yields, increased biomass production and groundwater functioning, and flood prevention. The organization has constructed small dams, created water catchment ponds, and built trenches and bunds to restore groundwater functioning. More than 180 wells have been built to provide access to potable water.
Environmental recovery and rejuvenation have led to improvements in local livelihoods through crop irrigation, fruit tree propagation and expansion into supplementary activities like apiculture. Local incomes have increased and food security and nutrition have improved through the integration of high-value fruit trees into farms. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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