AAU Held European Union RESET Plus Innovation Fund Exit Workshop

Addis Ababa University’s (AAU’s) College of Developmental Studies (CDS) in collaboration with national and international stakeholders organized an exit workshop for the RESET Plus Innovation Fund program at Hilton Addis Hotel on the 14th of November 2023.

Mr. Zarir Merat, Country Director of Cordaid Ethiopia, delivered an opening and welcoming speech and stated the RESET Plus Innovation Fund programme supported thirteen innovations for resilience in five regions, categorized under eight clusters in Ethiopia since 2019.  The overall goal of the programme was to contribute towards improved sustainable livelihoods and strengthened resilience of vulnerable communities in arid and semi-arid areas of Ethiopia.

The program consists of five innovative research projects that were supported, Mr. Zarir added. Four national universities including AAU, Hawassa University, Wolayta Sodo and Wollo Universities, have been conducting action research for the past three months.

The research team from AAU studied best practices on adoption of new technologies and systems by the Beneficiary Communities and Local Stakeholders for resilience building in arid and semi-arid areas of Ethiopia, particularly in the regions where the project was implemented. Other universities have studied the benefits of using value addition innovations for household income improvement; approaches to the enhancement of ownership of community assets to reduce inefficiencies in the use of assets; promotion of inclusive practices and the benefits of doing so for building resilient and sustainable market system.

According to Dr. Meskerem Abi (PI from AAU), the studied innovations were livestock insurance, drought resistant fodder, digital technologies, drought tolerant crop varieties, innovative farm practices, flood spreading weirs, innovations for pastoralist resilience building, market system innovations, PPR vaccine distribution and delivery model to tackle a disease affecting small ruminants and enhance the resilience of communities living in arid and semi-arid areas.

Based on the research findings, pastoralists considered diversification as a viable option for sustaining their livelihoods in the future. Proactive drought planning and early warning; bringing extension services closer to the home; and the existence of a solar-powered cold storage facility for PPR vaccine were among the key lessons learnt from the findings.

Accordingly, the researchers shared indicative results that enhance the resilience capacity of the arid and semi-arid communities’ withstood shocks caused by droughts, climate change, diseases and conflicts. The adoption of the technologies had enabled the communities to survive shocks from natural and manmade causes. Among others, the adoption of innovative technologies was meant to assist in developing systems enabling the communities easily exchange information regarding market, disease outbreaks and livestock insurance.

The research team  recommended that poultry insurance be added, as only cattle, goats, sheep, and camel insurances have been practiced so far; the government should focus on livestock insurance in the same way that it does on human insurance; education and awareness raising remained to be  critical issues for the adoption and success of new innovations; strengthening livestock extension programs tailored to the lifestyles of pastoral communities; and drought-tolerant crops need to be prioritized for people living in drought-prone areas.

The RESET Plus Innovation Fund program is financed by the European Union in Ethiopia and implemented by Cordaid Ethiopia, in partnership with Fair and Sustainable Ethiopia.

Editor: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene