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Authors: Ambaye,Genet
Issue Date: May-2012
Publisher: St. Mary's University
Abstract: The livelihood of the farming community of Tigray is more challenged with high-population pressure, highly variable and unreliable rainfall. The steep topography has accelerated the process of land degradation in the largely unprotected watersheds of the region. The top fertile soil and part of the subsoil were washed away for so many years and as a result the water holding capacity of the soil has declined from time to time. Rapid deterioration of land quality has reduced the already insufficient food production of the region. The rainfall pattern is erratic, unreliable and with short duration, which in most cases was not sufficient to grow the crop to the required level. Due to these reasons, farmers living in the region in general and the watershed community of the study area in particular were suffering from food & fodder shortage for more than half of the year. In order to address the problem, Integrated Watershed Development and Management Approach (IWDMA) was introduced as a development approach and has been implemented in GerbShelela watershed, located in Hintalo Wajrat woreda, South Eastern Zone of Tigray. Earlier traditional Soil and Water Conservation (SWC) measures were used with integration of other development activities in the watershed. This study was designed to assess (1) the contribution of Integrated Watershed Development and Management Approach in improving the livelihood of the rural community in the watershed, (2) the role of watershed management practices in rehabilitating and protecting the environment, and (3) the changes in income and livelihoods of the community as a result of the intervention. In addition, the evaluation includes the contribution of the community in improvement of their income due to watershed development interventions other than the direct food support obtained for the scheme implementation. Primary and secondary data were collected through interviews, focus group discussion, and field observation and literature review and office reports. With a sample size of 5.8% of the total households, 50% from intervention area and 50% from non-intervention households (treatment group and x control group) were selected through stratified simple random sampling method. To analyze the collected data SPSS 12 version was applied. The result had shown that the ongoing watershed development programme with the aid of MERET project has contributed highly to improve the economic condition of the community in the study area through diversified livelihood activities. It has also played meaningful role in improving the vegetative coverage through tree planting and grassland development due to bio-physical conservation activities. Gullies were also stabilized. IWDMA has also enhanced the capacity of the community through access to information and networking among them. Natural environment of the degraded highlands of Tigray in general and the GerbShelela watershed in particular has began to be rehabilitated and as a result the livelihood of the community improved.
Appears in Collections:Rural Development

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