Case story 1: cmdrr informed Web community diverted food aid for community development initiative

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Case story 1:


CMDRR informed Web community diverted food aid for community development initiative
Web community is one of the pastoral community targeted in ECHO funded Drought Risk Reduction Project. Action for Development – AFD is a local NGO that facilitates the CMDRR guided Drought Risk Reduction project among Web communities. This case story gives accounts of one of the successful initiatives of Web community.
The ECHO funded Drought Risk Reduction project focuses on mobilizing the community to reinforce drought mitigation and reduction measures. The community CMDRR committee leads the planning, organization, implementation and coordination of disaster risk reduction interventions.

In the entire process Web community has learned how it can cope with recurrent drought and achieve their locally agreed development objectives.

Web community has, for quite a long period of time, suffered from lack of road and this has seriously affected the social and economic link with Dubluk town – an important economic centre by local standard. Transporting goods from Dubluk to Web was not easy; the existing semblance of a road had gulleys, got flooded/muddy and overgrown with bushes, making web inaccessible. The community could not access a hospital located just 115 kilometers from Web; livestock traders were not willing to come to the villages in Web, etc.

During the 2009 PDRA revision, construction and maintenance of the road that connects Web to Dubluk town was one of the major issues in the discussion and the activity was included in the community development plan. However due to shortage of resources it was not implemented. Again in 2010 the community prioritized access to road as a major problem, but resources were still a challenge to realize the construction. However, this time the community decided not to wait for external agency response, rather decided to find out possible solutions and this was a turning point for community resource mobilization.

In an effort to solve the challenges of having a rural road that serves both the rainy and dry season, as risk aware community the CMDRR committee came with a new idea – diverting government allocated food aid resource for the construction of the road. "In the past three years we have managed to establish quite significant drought mitigation and vulnerability measures. Households are now having adequate milk and food, and the collective community action strengthened our capacity to cope with drought. Therefore at this time as we are not in need of any food aid, we have to sell the wheat delivered to us by the government and with the money, we have to build the bad road that detached us from Dubluk and Yabello."

The community agreed to present this idea to the Woreda administration and also have decided to share the idea with the neighboring Higo and Dubluk Pastoral communities and mobilize additional resource.

After some time the local administration approved the idea and Web community managed to mobilize the neighboring Higo and Dubluk communities for the road construction by raising their awareness on the importance of self initiatives and explaining the negative and damaging effects of dependence on external aid.



The CMDRR committee sold the wheat and realized 72,000.00 Birr; this money and community contribution from Higo and Dubluk pastoral association including volunteer community labor was enough to clear new 18 kilometers of road and repair and improve 28 kilometers of the existing road.
The community is proud that they have accomplished one major activity in their development plan. “We shall follow up with the government to grade and murram the road to good standard as we embark on other pressing developmental and contingency plans to reduce the effect of the current drought”.



Figure 1 Even the Cordaid team enjoy the ride on the cleared road section




Figure 2 Well aligned and completed road section in use-

Who said communities’ don’t have surveying skills?


Case story 2:

Well facilitated CMDRR process taps into Web community’s expertise and capacities.

With funding from ECHO, Catholic Organization for Relief and Development aid (CORDAID), in partnership with a local NGO, Action for Development (AfD) has been piloting Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) in Web community of Southern Ethiopia. Mr. Abara works for AfD and is very enthusiastic of his new responsibilities of facilitating the Web community to reduce their risks associated with the frequently re-occurring drought. He emphasizes that understanding and building on the vast experience of community systems and structures makes facilitation enjoyable and opens up vast untapped latent capacities in the communities. Just being a keen listener and an observer makes you realize your limited comprehension of the community as they narrate in greater details their resources, how they relate to each other and manage to survive hazard events.
Abara expounds how the traditional Gadha system of the Boran community is a classical indigenous institution that addresses the social and political aspiration of individual community members and sub-clans within the larger Boranas. However, in promoting economic development and improvement of household livelihood, he explains that the community clearly understands that individuals make up the society and that the Gadha system recognizes and underscores communal ownership, accountability and sustainable utilization of limited resources in a hazard prone eco-system.

As a pastoral community, livestock, natural resources and people are the main pillars anchoring Web community’s livelihood. Drought is often identified as the main hazard and threat to these pillars. To mitigate the drought, the community has mastered livestock production systems and their traditional Water and pasture preservation and development approach endeavors to sustainably utilize these natural resources. To reduce the adverse impact of any drought, elaborate community institutions oversee use/management of water (headed by aba-erega) and pasture (headed by jaarsa dedha) and exist community support systems (Busa/gonofa) to help individual community members to bounce back.

Traditional classification guides development and use of water and pasture resource. Pasture zones transcend international borders (Ethiopian/Kenya) and are classified as Chari (bushland), wayama (red soil) Malbe (rocky grassland) golbo (lowlands) badan (forest), dire (ridges-plateau) while underground water resource are classified as Tulaa (deep wells) and adadi (shallow wells). The Boran community Prayer line “……Tulaan salan Nagaa…..” makes cognizance of nine Tulaas, and Web is one of such tulaa. Each Tulaa consists of series of approximately 21 traditional wells to represent each of the Borana clans as is the case in Web. Baab, Sadetti, Arbores, Dambiich Qalla, Doraantich,Ell Yabii, Buuk, Halakhe Waraaba and Galaantich are just a few of these traditional wells found in Web.

“Our wells in Web have adequate water to support our livestock and attract livestock from far and wide. Our traditional systems teach us to share and support each other in time of need, but why should congestion limit our optimum use of available water resource?” asks Godana Jillo, who is supervising the ongoing improvement of Dambiich well. “The narrow canyon-like access that steeply descends over a 100m stretch towards the livestock watering-trough located 20 meter below ground level, has killed and exhausted our weak animals. Delays make the thirsty sheep and goats nervous and jump to their deaths in desperate attempt to reach the only trough.” He is proud of the improvements on Galaantich well undertaken in 2010 under the ECHO funded drought risk reduction program II and wants to replicate the same success. Works involved widening the access path and reducing its steep descends, constructing 3 troughs and a concrete collection chamber (known as fachana). The effective depth to the aquifer was also reduced from 6men height to 4men height. Tadi Maliso, who is also supervising the ongoing improvement works at Dambiich well, adds: “Before the improvements on Galaantich, a labor force of 60 men (20 per shift) would start drawing water manually from 5:30 AM till 4:00 PM (11 hrs). That has now reduced to only 10 men and watering time reduced from 9 AM to 12:00) noon (3hrs)! We have more people doing other productive activities and less workload especially during drought when access to food is limited. Previously we could only water 20 cows at a time, now we can accommodate 100 cows at a go. The frequent frustration and muddy site as a result of often breached mud trough is no longer the case. Our well’s sites are cleaner, hygienic and safe for the women to fetch water.”

The improved Galaantich well serves over 2000 cattle (excluding shoats, camel, and domestic water use) per watering day compared to previous 600 cattle. Nearby wells have been decongested allowing improvement works on other wells to proceed as is the case in Dambiich well. Opportunity to assign a specific well to only one consumer category (domestic) is not far fetched now.
During the visit, the overall supervisor engaged by the AfD was only recording the list of attendants for purpose of attendance and payments while the community took charge on determining outputs, based on their unit of measurements. “We will require in total eight trips** to widen the access, reduce the effective height from 9men height to 7men height, collect hardcore and complete the masonry works. Unfortunately we can only afford six trips** and we will compromise and plan to achieve effective height of 7.5 men.” Godan jillo explains confidently using community methods of measurement. This was quite interesting and further allowed the community to make decisions and developed their own monitoring mechanisms and indicators.
Progress of work was on schedule with both men and women actively involved. At the start women represented 70% of the labor force and reduced to 50-50 when excavation works struck hard material at lower depths. Further inquiry reveled that the women intend to use some of the wage earned to purchase clothes for themselves and their children and supplement household food purchases.

The community looks focused and determined to replicate the previous success on Dambiich well. The facilitator (Mr Abara) is confident that they will deliver again. He further adds that, “To nurture emerging community organization, there is a marked difference when a facilitator specifies task and assigns to communities for execution while keeping the budget a secret. In such circumstances, you take the decision making from community and lose the community drive, opportunities for them to reflect, set their own monitoring indicators and learn. They will remain confused and always wait for your next instructions.” He advices that much progress is made if budgets are declared and decision making gradually left to the community. The community confirmed that once they were informed of the budget ceiling of 220,000 birr, they realized that budget was not adequate to replicate similar success as in Dambiich well and they mobilized additional 20,000 birr. Involving the community to plan, to mobilize resources and to implement definitely increased sense of ownership, ingested the need for cash to improve household food security.




Figure2. Entry to Gallaantich well, protected, wide and gently descends Figure4: Expanded width to Galaantich can allow more oncoming "traffic"

after completion




Figure 3: Completed Gallaantich well: Even the child can now ascend the Figure5. Sherrif wonders how the community could have dug to THIS depth more than 300 years ago

gentle climb and bring addition volumes of water for household

Figure 4: Figure 5. Completed trough being filled with water as herd owners control Figure:7 A herd owner busy undertaking cleaning task during his watering turn


the dust and removes any animal droppings as per community developed

operational and maintenance manual”





Figure 6.The transfer station -locally known as “fachaan” filled in readiness Figure9: Distribution chamber receiving water from the transfer station

for manual lifting to distribution chamber overhead


Figure7: Animals drink with ease and less congestion after improvement Figure11: Ongoing works on Dambich well: women make a human conveyor

on Galaantich well. The calves are given priority to drink as per the tradition belt to remove excavated soil



Figure 8 Dambiich well: Men excavate to widen and reduce the descending

gradient to accommodate more animals




Figure 9 Dambiich well: Transfer station-“fachaan”-taking shape. The well mouth is visible


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