23 April 2014
Saving fuel, saving wolves
By Fekadu Lema
Most Ethiopians still rely on traditional forms of energy, such as firewood, unwittingly causing deforestation, soil erosion and creating health problems. For the people in the northern highlands the main source of energy is a bush locally known as 'charranfe'. Charranfe heaths dominate many Afroalpine landscape in North Ethiopia, offering important habitat for rodents andf wolves.
After registering alarming levels of firewood extraction in threatened wolf populations, we started a Fuel Saving initiative in two areas: Delanta-Gubalaftu in Wollo and Mt Guna in Gondar. With funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and in collaboration with the Energy Coordination Office of GIZ, a German NGO, our team conducted socio-economic assessments, broad consultations with local stakeholders, and awareness campaigns. We are now busy with the next step, which is establishing micro-enterprises for two selected members of the community who will produce fuel saving stoves locally. The stoves they will produce can reduce firewood consumption by half, and have been amply tested by GIZ in the Ethiopian highlands. We are very excited with this project and we look forward to introduce you to the stove makers in the near future.