Monday, 3 May 2010

Hands-On practical training in Ethiopia


We had a chance to do our practical training in a country known for its long history, great coffee and 13 months of sunshine. An NGO called Sustainable Future (Kestävä tulevaisuus ry., KeTu ) in co-operation with TAMK’s R&D gave us opportunity to visit Ethiopia.

Project partners work in co-operation with a local partner NGO, Lem Ethiopia, enabling sustainable energy solutions and improving waste & sanitation as well as self-sufficiency in the city of Bahir Dar.

Bahir Dar is a city by Lake Tana, largest lake in Ethiopia and also the source of the Blue Nile. Ethiopia is located in the African horn and is a home for over 80 million people. About 80 % of the people in Ethiopia live in the rural areas and get their living from agriculture. At the same time only about 18 %of the households have access to proper sanitation facilities and about 31 % have access to safe water.

Our mission was to teach about hygiene and sanitation in local schools in Bahir Dar. We visited five schools and did a few hour training about personal hygiene and motivated students with awakening pictures and examples. It was a great experience and we had an amazing time teaching those eager and respecting students about hygiene. There are a lot of cultural challenges to be won, but one step at a time they can maintain a better health and demand better sanitation facilities.


At the same time we implemented a study about using urine as a fertilizer when growing cabbage. The plan was to implement a demonstration field and show the benefits of using urine in order to get a bigger yield. Unfortunately the land needed was provided by the government, but still faced challenges in order to be able to start up the real work. Therefore we implemented the study in a rather small-scale and in private in our own front yard. Did not quite serve as a demonstration, but we left some evidence to our local partners that urine is worth promoting as a free, safe and natural fertilizer.

The 2-month training taught us a lot. We were happy that we could exchange knowledge with the locals. All in all this was an once-in-a-lifetime possibility which will stay with us for the rests of our lives.

Text & photos: TAMK’s environmental engineering students Suvi Pielismaa and Salla Jokela

More about the project, project manager at TAMK's R&D: aino-maija.kyykoski(AT)tamk.fi
More about Sustainable Future NGO/ Kestävä Tulevaisuus ry: www.ketury.org
More about Lem Ethiopia : www.lem.org.et

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