My research stay in Ethiopia: I learn from the indigenous knowledge of the local people

I am Shibire Bekele from Ethiopia, Studying MSc. In Tropical Forest Management in TU Dresden, Germany.

Agroforestry system

I am working in my master thesis on financial analysis of smallholder’s woodlot and homestead agroforestry systems in Southern Ethiopia. The thesis is integrated under the WoodCluster project and supervised by Prof. Jürgen Pretzsch from TU Dresden and co-supervisor Dr. Tsegaye Bekele from Hawaasa University, Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources. I am interested to work under this theme as most farmers in Ethiopia use their land based on the previous land use where only some of them consider the market factors of their production. Analyzing profitability of woodlots and homestead agroforestry system will help the local land owners to plan on the farming system which rewards the household with more financial profit.

It is a great pleasure to collect my data in Sidama Zone, Ethiopia, where about 84 languages are spoken. Unluckily, I don’t speak the local language of Sidama which is spoken in my study area and it feels strange to work with a translator in my own country. It was also a big opportunity for me to learn the beautiful culture of Sidama.

Focus group discussion

Most of the interviewees were hospitable and open minded to provide data but some households have fear and ask questions: whether I come from the government office and who will use the data. My translator had to explain that I am a student and I need the data for my thesis. If there were no further questions we continued if they agreed.

Unforgettable day!! Demakese – (Ocimum lamifolium)

Shibire with herbs as traditional medicine on her hand

The day I got ill in the village was an unforgettable moment of data collection! I felt that we already became a family. When somebody is ill all of a sudden, they say it’s “mich”, an infection of fever with headache and mouth bliste. The locals medicate it with the herb called Demakese (Ocimum lamifolium). It is used to treat coughs and colds. The fresh leaves are squeezed and the juice sniffed.

 

Special thanks to DAAD, WOOD CLUSTER PROJECT and my supervisors.

I would like to thank Dr. Tsegaye Bekele and Dr. Zebene Asfaw for their greatest collaboration while study area selection and preliminary processes through contacting district offices and finding Development Agent  workers in the village. Finally, thanks to my family, my friend Lello and all my colleagues and friends at Wondo Genet Collage of Forestry and Natural Resources.

 

By Shibire Bekele

 

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