In June 2010, twenty NBDC team members traveled to one of the selected research sites – Jeldu in the Oromia region to:

  • Gain a first team insight at the watersheds and brain storm with the local officials and partners at the district level;
  • Make a rapid assessment of opportunities and the challenges, including the land use/cover change at some sample locations in the woreda.

The team concluded:

  • The local institutions are relatively weak. There is little ongoing effort to mitigate widespread land degradation owing to the unremitting steep slopes, improper land management and weak social capital;
  • Indications are that the woreda will become entirely food insecure if the current system continues without interventions to arrest land and water degradation;
  • There are several initiatives by external institutions  that do not seem to have found appropriate niches in local systems;
  • The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and the African Highlands Initiative did some work in the neighboring district to improve production systems and livelihoods which could be transferred to NBDC sites. There is interest from local officials of the Bureau’s of agriculture, water and land, and from NGOs and other potential stakeholders (e.g. GTZ) to collaborate with us.