The wetland ecosystem in the Central Rift Valley is the largest freshwater ecosystem of Ethiopia with considerable economic, ecological and social significance. It is a biodiversity hotspot for flora and fauna, and contains diverse water plants and water birds, of which most breed in the ecosystem. The lake is also used for drinking water, small-scale commercial fishing, and small-and largescale irrigation agriculture. The landscape is a key sourcing area for export and local market-oriented agro-commodities, including flowers, wine, beef, fruit and vegetables as well as staple crops.

Market transformation

IDH is a trusted neutral convener in a complex landscape that plays a key role in fostering dialogue and joint action towards a sustainable landscape. IDH convened companies, government and CSOs to jointly identify priority interventions and co-invested in their implementation. By the end of 2017, the public-private coalition is running four field-level projects: a water allocation plan development for the Ziway Shalla sub-basin, a reforestation and alternative incomes project, GAP certification for smallholders to allow for responsible agrochemical and water use, and a solid waste management pilot in Ziway town, to avoid further contamination of the lake. By 2020, the landscape program aims to have an economically viable governance model up and running, locally owned to address land and water management issues to ensure a sustainable Central Rift Valley Landscape of 14,000 square kilometers.

Impact Focus

KPI progress 2017

  • Changes in Bussiness Practices

    Private Sector Investment Ratio Target 2020 1
    Target 2017 1
    Result 2017 1
    A batch of green beans, onion and cabbage smallholder farmers were GLOBALG.A.P. certified for the first time ever in Ethiopia, changing their practice to an improved and measurable level of agrochemical and water use. They sell their produce to Ethiopian airlines. It may seem a small step, but other farmers will see the benefit of certification, which is projected to create a pull. Five flower farms, Castel winery and Verde beef PLC were convened by IDH in a PPP coalition, all jointly co-investing with IDH on projects outside their farms to help restore degraded land in communal areas. IDH program partner Verde beef set up a tree seedling nursery on its farm to raise seedlings for planting on degraded communal land to contribute to reforestation and alternative income-generating projects that IDH had started with the other companies. Through the IDH FSI program in Ziway, the flower companies are shifting to integrated pest management, and are implementing waste water treatment and recycling artificial wetlands.
  • Change in Sector Governance

    Effectiveness of convening role (target 2020 not set) 0
    Target 2017 (not set) 0
    Result 2017 7
    We localized the IDH program by rebranding it as the “Ziway-Shalla Sustainability Partnership”. PPPs are new in Ethiopia. Being visibly aligned in the landscape (by billboards and other means) shows alignment and is crucial to promote projects as joint achievements. Through the partnership, companies and regional and local governments have started dialogue on major sustainability issues such as flower waste and agrochemical management. The partnership attracted new, important stakeholders like the Oromia Regional Authority for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as well as Oromia Investment Commission. Haile Resort and Ziway Lodge also joined the coalition to scale up field-level projects. Discussions have started with the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa to join as an observer. A roadmap for the implementation of a Water Allocation Plan in Ziway-Shala sub-basin was designed through collaboration between Rift Valley Lakes Basin Authority and IDH.
  • Field Level Impact

    # producers/workers reached target 2020 1,025
    Target 2017 270
    Result 2017 429
    Three types of protection/restoration activities were carried out in the reforestation projects: Replanting of tree seedlings: 44% of the seedlings survived. Area enclosure: the replanted sites and other marginal sites were protected from animal and human interference. Native vegetation quickly recovers if protected and has a much higher survival rate. Gully rehabilitation: 1.5 kilometers of gully was rehabilitated through construction of gabion check-dams. The effect of this intervention will be known after the rainy season.A pilot solid waste management project was carried out in Ziway town to help curb pollution entering from selected waste dump sites to Lake Ziway. The project availed 6 communal waste skips, 80 roadside waste bins, and 10 waste transporting carts to the municipality to better manage waste. A micro-enterprise of 10 youths was established as a result of the project to continue waste management as a business. Currently, the project covers less than 5% of the town due to capacity issues with the local municipality, but has high potential for scale.

Companies saw our tangible results and wanted to be part of it: for reputational reasons, and to achieve more impact on water quality and use, reduction of pesticides and landscape restoration.

Mahlet Shebabaw Bekele, Landscape Manager Ethiopia

Relevant SDGs

Lessons Learned

There is a lack of high quality implementing partners (IPs) in the landscape, making it difficult for IDH to scale its interventions effectively. IDH is therefore looking for alternative IPs and exploring other options. Alignment and dialogue between public and private partners in the landscape is of vital importance, and can help ease tensions. The Water Allocation Plan (WAP) development with Rift Valley Lakes Basin Authority (RVLBA) is getting crowded by multiple international donors. With an increased number of initiatives and limited (institutional) capacity of the RVLBA, processes are time consuming and progress limited. IDH will co-finance the initial water balance study needed for the WAP and also continue building the capacity of RVLBA.

Our Partners