Projects in the Kafa region help support a wide range of sustainable development and conservation goals.


Combating Climate Change Through Forest Conservation

Climate Protection and Preservation of Primary Forests - A Management Model using the Wild Coffee Forests in Ethiopia as an Example (2009-2013)

NABU, in cooperation with the Ethiopian Government and other partners, started a project to protect the last natural forests in the birthplace of Coffea arabica.  In the last 10 years, almost 43% of these forests have disappeared, as they have been transformed into arable land.  This is causing a huge loss of biodiversity and the emission of greenhouse gases .

The NABU project will support the reforestation of 700 hectares of natural forest and cultivated areas with native tree species and the planting of 1,500 hectares of fast growing trees next to the villages, to ensure people will be living in better conditions regarding wood supply.  Furthermore, 10,000 wood-saving stoves will be introduced in selected communities to reduce the communities’ reliance on the forest resources.
About 10,000 hectares of natural forest will be jointly identified by the Ethiopian Government of Kafa Zone and the Kafa Biosphere Reserve management following the principles of participatory, sustainable forest management. For years this type of cooperation in Kafa has encouraged people to feel responsible for their forests. 

Special tourist infrastructures, such as animal and bird watching towers, outdoor museums, and hiking trails will also be built. After receiving special training, local people will be able to guide tourists and explain the effects of climate change and agriculture practices. This project can significantly increase people’s living standards.

This project will also ensure the conservation of biodiversity in the region, especially of the Arabica coffee, which has almost 5,000 different varieties. It will be a model for other future international projects, combining climate and resources protection with sustainable local development.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) within the framework of the International Climate Protection Initiative.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project

An integrated project dedicated to sustainable development in the Kafa region for more than a decade

In 1999, Geo Rainforest Conservation launched this model initiative with private and public partners of diverse expertise integrating environmental, economic and social activities. Its concept: Long-term conservation of the Kafa forests can only be ensured if the livelihoods of local people benefit from their existence. When the project was initiated, the prime forest product of Kafa – wild Arabica coffee – had no access to the international market.

Thanks to the project technically implemented by the German Technical Cooperation, 12,000 hectares of forest are now managed by the local communities. By introducing the so-called Participatory Forest Management (PFM), 4,500 farmers are at the same time legally entitled to collect wild coffee cherries and obliged to conserve the forests. To date 27 cooperatives have joined the Kafa Coffee Farmers Union and organize the professional processing and quality control of the coffee beans. Since 2005 wild beans are exported to Europe at a price that benefits the farmers. Today, for the families of the coffee collectors – a total of 50,000 people - wild coffee is the principal source of income. This development was possible because Original Food  imports the sun-dried beans and established an access to the specialty coffee market. From the 2006/7 harvest onwards, “wild collection” and “fair for life” certification enhanced the marketing success.

Rapid population increase slows down development by increasing the pressure on natural resources such as wood and water. Therefore, from the beginning, the German Foundation for World Population  contributed to the projects’ success by developing educational programs on sexual and reproductive health. Numerous locals received profound information and training in how to competently share information about sexual and reproductive health and contraceptives. Nowadays, in seven youth clubs around the zonal capital of Bonga, community members and especially youth learn from these trained “peer educators” how to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.

To enable long-term protection of the unique forests and support regional development, The Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union  in 2006 started supporting the establishment of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Kafa. The concept was socialized in the region and welcomed by the governments at the local, regional and national levels. A relevant number of scientific studies and research projects, for example on flora and fauna, land use, GIS and tourism, were commissioned. Thanks to the support and involvement of more than 500 representatives of the region, the future biosphere reserve was zoned for a proper management and protection.

The proposal for Kafa Biosphere Reserve submitted to UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere (MAB) Program by the Ethiopian Government has been recommended at the 16th meeting of the International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves to be accepted by UNESCO in March 2010.

Available for download: Ethiopia's Wild Beans (in German)  and the PPP Project Flyer (in English)


Non-Timber Forest Products and Participatory Forest Management Project (NTFP)

A forested landscapes and livelihoods project supported by Dutch and UK Universities and implemented in the Kafa Zone aims at non-timber forest products marketing and research.  Click here for more information.