Celebration of World Rivers Day in Addis Ababa Sets the Stage for Adopting the Rivers and Peace Building

In Rotary, we know through our partnership with the Institute for Economics and Peace and their Positive Peace Ambassador Program that Peace is a product of resilient and strong communities and building a bond between people and their neighborhoods. Global Grant (2119013) for peace building has targeted the youth as positive agents of change and the environment –uniting people while connecting them with nature and a common goal. This Global Grant for Peace Building is a joint project of RCs Addis Ababa West, Central Mella, and Entoto.

We are also fortunate to have a Consortium of five Rotary Clubs with the Green Rotaract Concept in Ethiopia participating in the D9212/UNEP Adopt a River Program. This consortium includes RCs Addis Ababa: Central Mella, West, Bole, Sheger, East and Green Rotaract Concept.

The Committees from Peace and Adopt a River have integrated the projects to leverage funding and human resources, harness the energy of both, and maximize our impact and visibility. We intend to continue building this combined program to make a bigger impact on the rivers in Ethiopia and on Peace.

Peace Week started with a national consultation and capacity building training program, Empowering Ethiopian Youth on Human Rights and Peacebuilding.  This was a three-day panel discussion (September 19, 20, 21) which was a joint initiative with OHCHR-UNESCO-Rotaract and support from the Peace Committee. Fourty youth from outside of Addis Ababa were brought into the city to participate in this three-day event and the sessions were also available on zoom and FB Live to a much larger crowd of Rotaractors and Rotarians. We were able to provide interesting and inspiring speakers from Rotary:  Teddy Tadesse, Abenezer Feleke, Dr. Simona Pinton (Peace Cadre for RI), Charlie Allen (IEP), Brukty Tigabu, Abeselom Samson, Seble Hailu and Dr Yonas Adaye (AAU- Institute for Peace and Security Studies) to name a few.  

KUDOS to RAC CC Meron and her team for an impactful event!

World Rivers Day (September 26th) saw the Peace and Adopt a River teams unleash all the preparations we have been planning for some time now. There is a very large inspirational and charged team behind these two projects. Green Rotaract Concept has ignited the team with the youth’s passion for service!  PP Henock has produced EcoBanners for both events below and inspired us to say, “No More Plastic Banners”!  In advance of these events, the Peace Committee took the opportunity to select RC Central Mella to become an EndPlasticSoup Ambassador Club and for the Green Rotaract Concept and RAC Bahir Dar to become Friends of EndPlasticSoup! It is excellent to have Jahlud Awol as the inspirational face of our Peace and Environmental project.

The Team’s first event was in Addis where we have adopted the Little Akaki River which runs 11 km through the center of the city. With the partnership of the Netherlands Embassy, we held a press event and cleaning on September 25th, in the presence of the Dutch Ambassador, higher officials and over 200 Rotarians, Rotaractors and volunteers. The Netherlands Embassy gifted our program with boots, gloves, garbage bags, shovels, and garbage picks. These donations were added to donations from our Peace GG of wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes, pitchforks, Rotary masks, and vests. The event was very successful, and plans are underway for ten (10) more cleanings and enlarging our green volunteer army. We also have much more to do with planting 1,000 seedlings in the Miyawaki method.

The Team’s second event was with the Rotaract Club of Bahir Dar on Lake Tana, led by PP Henock Alemayehu. Cleaning of Lake Tana is a spiritual event as it is the source of the Blue Nile. In national lore, the source of the Blue Nile was the Gihon, one of the four rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden. The team spent the day fighting the wrath of the Hyacinth Weed which suffocates the mouth of the Nile and picking up the garbage that denigrates it. RAC Bahir Dar had some support from the mayor’s office and their program was topped up with funds from the Peace GG to purchase boots, gloves, and shovels. Henock also took with him Rotary masks, vests and an EcoBanner for ADOPTING THE ABAY RIVER.

This is now the vision – to clean the Nile, touching 11 African countries as we go, until it spills into the Mediterranean at Egypt. We know that EndPlasticSoup has already started a program with Egyptian Rotary Clubs to reduce plastic pollution in the Nile and the emissions into the Mediterranean.

The Team has already started to produce a documentary film of the recent environmental events. We have shared our pictures and celebrated with our Rotarian friends around the world on the World Rivers Day WhatsApp group.

Sharon Ashton

PP Rotary Club of Addis Ababa West

Chair – Peace Project & Member of D9212/UNEP Consortium

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save the date for 2nd Rotary Ethiopia General Assembly. 5th March 2022 at Rotary Ethiopia Country Office. Hybrid event.