Climate Change in Ethiopia: Akuri Worku

Akuri Worku, 20, participates in a training by CRS and its partners to learn about climate change adaptation.

Akuri Worku, 20, participates in a training by CRS and its partners to learn about climate change adaptation. Photo by Kim Pozniak/CRS

Akuri Worku listens intently to the instructor while carefully taking notes on the paper in her lap. It’s day 2 of a week of training, where community members learn about promoting agriculture practices, like keyhole gardens; nutrition; and better food preparation, preservation and storage techniques.

Akuri and a couple of dozen other young men and women at the training were hired based on specific qualifications: a 10th-grade education and membership in one of the communities selected to benefit from a CRS-led climate change project.

“I was born and raised in the community and I have acceptance,” the 20-year-old mother says, her face beaming with excitement and confidence. “They know what I can do. It won’t be difficult. The job ad said the candidate had to be from the community. I’m very happy to be working in my own community.”

The training is part of REAAP—or Resilience through Enhanced Adaptation, Action-learning and Partnership—a CRS program to mitigate the severe impact of changing weather patterns caused by climate change in eastern Ethiopia. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, it includes a partnership with the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat. REAAP will help 475,000 people of Ethiopia’s Oromia State adapt new farming techniques and practices to better withstand climate change.

“We have to teach the next generation—my child—the knowledge of how we can address climate change.”

As part of the project, CRS and its partners are training community members to act as facilitators. They will share what they learn with their communities following a week of training on disaster risk reduction.

Knowing the challenges her community faces, Akuri is anideal program leader.

“My community has traditional knowledge,” she says. They didn’t know how they can use this knowledge to plan better. But with what I’ve learned here, I can show them the way.

“I’ve learned about hazards and capacity assessment and vulnerability. Based on what I’ve learned so far, the community first needs to identify its problems,” she explains. “If we implement what the community plans, I’m sure we can achieve our goals and be successful.”

Combining the traditional knowledge of her forefathers about the land, climate and available natural resources with new technology and improved farming provides hope for the future, she says.

“We have to teach the next generation—my child—the knowledge of how we can address climate change,” she says. “We have to show others practically how change can be brought so future generations can learn in a better way.”

Kim Pozniak is a CRS communications officer covering sub-Saharan Africa and global emergencies. She is based in Baltimore, Maryland.

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