Projects selected for Travelers Philanthropy are led by local NGOs and focus on conservation and community development. Travelers wishing to participate can donate to and visit the local communities that are involved. At present, there are two projects that have been identified for the Travelers Philanthropy Program.
Tree Planting Experience in Gersale Village, Konso
The Konso Development Association (KDA) is a long-running community-based development organization that facilitates work to sustainably improve the living conditions of the people in the region. The Travelers Philanthropy Fund has partnered with KDA's efforts to rehabilitate eroded lands in the Gersale village of Konso. The community-based nursery houses thousands of seedlings of different varieties of trees while soil and water conservation activities lay the groundwork for reviving an ecosystem in otherwise harsh ecosystems.
Visitors start with a tour of the local nursery, learning about the various trees being grown. After selecting the tree of their choice, participants bring their seedling to a nearby degraded area to plant the tree in a ceremony that is bless by a local village elder. The contribution of US$20/seedling goes toward the care of the seedling to ensure sustainability and maximum impact. Name tags with the name of the donor and the date of planting will be hung in the nursery to commemorate the donation.
Provide an energy-saving stove to a family in Ziway
SEDA (Sustainable Environment and Development Action) has been working in the Central Rift Valley since 1994, promoting environmentally-friendly technologies complimented by various environmental rehabilitation, livelihood development and community based eco-tourism projects. The area around Lake Ziway has seen great deforestation as the local communities are forced to cut trees either as a source of income or to burn for fuel at home. As a response, SEDA has introduced energy-saving stoves to local families in the region. These stoves burn wood more efficiently, thereby reducing the amount of wood required for cooking. Additionally, they save significant time spent by women and children collecting wood. The stoves are well-vented, reducing smoke and resulting respiratory illness.
Participants can see the stoves in use during a tour of individual households. This program is perfectly combined with the boat experience on Lake Ziway to visit the island of Tulo Gudo, where the stoves are in place at the community-run restaurant. Below is a testimonial from a user of the energy-saving stoves:
“My Energy saving stoves saved my money, time and health”
My Name is Ansha Fayiso. I live in Kemo Garbi village of Adami Tullu District with my family of eleven. I cook three times every day to feed my family. I used to use an open fire stove that consumed a lot of wood. So much that I used to spend up to 70 birr every week to buy firewood or else spent two hours every day to collecting it. When I got tired and occupied by other chores I sometimes had to send my children out to collect firewood. But now, even that is impossible since all the trees near our home have been used up.
Since I got the energy saving stove from SEDA two years ago I’ve been able to save that expense I could hardly afford. My new energy saving stove cuts my firewood consumption by half. I am also protected from the flames while cooking now. Not only that, the time I need to cook injera and wat has been cut in half. My home is not clogged with smoke. And all my children are at school, uninterrupted with the task of collecting firewood. The reduced demand for wood is helping reduce deforestation and trees around my home are growing well. Because of the stove’s efficiency I can use smaller amounts of wood, even making due with branches, leaves and crop residue, leaving trees to grow again.