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SWP: Engaging Students In The Reforestation Campaign

This year’s Summer Work Program (SWP) is scheduled to be held from July 4 to August 6 throughout the nation, and the objective of the program is to restore the nation’s forest land that  have been barren due to the prolonged war  for independence and consecutive droughts. Restoring the country’s green land is very imperative to combat desertification as this region is prone to droughts. Moreover, SWP plays a great role in enhancing the awareness of students regarding maintaining sound ecology through involving them in the development plan of the country at an early age. In addition, creating an environment where these students could know their fellow citizens outside their surrounding and discover their country is also part of the program. Through this, they can develop hard working spirit, gain experience and develop close ties among themselves. With the same purpose, preparations are finalized to carry out SWP effectively.  Mr. Fitwi Woldegiorgis, coordinator of the SWP has conducted an interview concerning this issue. Excerpt follows:

Explain to us the activities included in SWP?

The main task is focused on reforestation, terracing, soil and water conservation activities, building and renovating roads in rural areas, as well as participating in agricultural activities of farming communities. Furthermore, the work also comprises sanitation and maintenance of school furniture by technical school students, among others. Over the past years, about 14 million holes were dug and 17 million seedlings have been planted. Besides, a number of agricultural infrastructures including terraces and embankments have been constructed and repaired. This year also over 20,000 students and around 900 organizers that comprises of teachers, agriculture experts and health personnel are expected to take part.  SWP would be extended to 36 sub-region and 153 work stations and about 2 million tree seedlings are made ready for plantation.

How do you assess the task accomplished so far?
A study has been conducted in 2008-2009 for almost a year to review the task undertaking in the past rounds in which experts from around six ministries participated.  According to the research, the reforestation activities in enclosure   were effective, however, the undertaking campaigns in non-designated land was not successful as it was intended. On top of this, the program was significant in nurturing students both mentally and physically and become the backbone for the national development endeavors.

Is there any message you want to forward?

I encourage students to step up their effort in the upcoming campaigns. I would also like to call on all government and non-government organizations, ministries as well as the society at large to further strengthen their input in the program so as to achieve the desired goal.

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