Young, old, women, and men of Eritrea always have and always will strike for the well-being of our country. Ever since independence the Eritrean government along with its people worked on making Eritrea better in every aspect. One of the most known activities that spring from the collaboration of young people of Eritrea and the government is the yearly “Matot”. Records show that 30% of Eritrean land used to be covered by a dense forest and now due to prolonged wars as well as consecutive droughts and other factors, was been reduced to only 1% coverage in less than a century. To improve such factors the Eritrean government through the Ministry of Agriculture aimed and carefully organized a lot of activities done by all Eritreans as individuals but also all together to make the land of our home land fertile to satisfy all of our needs and requests.
Although this activity is done all year round by everyone “Matot” specifically refers to the activity done by high school students (usually freshman and sophomore) during the summer.
Matot started in the year 1994. The government of Eritrea in order to restore natural vegetation launched summer work programs. These programs consist in deploying students from different parts of the country to participate in forestation activities ranging from planting tree seedlings as well as soil and water conservation activities. A big amount of human resources and 173 million Nakfas were deployed in this effort over the past 18 years. Without a doubt in this past years not only has it improved massively and has been very useful to the country but also built a stronger bond between all the youth of Eritrea.
It is amazing that in these four weeks all the students work their hardest but at the same time enjoy themselves very much. This is indeed possible because these young people get to camp out, enjoy the clean and refreshing air, they are among friends and make more friends in the mean while, and last but not least they feel like they are doing a great difference and they feel like they are making a big impact in the country’s development. Therefore when you find these kids coming back from the camping they are all happy and proud.
This year Matot started on the 9th of July. The activities take into consideration the climate in the different areas of the country. In some places like the Southern Red Sea region Matot did start a bit early because in the following month the weather is forecasted to be one of the hottest summers as has seen in the last few years.
In total almost 27 thousand students and 1300 agricultural expertise are collaborating in carrying on with the Matot program aiming to have even more satisfying results from the past years. The program has prepared 160 sites in which the students will be working on planting new trees, soil and water conservation. It’s expected that with this year’s program the youth will revive a very wide area. In addition the government, specially the Ministry of Education along with the Ministry of Agriculture, is working hard in providing a suitable situation for students to inter-react with each other and gain experience. This way in the end of these four weeks the students will leave with some additional education and life changing ideas and principles.
Matot is indeed a highly expected by the young people of Eritrea because not only gets to make their summer vacation exciting but also because they get to do what may look simple and easy but is definitely of great and amazing importance in the contribution of the national development.
It also has a cultural purpose since it enables them to gain traditional knowledge as they all come from different parts of our country. It is remarkable the fact that our students grow closer to each other while sharing the warmth of the brotherly Eritrean love in this cold summer breath and rainy season.