Brabantia and The Hunger Project

photo © Johannes Odé

Brabantia wants to make the world more beautiful, by making beautiful products that change daily chores into valuable rituals. By consistently focussing on sustainability, and by supporting people and organisations that make a difference. That is why we support both WeForest and - since 2017 - The Hunger Project. WeForest and The Hunger Project also work together - WeForest with trees and The Hunger Project with people. Together we make a stand against erosion - because eroded soil is depleted soil, resulting in crop failures and food insecurity.

In the Machakel region of north-eastern Ethiopia, at first sight everything seems fine. In the rainy season, the grass grows well, and the hills are green. But when you look a little closer, you can see significant, sometimes even extreme erosion. Deep, bare cuts appear in the otherwise green landscape. In the rainy season, more and more fertile soil washes away through these channels. WeForest and The Hunger Project are trying to stop this process by planting trees and educating people. Brabantia supports them. But the main partners of this project are the men and women of Machakel themselves.

Trees instead of cattle

To really combat erosion, areas of land of at least 14 hectares are needed. The population makes this community land available for forest planting, rather than for grazing livestock. This is a major investment in this area, where land is scarce. But it is a very important one: “Cows worsen erosion. They eat grass and plants and crush the ground. The result is that the soil does not retain water as well, and existing small erosion trenches are getting bigger and bigger”, says Workneh Edesa, project manager The Hunger Project Ethiopia.

Photo © Johannes Odé

Photo © Johannes Odé

People invest their time

The people of Machakel not only provide land, but also time. They unite in committees, help plant seedlings and protect young plantings. In a poor area like this, doing so much volunteering is a big investment. Belaching Yunus, chairman of the committee of Amanuel Zuriya explains why he does it anyway: “In training, I learned how to stop erosion on the slopes and how to maintain the ecosystem. We planted thousands of seedlings this year and together we placed a fence around the area. You can see that the grass in this area is already much higher and there is more variation in plants. ”

Choosing trees

The inhabitants of Machakel prefer to plant eucalyptus trees. They grow quickly, and can be cut down quickly, which means income. But these trees deplete the soil, use far too much groundwater, displace other types of trees and worsen erosion. To stop erosion, the people are now planting a wide variety of protected native trees. A bold choice for the long term.

Our results so far:
- There are 3 nurseries in the region, where seedlings are grown
- Trained farmers and women farmers have united in 60 farmers' committees
- 530 hectares of community land have been made available for forest planting
- Local volunteers have planted over 1 million trees
- 735,000 fruit trees and fruit bearing shrubs have been planted on farmyards, allowing another 270 hectares of land to be used for agroforestry

What does Brabantia do?

Brabantia has been supporting WeForest since 2015, through the sale of drying racks and rotary dryers. The partnership with The Hunger Project started with the introduction of the 1.3-litre carafe shaped canisters and two 1-litre glass canisters - all with measuring cups. For every storage jar sold, Brabantia pays The Hunger Project for the training of one resident. The jars themselves also help against food waste: they keep food fresh longer, and the measuring cups help you prepare just the right amount for your meal.

“The most important thing for me is that we create a better living environment together and that we combat the consequences of climate change. The children that I will probably have, should also be able to live here”, says Gizachen Buyu. And even though the two never met, he is completely on par with our CEO, Tijn van Elderen. He says: “We want to be part of the solution, not of the problem. We have to, because we want to leave a beautiful world to our children and their children.”

Photo © Johannes Odé

                      Photo © Johannes Odé

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