Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME) held an inauguration ceremony to mark the completion of the Haro Bake Micro Dam in the Borana Zone of Oromia Regional State on 3 November 2015. The ceremony was attended by the Aba Gada and his councils, community representatives, zone and woreda officials, representatives of the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery and PRIME leadership including Mercy Corps country Director, PRIME COP, and staff from SOS Sahel, CARE Ethiopia Mercy Corps Ethiopia. The ceremony was concluded with a panel discussion among Aba Gada, elders, government representatives, PRIME staff, and community members in which important decisions on how to maintain and utilize the dam were made.
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Bake is the largest rain harvesting structure in Borana land and the rehabilitation work has enhanced people’s ability to cope with scarcity of water during bad rainy seasons, contributing to overall resilience of the community in the area. As the result of the rehabilitation, over 15,000 households will have access to water for domestic and livestock consumption during critical dry periods.
The event was characterized by a festive mood and upbeat discourse. The Borana Zone vice administrator, Abdiselam Wario, for example said, “Rehabilitation of Bake really makes a difference in pastoral production to people here, whose livelihood depends on availability of water. No water means no livestock, no production, and no life.” He thanked PRIME for saving the life of the dam, lives of people and their key asset, livestock.” He was in fact so happy that he named the dam “Borana Renaissance Dam”. The Gomole range land council leader, Abba Dheeda, said, “Bake is our life; it is a huge rehabilitation; we couldn’t have done it without PRIME support”.
Sustainability and environment were a couple of issues Pastoralist Areas Resilience Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME) PRIME took very seriously when undertaking this activity. For ensuring lasting maintenance and utilization of the resource, PRIME partnered and coordinated with government institutions, community elders and non-governmental organizations right from the start. In the panel discussion PRIME held at the end of the event, thorough deliberations of how to maintain and utilize the dam were held with government and community representatives. Accordingly, the dam management was handed over to the relevant customary administrative units. Oromia’s Borana Zone is known for its very successful water control and management system, which has evolved to be one of the most elaborate and suitable structure with apt checks and balances to enable people use water and pasture equitably and sustainably with minimal conflicts. The system proved to be so efficient that it has won buy-in from community and government. By linking the dam with such effective system, PRIME ensured judicious and lasting utilization of the dam. The project will continue to support government and community to run it efficiently through further capacity-building interventions.
For the press release about the event by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa visit http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov/pr_2015_41.html