Urban job creation and food security program is enabling citizens to generate income participating in social and economic infrastructure development works in overall sectors.
The implementation of urban food security and job creation program in towns is improving the lives of under poverty line communities and build capacity to save from the earnings. In addition to ensuring food security of under poverty line citizens, it also contributing further economic and social development and growth of the nation creating more jobs for unemployed citizens.
Zenebe Kumo, Urban Food Security and Job Creation, Director General at the Agency, said that implementing the program in 11 towns is improving the lives of citizens and ensuring food security of communities generating income and encouraging saving culture of the citizens who are under poverty line.
To ensure citizen’s economic and social welfare the government has implemented various development plans; creating job opportunities and ensuring food security as one of the comfortable policies and strategies applied in the past years to improve the lives of the society, the director said.
As a result millions of citizen’s are able to make better living through the opportunities and some of them have changed into affluent personnel generating appropriate income and conquering poverty through hard work.
The program which is expected to benefit more than 604,000 citizens who found under poverty line to ensure food security with in three years was implmented in the last fiscal year.
More than 444,000 destitute citizens have benefited since the launching of the program. Sixty eight percent of women have benefitted and ensured food security and have got job opportunities participating in local development actuivities.
The program is running with a total of 450 million US dollar budget which is allotted to perform the program; 300 million US dollars loan obtained from the World Bank and 150 million dollar government budget to benefit the citizens.
According to Zenebe, to enable more citizens to generate income and to ensure their food security the project beneficiaries will engage in urban agricultural activities, greenery development, urban sanitation and beautification, infrastructure development and integrated basin development works in the coming eight years.
Reducing unemployment and poverty in the city is the main agenda of the government in the second transformation and growth plan. And ensuring food security for communities who found under poverty line is also an additional task of the government.
Depending on this food security and job creation program is ongoing in ten years extension engaging urban dwellers to that are under poverty line ensure food security.
Diredawa city administration mayor, Ibrahim Usman said that more than 11,760 people in three kebelles are participating in dry sanitation, integrated basin development, and infrastructure development activities and two thousand two hundred forty citizens are getting direct benefit from the program in the last fiscal year.
Similarly, this fiscal year the selection and registration tasks are ongoing to implement and benefit additional three kebelles dwellers in Diredawa, he indicated.
According to him to achieve better outcome on ongoing works the integration of all stakeholders is essential especially to differentiate obstacles to implement the program putting appropriate solutions and applying the work in an integrated way has a great role.
The general director indicated that trustworthy result shows that efforts are on the right way to ensure fair wealth distribution in the country and the government has given great emphasis and commitment to benefit unemployed youths funding youth revolving fund and ensure the productivity of youths using the allotted fund.
Salia Abudrahman, the beneficiary of the project and who is participating in stain developing in Diredawa city administration said that previously she was engaging in manual labor works to manage herself and families, now she generates income participating in environment protection works and enable Diredawa city from the flood.
She indicated that she is able to hit dual advantages from the project. “I earn nine hundred birr per month engaging in environment protection works with organized communities and I perform marketing activities in extra time. I am saving money on monthly basis and I have planned to build my own house.”
Mesfin Addisu, Diredawa city administration water and soil protection expert and project support professional said that previously this area was covered with forests, but after a long period of time due to rapid population growth the forest deforested, now organized and job created citizens are reclaiming the degraded land.
He indicated that more than 35 hectares of land is developing in Diredawa to change to green economy which is affected due to current climate change.
Currently, we are performing the physical works in area when we add biological works it saves soil erosion and restores the green economy after we cover the environment by grass and plants, he added.
He mentioned that Diredawa was victim of flood repeatedly, making stain and covering the environment with grass and plants protects the town from the challenge.
Seble Reta, member of an urban job creation and food security team says “ I earn 1200 birr monthly and I saved more than 2200 in eleven months from my income participating in environment protection works and we are building dams to irrigate water to protect environment for future and we grow plants to save the environment and to produce additional food.
We save from our income for future sustainable life improvement programs, in the last there was a challenge to pay house rent, now I can easily cover the expense engaging in environment development. The project has benefited us, she said.
“We are ready to create our own job or business in various sectors in organized way or individually after graduation in three years duration with our capacity, government’s support and with our prior saving depending on our interest.”
She noted that previously most of the participants were fire wood collectors.
More than 40,000 beneficiaries in Diredawa town participating in various development sectors who generate income from participation of infrastructural works and get direct support, said Diredawa urban job creation and food security branch director, Gashaw Beyene.
The administration has created conditions to enable communities generate income and support their localities and themselves participating in various infrastructure development activities, he added.
Hussein Ahmed, Diredawa city administration food security program coordinator with kebelle nine said that there are 4,950 beneficiaries in our kebelle, 4180 are participating in environment development activities and 780 who cannot engage in development activities due to various reasons are getting direct support.
He indicated that the money released to the participants according to their work attendance. Strengthening environmental development activities suffer from flood in rainy season becoming free with given emphasis for environment protection and rehabilitation activities. After emerging the soil stain on the degraded areas, youths will engage in urban agricultural activities. Doing this we get two advantages protecting environment from damage and producing additional food to ensure food security, he noted.
The program is supporting under poverty line citizens. Due to its effectiveness, the program should continue until they join sustainable life improvement programs by their own.
Some participants raise complaints as unequal payment and workdays. Seble Asrat the participant of the project told that she works for only ten days within a month and gets 300 birr for and others work twenty days and get better income depending on the number of family members. She added that if the family member is large, working days and payment is large. However, if the family members are small working days are short and payment is small, she told. Due to this we do not generate equal income, she mentioned. She argued that to work equal days and to earn equal income or payment.
According to the general director working day and payment variation has occurred due to the size of family members. The payment and working days depend on the number of family members.
As a new program the agency is challenged to share best experiences from others. Expanding human power to strengthen the program is the better way in supporting the issue.
BY TSEGAYE TILAHUN