Communities in the Gedeo – West Guji zones came together to plant trees as a symbol of peace and sustainable future.
The planting trees for peace event was organized by the Ministry of Peace, The National Disaster Risk Management Commission and West Guji Administration in collaboration with UNDP through a project financed by the Governments of Denmark and Japan. In July 2019, UNDP launched a four year project to support the recovery and resilience of 50,000 households in communities affected by Gedeo – West Guji displacement with the funding from the Government of Denmark and Japan. The project is helping to restore basic services, sustainable livelihoods, rehabilitation of infrastructures and households.
The trees were planted 5kms away from Gerba Town on the road from Dilla to Bule Hora where the traditional reconciliation ceremony of Gondoro is conducted between the people of Gedeo and Guji.
The tree planting event sought to help foster peace and social cohesion by bringing communities together under a common cause that benefits all. The event brought together community elders, recent returnees, government officials as well as representatives from UN agencies . Neighboring communities of Amaro and Burji, which were also affected by similar losses, took part in the planting activity.
Peace messages were delivered by children, youth and Abba Gedas (members of the traditional governance structure and system of the Oromos and Gedeo people).
The communities will continue coming together to follow up the planted trees quarterly basis as a sign of sustained peace and development in the area.
Communities living in the Gedeo – West Guji zones were affected by intercommunal conflicts that has resulted in displacement of over a million people in 2018 despite their strong socio-economic ties and history of co-existing together peacefully in the past. Families and individuals have lost their loved ones, productive assets, homes, and possessions.