An Ethiopian-Austrian cooperation:

Destaw Arage is a local tourist guide in Lalibela. He has witnessed the dramatic deforestation in his homeland. He still remembers Lalibela and its surrounded area being a green and forested area during his childhood. But within a few decades these forests have been cleared at breakneck speed so that nowadays Lalibela looks much more like a desert than a fertile region. (If you want to know more about the causes and consequences of deforestation in Lalibela, please visit background >)
That was why he decided to take measures against this devastating ecological situation.  In 2014 he gathered some of his friends to launch a reforestation program in Lalibela.
Completely by chance, they met Dr Donatella Magliani who was on an official trip for UNO at that time.  She was most impressed by his ideas and his commitment and agreed to support the project personally.

Donatella produced a carefully-devised project proposal and a cost-estimate breakdown in order to raise money for the initial funding to get the project started.  She chose to do this as a private individual driven by her personal motivations and convictions and not as a UN staff member. Having made various attempts to generate interest and support, she finally came across “People together”, an Austrian NGO, who were prepared and willing to support this project financially from the outset (see: what has been achieved so far?). However, the long-term perspective was to run the project in a self-sustaining way.

In the meantime Destaw had very quickly built a team of  like-minded people among his friends. All of them are dedicated in the same way as himself and were willing to participate voluntarily in the Agro Plantation Site project. Step by careful step, the group of ecologically-aware friends officially founded the non-profit organisation and were able to get governmental support. Dynamic awareness building amongst the surrounding communities helped to generate support from local people as well. The project was successfully on track.
Today "Agro-Plantation-Site" is an official NGO that is supported by public authorities. It has already been rewarded and board members are actually being invited to local conferences. It is meanwhile considered as a showcase project and will hopefully set an example for similar initiatives.