Innovation platforms for establishment and management of community nurseries in the central highlands of Ethiopia.
Developing community nurseries is one of the very important steps to expand tree covers in degraded as well as other areas. The establishment of such nurseries, however, requires a sustained commitment from the community and proper coordination of a sequence of activities as any failure to pay attention to the details of important processes may result in the production of poor-quality and quantity of seedlings. This study was, therefore, designed to document important processes, lessons and challenges encountered from the participatory nursery establishment and management in Borodo and Mekentuta watersheds of central Ethiopia. The processes of establishing nurseries were started by forming Innovation Platforms (IPs). The IPs in each watershed consisted of local community, a local administrator, village and watershed representatives, religious leaders, elders, researchers and development agents. Each IP elected its own leader, who was responsible for (i) registration of interested members, (ii) organising meeting and field visits in the absence of researchers or development workers, and (iii) monitoring the implementation of agreed nursery schedules. The proper execution of planned nursery activities, however, did not materialise as all members did not share responsibilities equally. Hence, local bylaws were formulated to ensure equal and sustained participation, although, their effectiveness was constrained by the existence of blood relationships among IP members and weak enforcement mechanisms. Overall, this paper discusses the most important processes, lessons and challenges encountered during participatory nursery establishment and management so as to use such experiences as inputs for similar development works in the future.
Key Words: Community nursery, innovation platform, tree and shrub species, watershed