Aba Gerima Learning Watershed, Ethiopia

Challenges · Landscape Restoration · Water

Landscape Profile

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Aba Gerima Learning Watershed, Ethiopia

Approximate size (hectares)





Humid Subtropical

Production Systems

Banana, Fruit, Khat, Livestock, Maize, Millet, Teff


The Aba Gerima Learning Watershed is located in Amhara National Regional State, West Gojam Zone Administration in the Bahir Dar Zuria woreda. It is part of the Lake Tana sub-basin. Aba Gerima has a mixed crop-livestock farming system (maize, finger millet, Teff, mango, banana, avocado, Khat, and cattle). Land uses include crop land (66%), grazing (17%), plantation forest and riverine edible wild trees (3-4%), homesteads (9%) and degraded lands.

Aba Gerima is a part of the Water and Land Resource Centre’s Learning Watershed network.

Voices From The Field

I am a soil and water conservation specialist working as a Knowledge Management Division Head for the Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC). I have been involved in soil conservation, watershed management, hydrology, water management, and irrigation research for over 15 years. Currently, I am researching watershed management, documenting the best SLM and landscape practices and innovations, scenario planning, and performing hydrology and erosion analysis.

Dr. Gizaw Desta Director, Knowledge Management Division, Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC)

Major Successes


Learning Watershed Approach

The Aba Gerima landscape is operating under a Learning Watershed method, where comprehensive technical, institutional and knowledge management interventions are integrated through a multi-stakeholder approach. After understanding the needs of the community and priority constraints of the landscape, the following landscape activities mainly related to natural resource management, production and livelihood are accomplished.


Integrated Watershed Management and Restoration

In the areas of natural resource management, residents have successfully rehabilitated degraded areas and improved crop lands using physical and biological soil conservation measures through the practice of Integrated Watershed Management. Having seen the need to take action to restore the watershed, the previous measures have been implemented by free mobilized labor that was contributed by the community themselves, .


Agricultural technologies and intensification

The introduction and promotion of improved agricultural technologies of crop, livestock and farm mechanization is one of the key interventions that helped to intensify agricultural production and improve the productivity of the farming system. Particularly, the promotion of both pre-harvest and post-harvest farm technologies have impacted production efficiency and the livelihoods of youth groups. Combinations of different technologies for homestead development are used to enhance intensification and improve income of households.


Livelihood strengthening

Livelihood innovations targeting the youth and women such as apiculture production, nursery development, sheep and poultry rearing, energy saving stoves, are working well while also providing services to the community including livestock health services, and threshing machine operation are among landscape activities.

Working Together

Expanding and collaborating between sectoral membership associations

Institutional frameworks and participatory mechanisms are formulated for different purposes. The watershed committee supports the planning and management of the overall watershed development which is governed by community agreed bylaws. The linkage between research and extension at grass root level has been enhanced through the establishment of Farmer-Research-Extension Group that helps to evaluate and select the best agricultural technologies and facilitate their dissemination. Other institutions like the Saving and Credit Association are also established to encourage farmers to implement technologies made possible by loans. Local authorities, development sectors, researchers and farmers collaborate in the joint planning, implementation and monitoring of the landscape activities.

Practices, experiences and impacts are regularly monitored, documented, and shared to the stakeholders through annual planning forums and joint landscape visits. A variety of tools such as photo monitoring, spatial planning tools, landscape mapping, exit strategies, sustainability guidelines and WOCAT are employed. 

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