Amarew - Amharic for "aspire"

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AMAREW Success Story

Gabion Wire Box Production at Lenche Dima Watershed -
Empowering Farmers Locally

An on-going activity in the area of micro-enterprise development with the AMAREW project includes gabion wire box production at the Lenche Dima pilot watershed. A gabion is a stone-filled basket used to stabilize soil and prevent erosion.

There is a high demand for gabion boxes in the woreda (province) and its surroundings due to severe gulley formation in various watersheds. The nearest source of gabion boxes for the Lenche Dima area is either Debre Tabor or Addis Ababa, at a cost of 350 Birr ($40) per box.  The same gabion produced by the newly organized self-help group on site costs only 120 Birr ($14). The production of gabion boxes at Lenche Dima, in addition to raising the incomes of poor farmers, greatly reduces the time and money spent by government and non-government institutions in procuring the soil-erosion tools for residents of the watershed.


Resource-poor rural household heads were trained in gabion box production and provided with starter capital to engage in this income generating activity in the Lenche Dima watershed. A local group produces and markets the in-demand but locally unavailable gabions. This activity has helped them supplement their annual income by making the items that were previously procured from places as far as 350 km away.

In view of these facts, the AMAREW project arranged for the training of selected farmers in gabion production and provided the initial materials for production.  Now, gabion production activity in the watershed is functioning in full swing.

Gabion producers at the Lenche Dima watershed are presently contracted by the woreda office of agriculture to produce gabion wire boxes for various food security programs within the woreda. One gabion-producing farmer can make as much cash in a month from fashioning gabions as he or she can make in a year from crop production. To assist farmers in allowing them to devote all the time and attention they need to their farming, gabion production is deliberately scheduled during the slack season of January-March. 

The entire gulley rehabilitation activity led by the AMAREW project at the Lenche Dima watershed, in partnership with the Gubalafto woreda office of agriculture and the Sirinka research center, uses gabions produced on site by local producers. This, in addition to increasing the efficiency of gulley rehabilitation work, enables communities to do the work at a lower cost. Using gabions and other such structures, the community in Lenche Dima is successfully rehabilitating a gulley which was once considered a major threat to farm lands and thereby to farm family livelihoods.


Supported by the United States Agency for International Development
Cooperative Agreement No. 663-C-00-02-00340-00
Office of International Research, Education and Development
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University