Thursday, 24 November 2016 00:00

To Serve and Protect... Biodiversity!

These might just be the "sweetest" police.

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A member of the police department with her adopted sapling. (Photo: Sylvie Perras/USC Canada)

Young trees of all kinds dot the yard, here and there protected with cardboard or supported with sticks. Yellow box beehives are nestled under a small wooden structure across from the main building and uniformed people crowd around a bowl of combs dripping with honey, eager to taste-test.

Sounds like an idyllic farm scene, doesn't it? It's actually the Woreilu police department, in remote northern Ethiopia. And these might just be the "sweetest" police.

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Bee hives at the police compound. (Photo: Sylvie Perras/USC Canada)

Three years ago, the Woreilu police approached our local partner organization, Ethio-Organic Seed Action (EOSA), with an idea. Knowing that EOSA works with young farmers, the police asked the organization for saplings they could nurture and grow on their compound. The plan, they said, was to promote growth and conservation of native trees and motivate people in the region to do the same – especially youth.

Ethiopia is one of the fastest expanding economies in the world but rural youth often do not reap the benefits of this growth. Getting access to farmland in or around their villages can be near impossible. With no place to farm, they leave their homes and family and move to the city or out of the country in search of work. What they can find instead is more unemployment or precarious, even dangerous jobs outside of Ethiopia.

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Photo: Sylvie Perras/USC Canada

In Woreilu, about 400 kilometres north of the capital, Addis Ababa, the police department is looking to be a positive role model for youth in the area by showcasing EOSA's work. Since obtaining three saplings from EOSA a few years ago, the department has added to their field of native trees. Today, each member of the department has "adopted" one seedling and is responsible for keeping it thriving. They have also added a beekeeping operation to their policely duties.

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Photo: Sylvie Perras/USC Canada

Inspired by USC Canada's Seeds of Survival program, these police are in turn inspiring youth by showing them the work that's possible in their own backyards.

Read 770 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 November 2016 18:47

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We’re called USC Canada because we started out way back in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee, founded by the energetic Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova. We’re still planting the seeds that Lotta sowed. Find out more about our founder, Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.

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