The Local Inhabitants of Entoto


Annex 3.

 Agenda from a Park Committee Meeting and other Relevant
 Information Regarding the Local Inhabitants of Entoto

A big part of carrying out this MFS has involved being members of a team and taking part in the discussions of the Park Committee. An agenda of a sub-committee meeting is appended to illustrate the process of working in the Park Committee and how policy issues could be strengthened through ventilating them after field trips and through cross-sectoral experience.

Annex 3.1       Meeting of Park Sub-committee on 17 Oct. 1994

Meeting Place: The British Council
Time 10:30 am
Purpose: To review the different options available to the Trust for land and
management in Entoto Natural park.


Sue Edwards National Herbarium, AAU
Damtew Teferra National Herbarium, AAU
Mirutz Ghiday National Herbarium, AAU
Yilma Delelegn Ethiopian Wildlife Organization, MoNRDEP
Yosef Bereded Private Firm
Pia Englund Swedish Volunteer
Håkan Blanck Swedish Volunteer
Beletu Mengistu Park Coordinator
Napoleon Tsegaye Park Assistant

The group visited the area to the south and east of the original park boundaries. This was to assess the additional area as suggested by Ato Hamza and Ato Zeleke (President of Region 14 Bureau on Natural Resources and the Environment, our comment). The group made the following conclusions and suggestions:

1. It is agreed to add the land beyond Leysus i.e., the foot of the hill facing Addis Abeba, the patch of forest on the right side of the road towards Azbari Ketcha. Azbari Ketcha is a small hill with a south-facing grassy slope and a north-facing steep bank which is near a collection of houses. This area forms a natural boundary for the Park at this point.

2. The group feels that the capacity of the Trust to manage the area already promised to it should be assessed thoroughly before taking up any offers of additional land.

Issues which are of particular concern in assessing management capacity are:

  • How many square kilometres can one guard be expected to cover, during the day/night?
  • Dealing with the people living in and/or around the Park area and using the natural resources there - fuel from wood and leaves, grazing, water, soil, etc.
  • What is a buffer zone? Are we planning to have one, and if so, where and for what purposes?
  • Personnel for in-Park management such as a warden?
  • How much is known about the interactions between the people in and around the area and the existing resources and other facilities in and around the Park?
  • Major changes in management, such as preventing grazing and haymaking, could radically change the plant communities in the upper areas of the Park, particularly the meadows and stream valleys. For example, without grazing to reduce the height of the grasses, the population of clover species would change.

3. The group made the following recommendations:

  • The area of about 17 square kilometres already being offered to the Trust is as much as we can cope with now, and we should not take on responsibilities for additional areas until we are more confident of our capacity to manage the area already promised.
  • Negotiations with Region 4 (Oromiyaa) regarding the area to the north continuing across the Sululta valley, should be continued through the good offices of the President of Region 14, Ato Tefera Walwa.
  • The Trust should work closely with the people living both inside and around the Park to establish strong cooperation. This could involve creating a management committee for the Park with the involvement of representatives of the local people.
  • The Trust should do whatever they can create confidence in the local people that the Park is to their ultimate advantage.
  • Economic activities which make sustained use of the natural resources in the park, such as the collection of grasses for basket-making, should be allowed and encouraged.
  • The development of the Park should be done in phases and the replacement of the Eucalyptus, as well as the resettlement of people, should match the phased development.

It was suggested that there should be three phases:

First phase: Identification and establishment of an area for the Headquarters, the introduction of guards and setting up of a management committee involving the local people, particularly those associated with Entoto Mariam Church.

Second phase: Development and management of a core area for recreation, environmental education, fundraising activities, etc.

Third phase: Extending development and management to the whole Park area based on the experiences of the first and second phases.
  • Ato Teshome, the chairman of the Entoto Mariam church committee should be encouraged to write up the history of the Park area/Entoto in collaboration with Wro. Beletu and Ato Napoleon.
  • The possibilities of working together with Entoto Mariam Church through the chairman of the church's committee should be pursued further. It has been emphasized that both parties could benefit from a close collaboration. If the church looks favourably of the development of the Park, it will influence the attitudes of the local people positively. The Trust can assist the church in better management of its heritage.

As much as possible, the Park has to be people-centred and people-based.

Annex 3.2   Nature Resource Management Division

Background During the weeks of the analysis, the undersigned felt that knowledge was missing regarding the interactions of the local people living on Entoto and the nature resources of the area, such as farmland, fuelwood, water and grazing land. A number of questions were written down and given to Ato Napoleon Tsegaye, who put in a great effort to find local sources to hear. A former Addis Bah's guard, Ato Abebe, who also used to live on Entoto, reported his view on the local customary land-use policies on Entoto, which will be referred to below.

The method of collecting information through informal interviews proved very successful and is highly recommended in future research for the Park Committee. The results from the interviews should be integrated with other data, for example in sub-committees for specific subjects. In the meantime, assumptions can be turned into research for a better understanding of the approach versus the locals. It would be very interesting and fruitful to study answers of this kind from more locals on Entoto.

It is suggested that this spatial information could be integrated into a land tenure map of 1:10 000. 

What springs and brooks in the Park area do most people use for washing and as a freshwater source? How many cattle and sheep are estimated to graze the Park area every day?
Any other existing restrictions for the open meadows in the northern part of the Park?
Any farmland inside the Park areas that have been abandoned?

Note that due to time constraints, the interview was held in Amharic after our departure in November 1994 and then sent to Sweden. The information refers mainly to those who are in the farmers association land (local peasant cooperations). The text is rendered with a minor revision.


Q: Any information on what plans for the streams/ watersheds on Entoto of the Water Resource Bureau of Region 14?

A: There is a shortage of drinking water in Addis Ababa and the water authorities have some plans to develop springs on Entoto and other parts of the city. For the time being, they only want to develop one spring on Entoto which is the first pipe in Addis.


Land Tenure Systems 
Q: Are there special customary land-use policies among the people of Entoto? What I mean is: How do people lay their hands on / grab land, and how do they know what land to take?

Do they discuss about it in the meetings of the Shemagles (elders), for example? Other topics of Shemagles meetings on natural resources, such as trees?

A: There are no special customary land use policies among the people of Entoto. It is the farmers association authorities who divide (share) the land among the farmers, i.e. the Shemagles do not get involved in the sharing. If any disagreement occurs, though, between two farmers and if they want to settle it through the Shemagles, then the Shemagles will get involved in the matter. The Shemagles mostly gather for social affairs like weddings, funerals and social problems. They do not discuss matters concerning nature, trees and natural resources.

The farmers know what land to take by looking at the soil type, observing the type of grass on the field and assessing its previous yield if it has been used before.


Q: How big is every household regarding land/fields? How much is necessary for a farmer to have for his family to survive (let's say 10 persons in the family) ?

A: Every farmer gets his farmland according to the soil type. On high quality soils, he might get less land. Every farmer could have about 2-3 ha of farmland. It is estimated that about 60 ha of farmland is enough to have 10 families of 10 persons each to survive. It should also be noticed that since most farmland has lost its fertility one could not get enough yield without using fertilizers.


Q: How good/bad is the soil? How many years can you use the fields before switching? (shifting-cultivation)

A: The soil on Entoto is very poor and it is becoming poorer and poorer every year. Some farmers shift fields every year, but most of them practice shifting cultivation when the yields become too low or when there are many weeds on the fields.


Q: Do they notice erosion on the fields? How fast? What do they do about it?

A: It seems that the farmers do not notice the soil erosion in the area because they are not taking prevention methods to protect the land from erosion.


Q: What is the division of labour between men and women on the fields?

A: There is a division of labour in the family. The men work in the fields, such as ploughing, selling firewood and cutting grass for cattle feed. The women do most duties connected with the house. Women also sell firewood, prepare and sell a fuel from dung, cabbage and butter (“cubet in Ahmaric). The children are mostly shepherds.


Q: How much time do the women on Entoto spend each day on collecting fuelwood?

A: The time the women spend on collecting fuelwood depends on the distance they travel to fetch the leaves and on the women's ability. They spend six hours to collect the desired quantity a day.


Common Lands - Special Restrictions
Q: Do the households share any land, like grazing land as common? How do they decide upon where, when and how it is allowed to graze their cattle on the commons?

A: There is one open land near Entoto Maryam church that is used as common land. During the rainy seasons, no one is allowed to graze on the field. It is regarded as church land and in October or November, the people pay to the church and could then graze their cattle on that field. In the forest, anyone is allowed to graze his cattle without restriction. (This is a very interesting management method to consider for the meadows inside the park, later on, our comment.)


Q: What do the house-holds grow? (Like a list and the seasons for this)

A: They mostly grow barley. Nowadays they are growing "Sinar", which is similar to barley

Annex 4. Results from Design Questionaire for the Park Committee

Background on November 21, 1994, the Park Committee filled in a questionnaire with topics related to the environmental design in the Park, but mainly in the area close to a future headquarters. The first purpose was to have every member of the Committee to go beyond the issues of the Park's identity they earlier had made statements about. We asked questions like "When you hear the expression 'local materials of Ethiopa' to be used at the Headquarters, what two materials first cross your mind?" and "Is there any building style of Ethiopia you particularly like?" and "What does a Headquarters of highest standards mean to you?".

We suspected the answers would be very different from each other, which turned out to be true. This indicates that the Park Committee has to make a clearer definition of what identity the Park should have before they write any terms of reference for an architectural competition.

At the beginning of the questionnaire, we gave a perspective on what we believe is a very common reality in a planning team. The story of the tree phases in a planning cycle (inspired by a lecture with Tiina Sarap-Quist, SLU) resulted in a very interesting discussion among the members of the Park Committee. It was mainly written for the members to evaluate their work and to force themselves a little bit further not to give in because of disagreements:

"In the first phase of planning, you are brought together by the task or vision, and chose members of the group to cooperate with. Enthusiasm is a very important energy factor in this phase, all members look for similarities in the ideas of the others. It is common to act for creating good relations with each other and by that to believe that no problem will emerge between different visions of the participants. (Creating a shell of unity)

The second phase is initiated by a sudden realisation that the planning group after all consists of individuals. Now each member starts to analyse the ideas of the others. From being extremely close in the discussions, people start to feel uncomfortable and exaggerate every disagreement. It is a phase of tensions, but also of more creative analysis than what the members actually see for the moment. (Jumping on thin ice at dawn)

The third phase is when the planning has to deal with realities. By then, through the analysis of his/her planning task, every member has experienced that nothing is as he/she had expected the situation to be. With new and wiser eyes and with a better understanding of the complexity of the task, the planning structure suddenly becomes effective and by the end, each member feels that solutions come like a string of pearls. (Finding the sewing machine for the patchwork blanket.)”

The second purpose of this research was to have an agreement on the setting of the buildings in the landscape near the Headquarters, i.e. the character of the area, which is presumed to be most visited in the future Park. This is to avoid conflicts later on. We also wanted the Park Committee to consider the realistic scale of the future headquarters.

The third purpose of our questions was to have background material for our subsequent design in Sweden.

4.2 Answers by Numbers:

1. In 25 years' time, 7 members believed they could build 2-4 houses in the Headquarters area, while 3 members were more enthusiastic and thought 5-10 buildings could be built. 2 persons even thought 11-20 houses were the right scale for the Headquarters.

2. Inside the headquarters area, a majority (11 against3) wanted the buildings to be spread out in the landscape instead of clustered.

3. The answers were more diverse concerning the style of the gardens closest to the headquarters. No one wanted an impressive formal garden of an Italian style, but 1 member could see a French-style formal garden in front of his/her eyes. 4 persons were attracted to the informal, romantic English type of garden. Then the answers turned 6 against 6 between a nature-like garden (wild in character) and an educational garden.

It is our belief that many kinds of gardens can be combined, and that one style of garden sometimes crosses another style. The results can therefore be described that the Park Committee wanting to educate the visitors on the more wild part of Ethiopian nature and to let that nature come very close to the buildings.

4. Most members also wanted a more park-like forest in the vicinity of the Headquarters (7 answers), but 3 persons argued for a wild, dense forest and 2 persons wanted open meadows to be the overall characteristic around the Headquarters.

5. On the somewhat cryptical question regarding "local materials of Ethiopia" one could of course claim that local materials are the materials offered by the natural resources at a certain site. The building styles of Ethiopia differ very much in materials because of the size of the country. The answers anyhow give a hint about what building materials could be used in the design of the gardens and buildings.

First of all, visible concrete was turned down. (Our suggestion is to actively avoid any constructions made on concrete on tracks and out in the parks, such as benches etc.) Instead, the stone appeared to be the material most people considered Ethiopian (8 persons). Wood was also a classical building material (5 persons). Then the answers were divided between bamboo (4 answers) and Adobe (special building material, among others made of clay, straw and dung (4 persons).

6. The question might have been poorly formulated. People mostly left it out. No comment.

7. The building styles of Ethiopia will be the inspiration for the architects. It is maybe not necessary to stimulate only one building style. A mixture of influences can give very interesting results. Except for answers preferring old Addis City houses (3 persons), the answers spread out between, Sidamo-style, Tigray houses, circular big Tukul houses and the Sudan style. t

8. A question about a particular form suitable for the Headquarters design gave the same indication as question number 7. The two-floor Addis Abeba city house, with wide verandahs, was the form most people liked as their first choice (7 persons). A circular form came as a second answer (4 persons). Then, 1 person wanted a very modern building and 1 member prefered houses built in squares. No one argued for an octagonal house, like Entoto Maryam Church, nor an atrium house. 1 person could imagine a rectangular house and similarly, 2 persons mentioned an oval shape of the Headquarters' buildings.

9. Where to have the car park is an intricate question, because it is related to the whole basic concept of the Park.8 people agreed that the main car park should be sited at the Park entrance. 3 people wanted the main car park to be situated near the Headquarters and 3 people wanted a small car park at the Headquarters. 1 person did not want a car park at all. 4 people wrote that a special car park for the wedding park had to be planned.

10. This question is related to question number 9. The size of the car park at the Headquarters should not grow bigger than that the parking place could provide space for 75 cars at the same time (6 persons agreed upon this). 1 person wrote that a parking place for 300 cars should be designed for. (The space for a car park would then take up about 4000 square metres. Our comments) Two persons did not want to provide possibilities for more than 25 cars to be parked at the same time and 1 member was even more determined to reduce the parking place, he/she argued for not more than 5 cars in a parking lot.

We understand the answer to be connected with the fact that most Park Committee members want nature to dominate the impression when visitors arrive at the headquarters area.

11. In reply to the question of what a headquarters of the highest standards meant to the Park Committee member, most people emphasized the environmental education possibilities in the nearness to the area. One member answered like this: "a place where people could come for lectures, exhibitions, recreation etc.'

This answer indicates that the diversity of activities offered at Entoto Natural Park and reflected in the headquarters concept will be attractive to many visitors. The Headquarters should offer possibilities for meetings, discussions and positive experiences.

12. This question concerned the 3 most important issues to consider for the location of the Headquarters. A planner has sometimes to make priorities among different qualities. We wanted to focus on this issue because it is fundamental.

The answers were equally divided between the view that the headquarters should be as close to as many nature attraction points as possible, that the setting should be in a sheltered site, and that good accessibility from Addis was important to plan for.

13. The last question was a little bit more personal, "what do you have in mind as recreational activities except for tracks?"

The answers spread out, but most people proposed camping, which is a very popular activity
among young people, bird watching and horse-riding. It should be noted that regular horseback-riding excursions already take place in the eastern parts of the Park area.

(Håkan Blanck and Pia Englund, Entoto Natural Park 1995)


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