Mekelle, Ethiopia
Mekelle, Ethiopia

Mekelle University is a higher education and training public institution located in the city of Mekelle, situated in the northern Tigray Regional State of Ethiopia. It is 783 kilometers away from Addis Ababa, the capital, to the north. Wikipedia.


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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2009-1-2-04 | Award Amount: 7.82M | Year: 2010

SOLIBAM will develop specific and novel breeding approaches integrated with management practices to improve the performance, quality, sustainability and stability of crops adapted to organic and low-input systems, in their diversity in Europe and taking into account small-scale farms in Africa. SOLIBAM will: 1. Identify traits specific for adaptation to low-input/organic conditions over a wide range of agro-climatic conditions in Europe 2. Develop efficient phenotyping, genotyping and molecular tools to monitor heritable variation during selection. Molecular analysis of functional polymorphisms will increase accuracy in breeding methodologies and improve monitoring of genetic diversity and adaptation along generations. It will also increase the understanding of adaptive phenomena 3. Develop the use of within-crop diversity to stabilise yield and quality in the face of current and increasing variation in organic and low-input agriculture 4. Design, develop and test innovative arable and vegetable cropping systems based on integration of a high level of diversification in crop management with the use of genetically diverse populations or varieties 5. Compare the effectiveness of different breeding strategies under conventional, low input and certified organic farming to set up optimal strategies for the production of varieties suitable for organic and low input farming taking into account the traits which are avoided in conventional breeding 6. Develop methodologies for farmers participatory research that exploit SOLIBAMs advances in low-input and organic farming 7. Quantify the effects and interactions of breeding and management innovations on crop nutritional, organoleptic and end-use quality 8. Evaluate socio-economic and environmental impacts of SOLIBAM breeding and management innovations in order to identify farm business, consumer preference, food supply and legislation related issues that are likely to influence their adoption


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: WATER-5c-2015 | Award Amount: 3.57M | Year: 2016

The WHO estimates that in 2015 in Africa ~156 million people relied on untreated sources for their drinking water. WATERSPOUTT will design, develop, pilot and field-test a range of, sustainable point-of-use solar disinfection (SODIS) technologies that will provide affordable access to safe water to remote and vulnerable communities in Africa and elsewhere. These novel large-volume water treatment SODIS technologies will be developed in collaboration and consultation with the end-users, and include: 1. HARVESTED RAINWATER SODIS SYSTEMS for domestic and community use. (South Africa, Uganda). 2. TRANSPARENT 20L SODIS JERRYCANS. (Ethiopia) 3. COMBINED 20L SODIS/CERAMIC POT FILTRATION SYSTEMS. (Malawi) These are novel technologies that will create employment and economic benefits for citizens in both the EU and resource-poor nations. WATERSPOUTT will use social science strategies to: a. Build integrated understanding of the social, political & economic context of water use & needs of specific communities. b. Examine the effect of gender relations on uptake of SODIS technologies. c. Explore the relevant governance practices and decision-making capacity at local, national and international level that impact upon the use of integrated solar technologies for point-of-use drinking water treatment. d. Determine the feasibility & challenges faced at household, community, regional and national level for the adoption of integrated solar technologies for point-of-use drinking water treatment. WATERSPOUTT will transform access to safe drinking water through integrated social sciences, education & solar technologies, thus improving health, survival, societal well-being & economic growth in African developing countries. These goals will be achieved by completing health impact studies of these technologies among end-user communities in Africa. Many of the consortium team have worked for more than 15 years on SODIS research in collaboration with African partners.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP-SICA | Phase: KBBE.2010.1.2-03 | Award Amount: 4.94M | Year: 2011

EAU4Food seeks to address the need for new approaches to increase food production in irrigated areas in Africa, while ensuring healthy and resilient environments. Potential pitfalls of introducing innovations in local farming systems, like limited adoption by farmers and trade-off effects to other (environmental) systems are overcome by, respectively, i) utilizing a true transdisciplinary approach, which involves the active participation of all stakeholders in all relevant disciplines, and ii) by determining and respecting so called sustainable production thresholds. EAU4Food is executed in four irrigated areas in Africa, viz. Southern Africa (Mozambique and South-Africa), Tunisia, Mali and Ethiopia to fully benefit from the potential of cross distributing promising strategies and innovations. At each site, key indicators, risk factors, farm strategies and biophysical parameters are monitored for identification of current constraints to food production and to evaluate agro-ecological and socio-economic impacts of improved practices and/or innovations after implementation. Results of EAU4Food are distilled into tailor made support tables and guidelines for different user groups. These support tables and guidelines support decision making processes at local level by overseeing short-term and long-term effects of alternative practices and improved strategies. EAU4Food is expected to have significant positive impacts on agricultural production at farm level for many years to come, and on wider policy processes at national and trans-national levels. To enlarge and maintain the impact of EAU4Food, capacity building programmes are developed at different levels, going from farmer to farmer exchange up to exchange of scientific personnel. Moreover, further exploitation of the results of EAU4Food is supported via other mediums such as songs of success, documentaries, school programmes, policy briefs, fact-books and scientific publications and presentations.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP-SICA | Phase: ENV.2010.3.1.1-4 | Award Amount: 2.62M | Year: 2011

WAHARA will take a transdisciplinary approach to develop innovative, locally adapted water harvesting solutions with wider relevance for rainfed Africa. Water harvesting technologies play a key role in bringing about an urgently needed increase in agricultural productivity, and to improve food and water security in rural areas. Water harvesting technologies enhance water buffering capacity, contributing to the resilience of African drylands to climate variability and climate change, as well as to socio-economic changes such as population growth and urbanisation. To ensure the continental relevance of project results, research will concentrate on four geographically dispersed study sites in Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Zambia, covering diverse socio-economic conditions and a range from arid to sub-humid climates. The project emphasizes: i) participatory technology design, i.e. selecting and adapting technologies that have synergies with existing farming systems and that are preferred by local stakeholders, yet tap from a global repertoire of innovative options; ii) sustainable impact, i.e. technologies that combine multiple uses of water, green and blue water management, and integrated water and nutrient management. Using models, water harvesting systems will be designed for maximum impact without compromising downstream water-users, contributing to sustainable regional development; iii) integration and adaptability, i.e. paying attention to the generic lessons to be learned from local experiences, and developing guidelines on how technologies can be adapted to different conditions; and iv) learning and action, i.e. a strategy will be developed to enable learning and action from successes achieved locally: a. within a region, to upscale from water harvesting technologies to water harvesting systems, and b. across regions, promoting knowledge exchange at continental scale.


Yohannes M.,Mekelle University | Boelee E.,SRI International
Medical and Veterinary Entomology | Year: 2012

The biting cycle of the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis Patton (Diptera: Culicidae) was assessed by hourly light trap collections in three villages in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Hourly catches were conducted in two houses in each village, for four consecutive nights. Light traps were set from 18.00 hours to 07.00 hours in houses in which people slept under untreated bednets. Anopheles arabiensis showed early biting activities, which peaked between 19.00 hours and 20.00 hours in the three villages; over 70% of biting activity occurred before 22.00 hours, when people typically retire to bed. This early biting activity may have a negative impact on the efficiency of bednets to control malaria. © 2011 The Authors. Medical and Veterinary Entomology © 2011 The Royal Entomological Society.


Araya A.,Mekelle University | Stroosnijder L.,Wageningen University
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2011

Long-term climate data of four stations in the northern Ethiopia were analyzed in combination with information from local farmers and documented materials. From this analysis, a suitable drought-assessing technique was developed and site-specific needs for supplementary irrigation were explored. Results showed that our technique for assessing drought and crop failure corresponded well with farmer observations. The three major causes of crop failure (dry spells, short growing period and "total lack of rain") which were explicitly listed and ranked by the local farmers were found to match the analyzed data well. The agro-meteorological variables with the most severe consequences were "short growing period" and "total lack of rain" To prolong the growing period, supplementary irrigation is recommended in the month of September for three of the stations (Maychew, Mekelle and Adigudom) because: (1) rain frequently stops in early September or late August and crops have no other source of water for the rest of the growing period; (2) sufficient surface runoff can be harvested in July and August to be stored in farm ponds and used in September; (3) more cultivable land can be irrigated if supplementary irrigation is scheduled only for the month of September; and (4) giving supplementary irrigation in September can cut yield reduction by over 80% and crop failure by over 50%, except at Alamata. At Alamata, supplementary irrigation must be scheduled for July. The conditions experienced during the famine years of the early 1980s were primarily caused by the continued total rain failure over multiple years. Giving supplementary irrigation in July or September would probably not have mitigated the effects of these droughts, especially at Alamata and Maychew stations. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Araya A.,Mekelle University | Stroosnijder L.,Wageningen University
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2010

Two alternative in situ area rainwater conservation practices (tied ridging and mulching) were evaluated for four seasons (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009) at an experimental station in Mekelle, Ethiopia. The objectives were to evaluate the performance of barley as influenced by mulch and tied ridge and to understand the relationships of rainfall and runoff on barley fields. About 16-30% of the seasonal rainfall resulted in runoff when barley was grown without water conservation, whereas the in situ conservation practices resulted in significantly low runoff. Tied ridging and mulching increased the soil water in the root zone by more than 13% when compared with the control. Consequently, grain yield and rainwater use efficiency increased significantly with tied ridging but not with mulching. Tied ridging increased the grain yield over the control at least by 44% during below average rainfall years. Neither mulching nor tied ridging were significantly different from the control when the seasonal rainfall was above average. Since rainfall is often unreliable, we recommend tied ridging as a water conservation technique for loams in the study area in order to mitigate the effect of drought stress in barley. However, tied ridges could be carefully opened when excess water is expected to cause waterlogging. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Etana B.,Mekelle University | Deressa W.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology
BMC Public Health | Year: 2012

Abstract. Background: Vaccination is a proven tool in preventing and eradicating communicable diseases, but a considerable proportion of childhood morbidity and mortality in Ethiopia is due to vaccine preventable diseases. Immunization coverage in many parts of the country remains low despite the efforts to improve the services. In 2005, only 20% of the children were fully vaccinated and about 1 million children were unvaccinated in 2007. The objective of this study was to assess complete immunization coverage and its associated factors among children aged 12-23months in Ambo woreda. Methods. A cross-sectional community-based study was conducted in 8 rural and 2 urban kebeles during January- February, 2011. A modified WHO EPI cluster sampling method was used for sample selection. Data on 536 children aged 12-23months from 536 representative households were collected using trained nurses. The data collectors assessed the vaccination status of the children based on vaccination cards or mothers verbal reports using a pre-tested structured questionnaire through house-to-house visits. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess factors associated with immunization coverage. Results: About 96% of the mothers heard about vaccination and vaccine preventable diseases and 79.5% knew the benefit of immunization. About 36% of children aged 12-23months were fully vaccinated by card plus recall, but only 27.7% were fully vaccinated by card alone and 23.7% children were unvaccinated. Using multivariate logistic regression models, factors significantly associated with complete immunization were antenatal care follow-up (adjusted odds ratio(AOR=2.4, 95% CI: 1.2- 4.9), being born in the health facility (AOR=2.1, 95% CI: 1.3-3.4), mothers knowledge about the age at which vaccination begins (AOR=2.9, 95% CI: 1.9-4.6) and knowledge about the age at which vaccination completes (AOR=4.3, 95% CI: 2.3-8), whereas area of residence and mothers socio-demographic characteristics were not significantly associated with full immunization among children. Conclusion: Complete immunization coverage among children aged 12-23months remains low. Maternal health care utilization and knowledge of mothers about the age at which child begins and finishes vaccination are the main factors associated with complete immunization coverage. It is necessary that, local interventions should be strengthened to raising awareness of the community on the importance of immunization, antenatal care and institutional delivery. © 2012 Etana and Deressa; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Adsorption of heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Pb, Ni, and Cu) onto Activated Teff Straw (ATS) has been studied using batch-adsorption techniques. This study was carried out to examine the adsorption capacity of the low-cost adsorbent ATS for the removal of heavy metals from textile effluents. The influence of contact time, pH, Temperature, and adsorbent dose on the adsorption process was also studied. Results revealed that adsorption rate initially increased rapidly, and the optimal removal efficiency was reached within about 1 hour. Further increase in contact time did not show significant change in equilibrium concentration; that is, the adsorption phase reached equilibrium. The adsorption isotherms could be fitted well by the Langmuir model. The RL value in the present investigation was less than one, indicating that the adsorption of the metal ion onto ATS is favorable. After treatment with ATS the levels of heavy metals were observed to decrease by 88% (Ni), 82.9% (Cd), 81.5% (Cu), 74.5% (Cr), and 68.9% (Pb). Results indicate that the freely abundant, locally available, low-cost adsorbent, Teff straw can be treated as economically viable for the removal of metal ions from textile effluents. © 2013 Mulu Berhe Desta.


News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

When the Indonesian island volcano Krakatoa erupted in 1883, the waves it sent forth crashed into Bantam, some 50 kilometers away in western Java, and flattened forest for a distance of more than 300 meters inland. All that remained standing, said French scientists who visited a year later, were tall fig trees, their bare branches reaching skyward. Back on Krakatoa there was no trace of life. Much of the island had vaporized, and what was left was buried under a 60-meter deep blanket of ash. Yet before long, several species of fig trees grew there too. They had arrived as seeds defecated by wandering birds and bats. They soon produced figs that drew in more flying animals, which in time carried the seeds of dozens of other tree species. And so, from black lava, a forest grew anew. The physical strength, resilience and animal magnetism of fig trees are powers we can tap as we grapple with the Earth’s fast-changing climate. As my new book Gods, Wasps and Stranglers* shows, humanity has long benefited from these trees as sources of materials and medicines, food, shade and security. As the world warms, we may need them more than ever. That’s certainly true in the Indian state of Meghalaya, the most rain-soaked inhabited place on Earth. The Khasi and Jaintia people who live in the forested hills there train the aerial roots of Ficus elastica fig trees into living nets that prevent landslides and living bridges that save lives when monsoon rains turn streams into raging torrents. Some of these bridges are thought to be centuries old. By contrast, steel suspension bridges last just a few decades. Bangalore-based architect Sanjeev Shankar says fusing fig roots with steel bridges could create stronger, longer-lasting hybrid structures. He also thinks people in other countries could use the living roots of their own local Ficus species to create structures that build resilience to extreme weather. But fig trees aren’t only valuable in wet places like Meghalaya. They are also helping people adapt to the growing threat of drought. Farmers in Ethiopia, for instance, are embracing a fig species called Ficus thonningii. These trees need no irrigation, yet their leaves provide vital moist fodder for livestock. They enrich the soil with leaves that fall and decay, and they improve the growth of crops planted in their shade instead of the blazing sun. Research by Mulubrhan Balehegn and colleagues at Mekelle University shows that planting this species instead of the usual fodder crops can boost production by 500 percent, while reducing inputs of water by 95 percent. Goats that eat the fig tree’s leaves produce more and better quality meat than those given only commercial feed. Over the past decade, Balehegn and his colleagues have encouraged 20,000 households to plant this tree. They hope farmers will follow suit in the 33 other African countries where Ficus thonningii grows, and urge people to take similar approaches with fig trees in arid areas of India and China. Crucially, planting fig trees doesn’t just improve livelihoods and help people adapt to the changing climate. By storing carbon, the trees can also play a part in slowing the rate of warming. All trees store carbon as they grow, but—as on Krakatoa—fig trees also encourage the growth of other tree species because their figs attract a diverse range of seed dispersers. In Costa Rica, Thailand and South Africa, researchers are harnessing this power by planting fig trees to accelerate reforestation on logged and mine-scarred land. Elsewhere, people have traditionally used the presence of Ficus species to divine water, helping them decide where to plant crops or dig wells. Others have planted, or left standing, large fig trees as natural umbrellas against the heat, or have stored dried figs to turn to in times of drought and famine. In fact, fig trees were among the first plants people domesticated. They have been helping people survive in hot and arid lands for thousands of years. As the world warms, the edible fig (Ficus carica), now grown in at least 70 countries, will grow in importance. Rising temperatures also pose challenges to fig trees and the tiny wasps they depend on to pollinate their flowers. But this relationship between the plants and their pollinators has endured for 80 million years longer than humans have walked the Earth. The fig trees survived the extinction event that saw off the giant dinosaurs, and lived through periods warmer than what we experience today. By contrast we are new here. Our future is made insecure by the slow pace at which we are removing carbon from the atmosphere, and our limited capacity to adapt to the resulting climatic change. The good news is that fig trees can help us to do both.

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