Meet Yemane

Yemane Salih has worked at NCA Ethiopian office for two and and half year, and is the head of our climate program there. Even though he has worked with humanitarian NGO’s for 20 years, is NCA a different employer for him. “NCA appreciate the differences, also the religious differences. Our partners notice that we respect them, and they are not afraid that we will try to change their belief,” Yemane says.

Yemane Salih is the Head of NCA's Climate Programme in Ethiopia. Hear what he has to say about climate change, the new plastic waste project and why working for NCA is different than other aid organisations. Photo: Håvard Bjelland

Fatale climate problems

Yemane is in Norway because of the Church Forests, that has been a main topic for NCA at the Olavsfestival in Trondheim. NCA's partners on the Church Forests climate project is the Ethiopian-Orthodox church, and Yemane came to Norway together with Bishop Abune Aregawi, that sees NCA as a main partner for the church.

- The climate is changing situations in Ethiopia a lot. The forests are almost gone. Rains are unpredictable, unevenly distributed and erratic. For example 70% or 7 out the rains in the past 10 years have failed. An average of 10-15 million people require humanitarian aid every year because farmers are not able to produce enough food to feed their families throughout the year, Yemane tells.

Innovative waste project

NCA has been in Ethiopia for almost 45 years. Now NCA are giving humanitarian aid, climate resilience projects, WASH, reproductive health projects and refugees response. The climate projects include climate adapted villages, climate resilience program, and natural resources management in refugee hosting areas. Moreover, trash collecting, reuse and recycling in the Gambella refugee camps is underway by the humanitarian department. If you have been in Ethiopia the last years, you would have notice all the trash in the street and in the nature. NCA has recently started an interesting project when it comes to plastic waste.

- There are only limited places to deliver plastic wastes in Ethiopia, and we have therefore initiated a project together with our local partners with lessons learned from the Norwegian-Ethiopian firm Penda. We will assist the refugees and host communities with new machines to handle, reuse or recycle the wastes, and we will arrange for transport from the camps and villages. People will get payed for the plastic waste from the plastic recycling firm directly, so we hope this will be a win-win situation, Yemane says.

More long-term help

Yemane advocating for a fair balance or share between adaptation and mitigation programs funded by donors like NORAD that gives a lot of money to mitigation, than adaptation  

- The farmer have to adapt themselves to the new climate with drought and other problems. They are already living in the situation, and we must help them to grow different, and plant trees, not cut them, Yemane says.

More sustainable help

The capacity building with the partners is one of the main reasons why Yemane loves to work for NCA. The humanitarian organizations that he have worked with before, have been running the programs by themselves without local partners.

- Everything is deemed to collapse if the projects are not well rooted in the communities with local capacities when we left. Here in NCA, the projects are sustained even when we have left them. We are also not in competition with the local organizations, he says and ads:

- NCA has respect for the locale people, and we show them that they have resources to help themselves. It costs a lot let than if the international NGO is doing it on their own. I also love that NCA doesn’t discriminate between old and young, women and men, ethnicity and religion. We respect them, and therefore they respect us, Yemane says.