Ethiopia: Environmental Issues to be taught in schools

Addis Ababa, February 20, 2011 ( — At a time when global environmental problems are increasingly having an adverse effect on the developing world, a new project for teaching about the environment and environmental issues has been designed for Ethiopia’s school system.

The project was announced yesterday by Dr. Teklehaimanot Haileselassie, who is the project’s principle advisor on behalf of the Ministry of Education. In an exchange with the local press, he confirmed the development of the new education program in collaboration with UNICEF and various regional education offices.

Furthermore, he stressed that Ethiopia has to increase its efforts to fill the gaps in environmental education if it is to develop both local knowledge and the local professionals it needs to work in this area. Dr. Haileselassie emphasized that Ethiopia must find localized solutions to the environmental issues that affect the country.

Commercial Environmental Concerns

Many observers have noted that developing countries, like Ethiopia, can be susceptible to risky industrial and farming practices that can severely harm their local environment. Safety and environmentally friendly practices are usually sacrificed in exchange for low-cost investment and rapid development.

For example, this past week President Girma Woldegiorgis warned of the dangers of sacrificing national forests by handing them over to commercial farming interests. He told the press that: “Whilst our country is representing Africa on international panels regarding global warming through our Prime Minister, for no reason should forest land be given out for agricultural purposes”.

Although he does advocate for using Ethiopia’s natural resources for the benefit of the country’s national interests and development. The President also stressed the need to do so responsibly and in an environmentally friendly manner. He is a strong advocate for strengthening national and local efforts towards forest, soil, and water conservation.

Public Health Concerns

According to recent reports by UNICEF, the largest and most common health problems for children are related to the environment. In a recent publication, it is clearly presented that: “In Ethiopia, an estimated three-quarters of the health problems of children and communicable diseases originate from the environment”.

This is primarily due to low levels of access to clean water and sanitation problems. UNICEF’s report further states that: “Coverage levels for water and sanitation in Ethiopia are among the lowest in the world”.

Source – – by Phillip Barea