Who we are

Assosa Environmental Protection Association (AEPA) is a non‐governmental and not-for-profit organisation established and registered in 2005 with registration number 08/መ-1/97 and re-registered in 2010 as Ethiopian Resident Charity with registration number 1653 as per the new Charities and Societies Proclamation of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The aim of AEPA is to promote and implement sustainable development practices, policies and strategies in Benishangul Gumuz Region and beyond.
The establishment of AEPA is inspired by understanding of the local and global context, particularly, the increasing burden of climate change on ecosystems and indegenous livelihoods in the Region.
AEPA is recognized by the region as effective champion for climate change and environmental protection. It is an amplifier of local voice for environment and climate change impacts which otherwise remain unheard in national and international fora. AEPA recognises that sustainable development, which balances economic development, social cohesion and environment protection, is fundamental to the objective of lasting poverty reduction. AEPA is dedicated to reversing trends in degradation and restoring the earth’s ecological balance for the benefit of humans and nature. AEPA works with an active local and national networks on environment that can help raise environmental awareness, conduct environmental education, engage in environmental advocacy and serve as a local environmental watchdog. AEPA has hands-on experiences in piloting/implementing community-based actions that link conservation of natural resources with livelihoods improvement−building replicable models. Since its establishment, AEPA able to benefit more than one million people in five districts in which it operates throgh capacity building, implementation of community-based projects and supporting local people such as environmental champions to represent themselves in national and international forums on environments.

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Our Vision

AEPA envisions the future where societies and their ecosystems are healthy and resilient to climate change

Mission Statement

AEPA's mission is promoting sustainable development, mitigating and adapting to climate change, enhancing ecosystem services, fostering sustainable socioeconomic development, and improving human health and well-being. To realize its mission, AEPA invests in:
• Capacity Building: undertake holistic capacity building activities with a view to:
(1) create environmentally-conscious community and inspire environmental stewardship (awareness),
(2) enhance uptake of conservation innovations and skills to implement them (know-how); and
(3) enhance collective voice for environment.
• Field Implementation: community-based actions that support conservation and enhancement of environmental services while improving livelihoods.
• Networking and Partnerships: fostering collaborative engagement and partnerships.
• Knowledge Management and Advocacy: Building models for scale and influence policy and practice.

Core Values

-> Believe in sustainable development: "meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."
-> Being open to learn and share: we are committed to continuous learning and development, and the promotion of excellence in all that we do.
-> Partnership: we work with others to build effective networks and partnerships to support our mission.
-> Respect: we treat people with respect, courtesy and dignity
-> People's action: we believe in the power of people to change its world, in whatever we do we put people at the center, and we ensure people should benefit from its investment.
-> Equity and Inclusiveness: a sound environmental management embraces the interrelationships between nature and culture, engages all sectors of society, and enables full and effective participation different social groups especially women, indigenous communities and other disadvantaged groups.
-> Innovativeness: we foster and support innovation and creativity for a breakthrough change towards equitable development

Strategic Objectives

Reflecting on an in‐depth understanding of the causes for the birth AEPA and its vision, our work is reviewed against its contribution towards the following strategic objectives:
1) To create environmentally─ conscious community and inspire environmental stewardship among communities, the public and the private sector and build the knowledge base about environment and sustainable development issues;
2) To promote human coexistence with nature with a long-term perspective so that the provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services of ecosystems are ensured;
3) To promote sustainable development in the region and beyond for the benefit of the public by preserving, conserving and protecting the environment, including the prudent use of natural resources;
4) To improve the living conditions of socially and economically disadvantaged communities trapped in the vicious cycle poverty and environmental degradation by enhancing sustainable development and use of natural resources in a participatory, rational, equitable and ethical way for the benefit of local communities.
5) To build models and evidences on sustainable use of natural resources for scaling and influencing policy and practice.

Strategic Actions

The following are the strategic actions identified in view of meeting our strategic objectives:
• Developing and supporting projects that alleviate poverty in rural communities by improving the sustainable management of natural resources, increase rural production and productivity and strengthen community organizations to help design their own long term initiatives and strategies.
• Supporting the development of capacity in the region to respond to environmental issues through environmental education and training activities.
• Strengthening local environmental activists and associations to become more organised and active in addressing sustainable development issues by facilitating and encouraging collective voice and action, networking, information exchange, research and development initiatives;
• Building the capacity of local development actors including the public sector in the region to manage and protect the environment in a manner that ensures both local and global benefits;
• Promoting community action in the field of sustainable development and environmental conservation by supporting small and medium scale projects which empower local communities to develop their own solutions to their environmental and development challenges;
• Designing and implementing climate-smart projects (climate change adaptation and mitigation projects) that enhance ecosystem services, household food security and levels of income and health conditions of the local communities resilient to climate change.
• Resources mobilization for support of projects that alleviate poverty in rural communities by improving the sustainable management of natural resources, increasing rural production and productivity and strengthening community organizations to help design their own long term initiatives and strategies.

Approaches and Strategies for Change

1.Putting people at the center of our change process: People, are the key to Conservation – we are all integral to the environment in which we live. The only way to effectively restore, protect, conserve and manage the environment is by working with people, building partnerships and mobilizing action. Ethical values and a sense of spirit are essential for sustainability.
2.Holistic Approach – The environment is shaped by a number of factors including geography and biophysical factors, the social, economic and by political actions and policies. AEPA takes a holistic approach to environmental management and recognizes that actions must address all these factors. We engage in cross cutting issues such as poverty alleviation, gender equality, youth, social justice and HIV/AIDS.
3.Adopt Integrated Watershed Approach: AEPA takes watershed as an ideal unit for a realistic change as Integrated Watershed Management (IWM) is an approach that recognizes and operates based on the interconnectedness of ecology, economy and society.
4.Promoting Change through Model and Evidence: AEPA's primary concern is not widening its reach, but building replicable models of true change that are equitable, sustainable and replicable. It engages change agents and facilitates a breakthrough change in policy and practice through demonstrating models and evidences of change from its efforts. So, building concrete environmental sustainability solutions through a combination of field-based projects, advocacy, action research, information and knowledge dissemination, education and awareness work is a key approach to change.
5.Coaching and Incubation of Change: Change is like a baby. It needs incubation and coaching to grow fully as desired. DfA adopts "Coaching for Community Change" approach to create, drive and sustain the change process. 'Community coaching is an adaptive process tailored to unique community contexts to guide systemic change via participant empowerment. Coaching supports and builds on the best in the community and often leads to catalytic change.' Mounting evidences demonstrated that coaching is an extremely effective tool for helping groups reframe their operating systems, challenge assumptions, unleash new ideas, transition to new leadership and negotiate partnerships—critical competencies for successful community building.'
6.Local Capacity Building and Participation: AEPA works in a decentralize context, i.e., in villages and watersheds, progressive empowerment and development of local capacity is critical for communities to successfully lead their own development and ensure sustainability. In the context of AEPA, community empowerment is to mean the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives. Thus, local capacity building is a key to the success of AEPA's decentralized development initiative that entails devolution of resources, responsibilities and accountability. Hands-on trainings, knowledge exchanges, devolving resources and strengthening and creating local level institutions are some of the key capacity building actions that AEPA will undertake in its efforts of building local capacity.
7.Participation/Empowerment: Involving local communities, civil society organisations and indigenous peoples in the planning and execution of field programmes taking into account their knowledge, skills as well as cultural and socio‐economic needs. Organizing “people-focused” activities that protect and enhance their local environment, ecosystems and productivity based on natural resources. Empowering people to protect their environment by supporting them to take action and control over access to natural resources through sound long‐term resource management
8.Linking conservation with livelihoods Improvement: AEPA links conservation with livelihoods development with the recognizing that conserving and managing natural resources is essential in the fight against poverty and that the poor are heavily dependent on natural resources and particularly vulnerable to environmental change. Linking conservation with livelihoods is a key to sustainability and adoption of conservation innovation.
9.Partnership: AEPA strives to build partnerships with other organisations, governments, business and local communities to enhance impact and effectiveness in its interventions.
10.Gender Sensitivity: AEPA will support the critical role played by women in the conservation and management of natural resources as well as initiate and strengthening policies and interventions that minimize gender inequalities. It will strengthen the role of women in natural resource management and support women to gain access to ecosystems services and livelihoods