WFP Ambassador Against Hunger DJ Bobo visited Ethiopia for the first time in 2007. He has just revisited the projects for which he has raised more than 200,000 euros. In this diary excerpt, he says what most impressed him was progress in adapting to climate change.
ADDIS ABABA -- Arriving in Ethiopia is like meeting an old friend. Two and a half years ago, I took the country into my heart. Now I’m back in the rocky highlands of Tigray up in the North. I want to see what became of the projects I’ve been collecting funds for since my first visit. And in my wildest dreams, I could not have imagined this progress: the country has literally blossomed!
The school I’ve supported with meals is now filled with 1,300 pupils. A special nutrition project helped hundreds of patients to withstand HIV therapy and lead independent lives afterwards.
DJ Bobo is probably best known for the 2003 global hit, 'Chihuahua.' It was this top-selling single that consolidated the fame of the Swiss artist who started out as a DJ in 1985, quickly establishing a reputation throughout Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. Learn more
But what impressed me most is how climate change has been confronted head-on with the simplest means. Negotiating one hairpin bend after another, we crossed the mountains of Tigray until we reached Enaberead. In the past, there was a great deal of rain here. Farmers could plant and harvest enough on the hillsides to feed their children and themselves.
But because of climate change, it started to rain less and less in Enaberead. The soil dried out, shrubs and trees withered and the land entered a vicious circle. If the soil is just stones and dust, what little rain there is does not sink into the earth – but runs away over the rocky ground until it hits the valleys in a torrent. So the hillsides of Enaberead turned into a dry steppe and the farmers went hungry.
But, with a simple idea, they have taken control of their destiny. The rain had created small riverbeds that carried water away like highways. However, if you put enough dams on the highways, the water stays where it is needed. And that is exactly what the farmers of Enaberead have done in the past two years!
While the farmers were working on these levees, WFP supported them with food for their families. Now, with water staying around longer in the river, the once dusty hillside has turned a rich green. Numerous farmers to my left and right are now working their fields, cutting the golden corn with their sickles.
Thousands of people benefit from projects like this. WFP adaptation schemes are helping farmers in Ethiopia and elsewhere to help themselves. Having seen this, I will stay committed to the cause: Fighting hunger worldwide
Sports stars, actors and musicians
DJ Bobo is just one of WFP's celebrity partners -- well-known individuals who act as ambassadors for our work.
Check out the complete list here