USAID’s $8.7mln Activity to Support Biodiversity, Community Resilience in Omo Valley

ADDIS ABABA – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched an $8.7 million Biodiversity and Community Resilience in the Omo Valley (BIOM) activity in the South Omo zone of SNNP Region.

“Over the next five year, BIOM will improve biodiversity, livelihoods, and human rights in Ethiopia’s lower Omo zone through community-based conservation, ecotourism, livestock production, and political advocacy training,” says the US embassy in Addis Ababa today.

The BIOM activity was launched in a ceremony attended by community members and USAID Ethiopia’s Deputy Mission Director Adam Schmidt on December 13, 2022.

The USAID will implement the activity in partnership with the local government and members of the community, living between the Omo National Park and the Mago National Park.

This land is being considered for the establishment of a new conservation trust – the Tama Community Conservation Area.

The new activity is expected to directly benefit over 2,000 square kilometers of the Conservation Area and engage over 400 households in employment in the conservation area programs and administration including work in ecotourism lodges, local craft production and sales, and tourism experiences.

A benefit-sharing system will be established for those 13, 500 residents of the area not directly involved, as per the USAID.

Apart from Mursi, Bodi, and Kwegu communities, the BIOM will work with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Cool Ground, and the Peace and Development Center, as well as private sector such as African Canvas and Fredy Hess Travel.

Featured Image: USAID/Ethiopia Deputy Mission Director Adam Schmidt joins community members at the launching event of the BIOM activity SNNPR’s South Omo Zone on December 13, 2022. (Photo US Embassy)