Project Description



Learning to reclaim sacred natural sites

The Ethiopian team are working in the Bale Mountain complex with communities to reclaim sacred natural sites. This involves capturing local knowledge of the landscape to influence decision making and agency in protecting biocultural heritage. The nexus issues addressed are cultural erosion, the narrowing of spiritual space, economic changes in agro-pastoral livelihoods, ecological degradation, water loss and climate change. Methods include participatory mapping, building eco-calendars, intergenerational learning.

Ethiopia T-learningEthiopia T-learningEthiopia T-learning

Team members

Research team leader

Dr Million Belay holds a PhD in social learning and biocultural diversity. He is founder and Director of MELCA – Ethiopia, a major environmental NGO. Since 2013, he has led and coordinated the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa. He has pioneered innovative methodologies for community mobilisation and intergenerational learning, e.g. participatory mapping, advocacy for the rights of local communities, and intergenerational learning. He has been involved in various environmental activist projects, and is now undertaking resilience research in the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.


Mr Abebayehu Kassaye is a MSc scholar who is providing research support to develop the Ethiopian T-learning case study. He works with MELCA-Ethiopia and has extensive experience in community mobilisation and participatory learning approaches.

Local transformative knowledge network partners

MELCA-Ethiopia is an established environmental NGO based in Addis Ababa. MELCA-Ethiopia has over 11 years of experience of working on intergenerational learning, community mobilization, livelihood improvement and conservation of community conserved areas and sacred natural sites.

Hunde Oromo Grass Roots Association. Hundee has been working on natural resource management and livelihoods development with communities in the Bale Mountains for the past two years.

Community Conserved Area (CCA) Elders Group is the organised structure for community members in the Meo Kebele.

Project updates

Is transformation on the Horizon?

A reflection by Million Belay. Someone asked my son when he was about three years old, ‘What is your father’s job?’ He said, ‘Sibseba’, which in Amharic means ‘meetings’. This was because every time my [...]

Dr Million Belay