The Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) protects and restores forests in the northern highlands of Ethiopia, the origin of most of the Nile’s water. They do this by conserving high-biodiversity “church forests” - small but fertile ancient oases that surround 30 thousand churches dotted across the region. They build walls around these forests to protect them from free grazing livestock, and collect seeds from them to plant natural buffers. Working with local communities, they then expand corridors between the church forests to connect them and restore more of the natural landscape.
Alemayehu has over three decades of forestry, ecology, and conservation experience from within government offices and NGOs. He joined ORDA as a forest development project coordinator and was steadily promoted up to Executive Director. Alemayehu holds several degrees in forestry and forest ecology, including a masters and a PhD. He is also the author of best-selling mystical novels in Ethiopia!