6 June 2008

Ethiopia: Country Launches New Tree Planting Campaign

Addis Ababa — Ethiopia marked World Environment Day by launching the second phase of the much acclaimed tree planting campaign, graced by the presence FDRE President Girma W.Giorgis, who along with government ministers, religious leaders, ambassadors, parliamentarians and other dignitaries planted three tree seedlings by way of officially launching the program and setting an example to the general public.

Spearheaded by the National Millennium Festival Secretariat, Ethiopia planted over six hundred million tree seedlings in the first edition dubbed: Two Trees in year 2000.

This year's campaign to be named Three Trees in the Third Millennium is expected to mobilize more people who will be able to plant more trees the rest of the Ethiopian new year.

The millennium Secretariat, in collaboration with Wise-Up, a local NGO working on HIV/AIDS, engaged over two hundred female commercial sex workers who devoted a half day planting trees around Entoto Mariam.

Wise-UP designated a theme for the campaign :"One Earth, One Life Don't Waste it!!" to go along to that of World Environmental Day (WED).

The idea behind the female commercial sex workers planting tree seedlings was that it would help remind everyone that not only should one endeavour to protect himself or herself from contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases using condoms only but strive to save mother earth from all its peril by planting trees, Henock Alemayehu, the director of Wise-up said.

Henock added that the organization sponsored 223 female commercial sex workers to plant trees at the Entoto site.

The female sex workers on the planted three trees to symbolize the launch of the project together with the other dignitaries.

The Wise-Up project is DKT Ethiopia's unbranded condom promotion activity targeting sex workers and their clients.

Wise-Up is grounded in the belief that promoting condom use among sex workers and clients will reduce HIV and Sexual Transmitted Infectious (STI).  "The prevalence HIV and STI is generally higher among these groups and also as these groups act as "bridging" populations of HIV/STI's to the general population, Henock added.

Wise-Up has also participated in different occasions in promoting safe sex and condom usage.

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