USAID Mission Director Jones Visits Tama Plains Community Conservation Area in Support of Indigenous Peoples Rights

Jinka, April 13, 2023 – Mr. Sean Jones, Mission Director for USAID/Ethiopia, traveled to South Omo zone in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region to attend the inauguration of the new Tama Plains Community Conservation Area (TCCA).  The Community Conservation Area is a legally distinct location managed by local, indigenous communities for conservation, tourism, and cultural purposes.  At 197,000 hectares, it is nearly 20 times larger than Ethiopia’s formerly largest community conservation area—the Menz-Guassa.

In South Omo zone, Director Jones met with regional officials who plan to include the community’s input for managing the conservation area.  Director Jones thanked the Bodi, Mursi, Bacha, and Ari communities for hosting the inaugural event.  Director Jones also pledged continued support from the United States for indigenous peoples’ rights and for drought recovery.

The TCCA is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) $8.5 million (more than 450 million Birr) Biodiversity and Community Resilience in the Omo Valley project.  This USAID project is improving biodiversity, livelihoods, and human rights in the area through a variety of initiatives.  In one of the project’s initiatives, beneficiaries will be trained in political advocacy.  In another, over 400 households will find employment in conservation programs and administration—including work in ecotourism lodges, local craft production, sales, and tourism experiences. The USAID project is also establishing a benefit-sharing system for the 13,500 residents of the area who are not directly involved in ecotourism.

USAID’s support to the TCCA is currently the United States’ largest investment for improving Ethiopia’s biodiversity.  The TCCA is home to wildlife species including hartebeest, giraffe, zebra, and numerous bird species.  It connects the Omo and Mago National Parks, linking these vital, environmentally protected areas in South Omo Zone.

In 2022 alone, USAID provided more than $1.8 billion dollars in development and humanitarian aid to Ethiopia.  To learn more about the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership visit: U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and follow U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa | Facebook and Twitter.