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Derese's Story

Derese standing and smiling in front of his home in Ethiopia

Meet Derese

Derese lives in the Metema region of Ethiopia. He relies on farming to make an income but unpredictable rain patterns caused by the climate crisis mean his crops often fail to grow.

His local frankincense forest provides an alternative, climate-resilient source of income, through the selling of frankincense resin for use in things like essential oils. Derese hopes that with support from the Future Forest project he can learn to protect and sustainably use the frankincense trees for years to come.

Before the project

Like many in his community, Derese faces challenges of environmental degradation and often struggles to find enough money. He said, “The environmental situation has changed very much… unpredictable rain is affecting our sesame production."

While his local frankincense forest offers an alternative source income, a lack of community  awareness about how to sustainably extract the resin means that the trees are being damaged and the forest is disappearing. As a result, Derese worries that "this area will turn into desert and might not be able to support human life.” 

“My worry for the future is that my children will pay the cost for our failure to properly conserve and sustainably use the resources that we have now.”
Derese, Metema, Ethiopia

How the project will help

With your support and match funding from the UK government, the project will support Derese to protect the forest and its resources, as well as use the frankincense trees to grow a sustainable source of income.

Derese already knows how important these trees could be for his community. He said, “The importance of [frankincense] trees in our area is tremendous. For people involved in tapping and collecting frankincense it has become a major cash source.” 

Derese standing in front of a tree
Metema, Ethiopia

Your support will have a generational impact on people and the environment they live in.

Looking to the future

Derese is determined to provide a better future for his children. He said, “I'm sad that I was unable to continue my education due to poverty, but that is why my wife and I promised to create opportunities for our children.” 

“If we get support and practical experience in how to use resources properly, I'm sure that the way we think and act will be changed. This very fragile ecosystem will be conserved and we will lead a good and peaceful life. I hope my children will work hard to improve the productivity of the forest, crops and other resources, and make poverty and destitution history."