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Gardens of Hope

Perhaps more than any other invention in history, gardening and its close relative, farming, have impacted the way in which people live. The ability to tend a crop or a flock, rather than needing to seek them out, has enabled people around the globe to survive and even thrive.

As part of HOPEthiopia’s community project located in Harbu Chulule, Ethiopia, each home in the orphan village will be equipped with a highly productive, environmentally sensitive garden. These gardens will be designed and implemented to meet the specific needs of the Harbu Chulule area, taking into account the soil composition, average rainfall, and available solar energy (see below for more information). These gardens will help enable each family of orphaned children, and their house-mother, to be self-sufficient, producing energy and vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables for their consumption and sharing. The gardens will also provide excellent testing and training grounds for gardening innovation, allowing for experimentation with crops and methods not common, but potentially viable, for Ethiopia.

In order to find the best and most feasible garden model for HOPEthiopia’s orphan homes, we need your help. We’d like to invite you to participate in HOPEthiopia’s global contest, Gardens of Hope, by creating and submitting your very best, and most contextually relevant, garden design. If your design is selected, you will win an all-expense paid trip to Harbu Chulule, Ethiopia where you will implement, alongside a supportive team, your garden design as the very first HOPEthiopia garden.

Harbu Chulule Information

Harbu Chulule is located approximately 100 kilometres outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capitol city (GPS coordinates of Harbu Chulule are 37P (Zone) 417388 (Easting) 936767 (Northing)). Harbu Chulule is at an altitude of 2450 metres, or approximately 8000 feet.

The town experiences two primary seasons each year: rainy season, which extends from July – September, and dry season, which extends from November – February. The wet season will see up to 270mm of rainfall per month, whereas the dry season will see as little as 8mm of rainfall per month.

Corresponding to these seasons are the number of sunlight hours per day, with the maximum being ~9.7hrs/day in December, and the minimum being ~2.8hrs/day in July. Temperatures can reach as high as 25 degrees Celsius in the months of March – May, and cool down to 7 degrees Celsius in November – January.

The natural soils of the Harbu Chulule area are vertisols with high clay content. At this point, the soils have been overgrazed, overused, and have suffered from degradation due to deforestation. However, these soils have been proven fertile in areas in and around Harbu Chulule, particularly when organic matter is incorporated. Traditionally, crops that grow well in Harbu Chulule are teff, wheat, barley, and oats. With additional resources (i.e. water and sometimes greenhouses), onions, carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, false bananas, and maize can also grow quite well.

One of our sponsored women tends a Hopethiopia garden that is filled with healthy lettuce.

HOPEthiopia Project Information

Each HOPEthiopia orphan home garden will occupy a space of 15 metres x 10 metres for a total of 150 metres squared. The gardens will be surrounded by a wood fence (simple post-and-beam construction) in order to keep out the grazing animals, such as goats and donkeys. Smaller animals will be able to access the gardens.

In addition to the natural state and resources of Harbu Chulule, each home will have access to 100-200 litres of water per day, which will be piped in from HOPEthiopia’s primary well sites. Households will also collect rainfall in outdoor barrels for their use.

Please Note:

The above information, and the supporting resources found below, must be taken into consideration with respect to your garden design.

The Gardens of Hope contest is open internationally, to all individuals who choose to submit a thoughtful garden design. The winner of the Gardens of Hope contest will win an all-expense paid trip to Harbu Chulule, Ethiopia where you will implement, alongside a supportive team, your garden design as the very first HOPEthiopia garden.

The winning garden design will be the one that best demonstrates:

  • High annual productivity and yields;
  • Self-sufficiency;
  • Variety of crops incorporated;
  • Inter-cropping and use of beneficial species;
  • Concepts to help rebuild and restore the natural soils;
  • Unique concepts;
  • Ease of use for a mother and orphaned children;
  • Environmental considerations (low water usage, low erosion, retained heat, etc.);
  • Beautification of the area; and
  • Adaptability to the culture and environment of Harbu Chulule, as the design will likely be replicated by locals.

Contest Closes June 30, 2013

Only individuals above the legal age of consent in their home country/province/state, for whom travel to Ethiopia is permissible will be eligible to win this prize. The winner will be expected to: share some personal information with HOPEthiopia such that travel arrangements can be made; have appropriate travel insurance in place; and sign a waiver to release HOPEthiopia and its affiliates from liability associated with this contest/prize-winning travel.

When submitting your design for the Gardens of Hope contest, please include:

  1. An overall plan view drawing * (top down view of the garden) - this may be hand drawn;
  2. Detailed section drawings * (sides views to demonstrate elevations, and other important components) - this may be hand drawn; and
  3. A corresponding narrative (written paragraphs) to describe the drawings you submit.

*Samples of each of these can be found in the following Supporting Resources section.


Please be sure to include all submission requirements:

  1. An overall plan view drawing
  2. Detailed section drawings
  3. A corresponding narrative

File uploads can only be of the following type(s): gif, jpg, jpeg, png, tiff, tif, doc, docx, pdf, txt, zip and 10 MB at most.