University of Helsinki is the coordinator of the ESSA project which is is built around eight key components and implemented in cooperation with eight partner organizations and over 30 associate organizations.

The University of Helsinki hosts a full-time coordination team for project administration and management. ESSA project has a Steering Committee consisting of eight members from the project consortium (one from each organization), one international technical expert, and two representatives of the other DeSIRA projects (ISRIC and ICSIAPL) . The Steering Committee will oversee regular project management activities and will be responsible for the coherent delivery of the project outputs to achieve the project objectives, and assessing progress made. The consortium implements the project in close cooperation with associate organizations representing a wide variety of ministries, government agencies, universities, NGOs and community-based groups. These associate organizations will participate in e.g. consultation of intervention design, project meetings, training events, field testing, dissemination of results and communicating the best practices for the wider audience in the target countries.

University of Helsinki - Coordinator

The University of Helsinki coordinates and manages the project, as well as leads research and capacity building on Earth observation, environmental sensing and modelling, socio-economic surveys and forest-agriculture-rangeland dynamics.


International Livestock Research Institute leads research on pastoralism and carbon stock and greenhouse gases emission observation, and contributes to the socio-economic monitoring and evaluation surveys. ILRI also carries out capacity building of stakeholders and beneficiaries of the project.


International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology leads research on apiculture/meliponiculture and organized capacity building on beekeeping for pastoralist communities.

IHE Delft

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education leads research and capacity building on hydrological ecosystem services and groundwater.

University of Nairobi

University of Nairobi leads research on plant-based product development, such as Aloe vera, Adansonia digitata and Prosopsis juliflora, as an option for livelihood diversification of pastoralists and agropastoralists (College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences), research on transformation potentiality of communities (Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies) and research on land use and hydrology (Department of Geospatial and Space Technology).

Addis Ababa University

Addis Ababa University co-leads research activities and capacity building in Ethiopia, especially on Earth observation, habitat suitability and hydrology.


Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation cooperates in livestock, beekeeping and plant-based products and hydrology research components, provides a platform for access to research data, facilitates links to counties and other governmental entities, and leads policy analysis and supports policy development from the project outputs through the national ministries in Kenya.


Ethiopian Agricultural Research Council Secretariat cooperates in livestock, beekeeping and plant-based products and hydrology research components, provides access to data, facilitates links to woredas and other governmental entities and leads policy analysis and supports policy development from the project outputs through the national ministries in Ethiopia.


Regional Center for Mapping the Resources for Development cooperates in remote sensing of the land cover and pastoral areas, and facilitates geospatial data sharing through the Rangelands Decision Support Tool. RCMRD also participates in capacity building and training activities of the project.

Associate organizations

Associate 1. Geospatial Information Institute, Ethiopia

Associate 2. Kenya Water Towers Agency, Kenya

Associate 3. Holeta Bee Research Centre, Ethiopia

Associate 4. Action for Development , Ethiopia

Associate 5. Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia

Associate 6. Basins Development Authority, Ethiopia

Associate 7. Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia

Associate 8. Wondo Genet Agricultural Research Centre, Ethiopia

Associate 9. Yabello Pastoral and Dryland Agriculture Research Centre , Ethiopia

Associate 10. Sekota Dryland Agriculture Research Centre, Ethiopia

Associate 11. Taita Taveta University, Kenya

Associate 12. Maruru Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 13. Jibidishe Ufaulu Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 14. Iyale Angamiza Jangwa Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 15. Mbughu Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 16. Msisinenyi Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 17. Nguvu Kazi Cooperative Society LTD, Kenya

Associate 18. Nyuki ni Asali Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 19. Taita Environmental Initiative , Kenya

Associate 20. Tsavo Beekeepers Association, Kenya

Associate 21. Unison Self Help Group, Kenya

Associate 22. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya

Associate 23. County Government of Taita Taveta, Kenya

Associate 24. Kenya Forest Service, Kenya

Associate 25. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives of Kenya

Associate 26. Ministry of Water & Sanitation and Irrigation of Kenya

Associate 27. Directorate of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing , Kenya

Associate 28. Oromia Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia

Associate 29. Eastern Arc Mountain Ranges, Kenya

Associate 30. Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Kenya