By Jemal Abdu Fortine Staff Writer
The design was done by Dynamic planner for about 330,000 Br and the construction is being done by Tesfay
The first natural,coffee specialized museum in the country is expecting inauguration in the near future after six and half years of time taken on construction and spending about 27 million Br in Bonga town, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region.
The museum was initiated by the Ethiopian Millennium Festival National Council (EMFNC) as one of the 18 projects that the Council had been running in its year and half existence after the celebration of the Ethiopian Millennium.
Then following the decision by the Council, the then president of Ethiopia,GirmaWoldegiorgis, placed a cornerstone on an event that marked the celebration of the Millennium on June 29, 2007 in Bonga.
“The Council was to last only for a year and half, so we wanted someone that can take the responsibility of the construction and gave it to the regional government, which in turn gave the mandate to the Zonal administration,” says Hassen Said (PhD), archeologist and head of the ethnographic museum at Addis Abeba University(AAU), who has been in the project since the inception of the idea at the Council.
The museum building that has rested on 2,826sqm is the third specialized museum in the country after the Ethiopian Postal Museum and the Martyrs Museum and it is the biggest in Africa in terms of the area it covers. It is also claimed to be the first to specialize on natural entity.
The project that has neared its completion, is funded by the public employees of the zone each contributing their monthly salaries and by some private and NGO donors. Sheik Mohamed Ali Al Amoudi contributed 10 million Br, the regional government contributed one million Br, and the Christensen Fund has given 150,000 dollars for brochures, website development and fliers production, according to Hassen.
When inaugurated and opened for the public, the museum will be displaying permanent and temporary exhibitions and it will have libraries, laboratories for coffee research, offices and auditoriums for different meetings, according to Assefa H/Mariam, a man at the follow up of the project in Bonga. It will also feature traditional coffee museum, restaurants, and souvenir shops.
The design of the museum was done by Dynamic planner for about 330,000 Birr and the construction is being done by Tesfay Construction plc both based in Addis Abeba.
“The question on the origin of coffee, and lack of parties that take the project’s ownership and the reluctance in some persons to take the project as own were the challenges of running the project,” says Hassen.
The items to be displayed in the museum, which are already identified, will soon be procured by the zone. These items include archeological and historical artifacts as well as findings together with the coffee story line will be the major items to be displayed.
“The five coffee beans that were discovered from Kumale cave in the zone were found to be 1750 years old,” Hassen told Fortune.
The museum will be administered by a board of trustees making it directly responsible to the Culture, Tourism Mass Media Affairs Standing Committee are being processed according to Hassen. The museum will be administrated by the board which comprises 13 members that meet twice a year to make decisions regarding planning, fundraising, budgeting and auditing.
“I have worked for the past 12 years and as of my experience, this is better to ensure development to the museum,” he said.
The draft regulation for the administration of the museum has already been prepared, he added.
Being on the verge of this inauguration, the town of Bonga, 449km from the capital city, hosted the second national coffee day in the presence of Tefera Derbew, minister of Agriculture and 145 coffee sector actors from December 23 to 24, 2014.
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