ISD has its main office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It started in 1996 when Dr Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher and his wife, Sue Edwards, were asked by the Ethiopian Government about alternatives to expensive external inputs, particularly chemical fertilizer, for smallholder farmers to make their land productive. Together with Dr Mitiku Haile, then President of Mekelle Universitty, and Berhane Haile, then Head of the Tigray Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, they developed an ecologically-oriented project and identified 4 local communities to be its active participants. Berhane Haile also assigned an experienced extension officer, Arefayne Asmelash, to work on the project based in the Bureau in Mekelle. The project, now programme, focuses on using ecological principles in improving natural resources management, cycling nutrients and respect for farmers’ traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, including local self-governance. This was the beginning of the internationally recognized Tigray Project granted the Gotheburg Award for Sustainability on 11 December 2011 in Gothenburg, Sweden.