Ethiopia: Villagization Improving Pastoralists' Life

Establishing communal life at pastoral and semi-pastoral areas of the country has received increased attention from the government. Thus, activities relating to making sure whether the necessary requisites are in place are central to the tasks of the Ministry of Federal and Pastoral Development Affairs as well as respective states. The program is effective in States like Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, Somali and in pastoralist communities of Oromia and Southern people.

Due to their previous dispersed settlement, these people were not beneficiaries from the socio-economic development of the country. What is more, their settlement areas were prone to natural disaster. Seeing this, the government has taken measures that bring this dispersed people into an area where the provision of basic services is possible.

As a means to achieve this target, the government has realized various projects in the areas. Development of potable water, construction of roads, schools, health posts, millhouses as well as electrification have been among the major ones.

Due to this, their health is improving, children are going to schools and women and girls' lives have become so easy.

When water development projects are implemented in these areas, it is not difficult to start a settled life for enables the provision of economic facilities to the pastoralist and semi pastoralist people. What is more, with the development of economic facilities, infrastructural development will also help the community to improve their livelihood and ensure food security.

The people have also started to produce crops in their neighborhoods. And the effort will also help to foster the food security efforts of the country, as they inevitably produce surplus.

The communal life also improves their quality of life. They are advancing governance systems for instance. Peace and security is also important issue which they have started to enjoy following the villigization program. This has a significant role in the national economy in many ways.

In a country like Ethiopia that based its economy on agriculture, the production of cash crops by pastoralist and semi-pastoralist people will add value for the economy.

Wendemagen --- is Semi- pastorals Development Assurance Director General with the Ministry. For him, the developmental feats in the said areas have lured many members of the community to join the villages on their own will.

The federal government is also making every effort to make life better in the areas, he adds."The program is registering a remarkable result. In this regard, the activity of the government and other stakeholders is vital. Had there not been the active involvement of stakeholders, the program would not have to come to success."

The people have also started crop production apart from keeping their livestock, he says.

He indicates that the children of the community have now bright futures. They would transform their community as they are on the track of education. The government would also avail the required services much easily than previous days.

In fact, the process was full of challenges as it had to go with the consent of the people. Thus, it demanded series of public relations works and consultations with members of the community. Some people were refusing to join the villages. However, the developmental feats attracted as many of them in the end.

Gambela State Chief Gatluak Tut, speaking to Addis Zemen confirms that the program in the state have brought about better improvements.

The number of school enrollment has risen dramatically while other basic services have been provided to the community, he notes. "Health service expansion has enabled members of the community to be productive."

In a nutshell, the communal program is bearing sweet fruits. Hence, the supports of government, states as well as development partners need to increase than ever before.

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