On the bank of the river Webe Shebelle in south-eastern Ethiopia, thousands of nomads who lost their cattle during the 1974 drought are being resettled as farmers, after spending some time in shelter camps run by the government.
On the bank of the river Webe Shebelle in south-eastern Ethiopia, thousands of nomads who lost their cattle during the 1974 drought are being resettled as farmers, after spending some time in shelter camps run by the government. Part of their rehabilitation involves learning a whole range of new skills -- from reading and writing to farming techniques and basic domestic organisations.
SYNOPSIS: The principle town of the new settlement area is Gode and it is here that the first of a series of new buildings is under construction -- using whatever materials are on hand as the area is extremely barren. The hut will eventually become a school, but for the time being the nomad children are being taught in the open air. The lessons? The alphabet of course and counting in both Somali and Amharic -- the language of Ethiopia.
Ato Zeleke Alamu, coordinator of the education programme in the Gode area, ways it is hoped that the scheme will reach about 30,000 people within the next two years. "The basic programme involves not only reading and writing" he says, "but everything that can help the people improve lives."
This means that it is not only the children who must learn new ways. Asnomads the women had their traditional ways of cooking and caring for husbands and children. As camp dwellers they depended on government hand-outs. But as independent citizens they are now being taught basic 20th century domestic organisation.
The local farmers association has several committees which meet to discuss progress of the resettlement projects. Sadly, however, the chances are that before long they will be affected by the acute political rivalries in the area.