Development in previously marginalized community!
Tesfaye Lemma 06-05-17
More than 60 per cent of world pastoralists are found in Africa. They derive most of their income from keeping domestic livestock reared in conditions where most of the feed is natural rather than cultivated. Recent reports indicate that, this made a significant contribution to the national income, employment, agricultural production, and food demand of people in the world.
The pastoralist community covers 10 per cent of the global meat used for human consumption and the combined export and domestic livestock trade of the pastoralist community in the Horn of Africa surpasses 1 billion USD per annum.
Ethiopia is one of those countries in the world where there are a large number of pastoralists population. The Growth and Transformation Plan paid a serious attention to improve the livelihood of all the pastoralists in the country.
The pastoral communities were affected such recurring drought disasters more severe than other areas of the country for various reasons. Firstly, the then governments paid no attention to those remote areas. Secondly, there was poor infrastructure in those areas that hindered benevolent and non-governmental organizations to reach and save the lives of the pastoralists.
They had not only little access to basic public services like education and health but also had poor infrastructure like roads and telephone. The pastoral people had no chance to reach towns where aid has relatively become accessible. As a result, a large number of people passed away while moving to nearby cities looking for help.
However, the incumbent government has given them a serious attention in the country’s national development agenda. The Ethiopian government has been working strongly to change that deteriorated situation being recognizant of the pastoralist communities’ need and right to have access to infrastructure, education, health and clean drinking water.
It is known that, various development projects that have been benefiting the pastoral community have built so far in the pastoral areas and a number of projects are under construction either by the Regional States or under the auspice of the Federal Government referring to those projects financed by the regional states and those financed by the Federal Government of Ethiopia with two major objectives: to benefit the pastoral community residing in the respective sites and to enhance the country’s economy.
Incredibly, schools, health institutions and other service providers have been built and benefiting the people residing in those areas. For intake, Sugar Development projects and Hydropower dams could be the two major areas of development projects for which the Ethiopian government has allotted a huge investment.
On the one hand, a number of pastorals have got job opportunities in those development projects. On the other hand, the people could get access to health, education and some social services as these institutions are built in connection to these development projects. Besides, there is also human development through technological transfer and trainings while executing the projects.
These projects have significantly contributing not only in bringing the scattered community together but also in fostering government plan in resettling pastoralists so that they could lead stable life. It is well known that pastoral development has never been part of the national development plan in Ethiopia previously.
It is only the current developmental government that has considered all areas of the pastoral community as areas that need special attention and gave a priority so that there would be fair wealth distribution in all parts of the country.
The pastoral development has incorporated the second national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) in an effort made a stride in considering the need to improve the livelihood of the Ethiopian pastoralists. However, there is still a need to do more. That is why the government has incorporated a plan to change the livelihood of the pastoralist communities extensively in the Growth and Transformation Plan.
The plan explores how to promote inclusive growth in the Ethiopian pastoralist areas and social protection, food security, trade and investment in those areas so as harness and strengthen food security and nutrition for populations living in pastoral areas in short term and alleviating poverty through fast sustainable economic growth in the long term.
One of the significant measures that the government of Ethiopia has been taking is invested to improve the quality and number of the livestock of the pastoral community. Ethiopia has been doing to improve the living standards of the pastoral community in particular and the Ethiopian people in general. However, some anti-development groups have been campaigning against these development projects and even attempting to destabilize the country so as to jeopardize its development.
These groups have been mobilizing people and development partners against the ongoing development in the country, usually with fabricated and baseless stories.
In the contrary to those wrong allegations, the government has done its level best since the beginning of the first national Growth and Transformation plan to bring the mobile and scattered people to one permanent place has become successful.
The various development projects have intended to change the lives of the pastoralist communities. The people are well aware of that fact so that they have taken part in various activities to back the completion of the projects.
In the last twenty five years, the government of Ethiopia has been striving to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainable economic development. One of the major focus areas of development is the community.
The government has been working to transform the pastoralist community to the level where they can enjoy the fruits of the development of the country. Several community centered multi-million Birr infrastructural developments for the community have built in connection with the construction of the sugar factories.
The government has also been spending a huge amount of money in the settlement program aimed to enhance the betterment of the lives of the Ethiopian pastoralists. They have got access to education, health and clean water to the best interest of their children and the women. It has also been working hard to transform the lives of the pastoralist community in a stable and better way spending a huge amount of money in the settlement program as it strongly believes and determines to respect the rights that the pastoralist communities need to have access to education, health and clean water.
It is told so many times that, Ethiopia has the largest wealth in connection with livestock. Its livestock population is the largest in Africa, with 30,000,000 cattle; 24,000,000 sheep; 18,000,000 goats; 7,000,000 equines; 1,000,000 camels and 53,000,000 poultry according to recent studies. The production from cattle has been estimated to be 620,000 tons of meat; 244,000 tons of milk; 24,000,000 tons of manure and 2,400,000 hides annually. It is also evident that, the pastoral area is where the majority of livestock have been living. Using this wealth properly in a modern way is what the government in Ethiopia has done since the past two decades.
The government, with full participation of the pastoral community, has been working to improve the livelihood of the pastoral communities. As a result, pastoralists have been enjoying the fruits of development in Ethiopia in contradictory what anti-peace and anti-development groups have been propagating. This will continue in the times ahead, especially in the coming four consecutive years of the execution period of the second Growth and Transformation Plan.