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Saturday, March 30, 2013

As a massive animal lover, to the extent where it’s a bit over the top, I find the treatment of animals here in Hawassa shocking and difficult to understand. I appreciate I am in Africa where lots of humans are treated appallingly, but I don’t believe issues should be ignored just because they are seen as less important.
I now well and truly know where the saying ‘Donkeys work’ comes from, the poor creatures are worked into the ground, they have a purpose here and can carry heavy loads long distances, yes, the people here need them to carry out their jobs, yes I have no problem with either of those things. However what I do have a problem with is the blatant and inexcusable animal abuse I see every day.
The donkeys walk like their legs are going to break, the roads are covered in huge rocks and stones that even I trip over constantly and they make them run along them for no reason at all, what’s wrong with walking? The animals are obviously not built for speed. The wooden carts they pull are poorly designed which means once removed their muscle and bones are exposed. In addition to their unforgiving duties they are whipped relentlessly for no reason at all, all day. I have seen people whacking them with wood, metal, chain and I even saw a man down my road whacking an off duty donkey with a metal spade repeatedly and couldn’t help but shout at him.

A different man down my road was walking alongside his donkey perfectly happily and saw me and decided to start whacking it with a plank of wood while raising his eyebrows as if that behavior would impress me!? I told him that disgusts me and I think he understood my tone if not my language.
I am unsure if it’s a power trip or maybe a status symbol to ruin a beautiful animal but the people here definitely think this behavior is impressive, and they definitely think foreigners see it as impressive.
There are many other animals roaming around all day, cats are my favorite animals, but here they are skinny and filthy and its normal to see people kicking them or throwing them out the way. There are also lots of cattle roaming around the streets, generally with a small child that will continue to hit them with sticks when they are just standing in one place. I keep seeing them being fed newspaper and it actually makes my blood boil, especially as contrary to popular belief there is no shortage of food here – not in Hawassa anyway.
The animals that seem to have it good here are the stray dogs and the monkeys, the moneys swing around the town all day causing mischief and they always look clean and content. The stray dogs snooze in the shade all day and then emerge in small packs or with their puppies in the evening. I have a stray corgi at the end of my road which I find hilarious – it just seems so out of place!
I also saw two goats earlier with their feet tied together with rope being carried along by a man who was trying to sell them by their feet, he kept just throwing them on the floor making them land on their backs which was making them cry really loudly… I just don’t understand why he was doing that!? Why not just walk them along by his side? Surely people would be more inclined to buy them that way! I have seen plenty of others moving around by foot!
I recently noticed shop keepers running outside with wooden sticks to scare off the street children in the same way you would expect someone to frighten off a stray dog, and this highlighted to me the lack of respect for human life, and the inequality they face so I can understand why my disapproval for animal treatment may seem misplaced.
I am actually considering becoming a vegetarian on my return to the UK as I have only had meat two or three times since I got here and I haven’t actually missed it, and I know how inhumane the British meat industry is.
I don’t think the people here understand that they will make more money and get more from their animal if they treat them better.

ኢትዮጵያን ከኬኒያ የሚያገናኘው የአዲስ አበባ - ሀዋሳ - ሞያሌ መንገድ ግንባታ አካል የሆነ የመንገድ ማሻሻያ ፕሮጀክት ስምምነት ተፈረመ፡፡
በአዲሱ ፕሮጀክት ስምምነት መሰረት መንገዱ እያንዳንዳቸው 7 ሜትር የሚሰፉ ሁለት መተላለፊያዎች ይኖሩታል፡፡በተጨማሪም የመንገዱ ቀኝና ግራ ጠርዞች 1 ነጥብ 5 ሜትር ስፋት ይኖራቸዋል፡፡
የኢትዮጵያ መንገዶች ባለስልጣን ዋና ዳይሬክተር አቶ ዛይድ ወ/ገብርዔል መንገዱን ከሚገነቡት ሁለት የህንድ ተቋራጮች ጋር ስምምነቱን ተፈራርመዋል፡፡
ባለስልጣኑ አሁንም ብቃት ያላቸውን ሌሎች ተቋራጮች በግንባታው ላይ ለማሳተፍ ጥረት እያደረገ መሆኑ ገልጿል፡፡
የፕሮጀክቱ ስምምነት ሁለት ቢሊዮን ብር ያህል ሲሆን 85 ከመቶ ያህል ወጪ ከአፍሪካ ልማትባንክ በተገኘ ብድር የሚሸፈን ነው፡፡
የመንገዱ ግንባታ በ3 ዓመታት ውስጥ እንደሚጠናቀቅ ይጠበቃል፡፡

አራቱ የኢሕአዴግ ድርጅቶች በተናጠልም በጋራም ባካሄዱት ድርጅታዊ ጉባዔ የተለያዩ ውሳኔዎችን አላልፈዋል፡፡ ውሳኔዎቹን ተግባራዊ እናደርጋለን ብለውም ቃል ገብተዋል፡፡
ያለፈውን ጉዞ በመገምገም አዲስ ዕቅድ ካለም በማፅደቅ ተግባራዊ መሆን ያለባቸውን በመወሰን ተግባራዊ እናደርጋለን ማለት በኢሕአዴግ ብቻ ሳይሆን፣ በዓለም ዙሪያ ባሉ የፖለቲካ ፓርቲዎችም የሚደረግና የተለመደ ትክክለኛ አሠራር ነው፡፡ መወሰንና ውሳኔውን ተግባራዊ እናደርጋለን ማለቱ ላይ ምንም ተቃውሞ የለንም፡፡ ድጋፍ እንጂ፡፡

ከውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ የሆነው ውሳኔ ግን አለ፡፡ እሱንም ተግባራዊ እናደርጋለን ብላችሁ በይፋ ተናገሩ፣ አውጁ፣ ቃል ግቡ ብለን ደግመን ደጋግመን እንማፀናለን፡፡ የውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ የምንለው ሕገ መንግሥቱን ተግባራዊ እናደርጋለን የሚለው ውሳኔ ነው፡፡

ሕገ መንግሥታችን ለፍትሕ የቆመ ነው፡፡ ነገር ግን በተግባር ሲታይ የፍትሕ አካላት እየተዳከሙ፣ ገንዘብ፣ ጉቦና ሌላ ጥቅማ ጥቅምና ጣልቃ ገብነት እያዘቀጣቸው ይገኛል፡፡ ዜጎች ሕገ መንግሥታዊ መብታቸው ተጠብቆ የተሟላ ፍትሕ እያገኙ አይደሉም፡፡ ከሕገ መንግሥት ተገዥነት በላይ የግል ጥቅም ተገዥነት የበላይነት እየያዘ ነው፡፡

ስለሆነም ሕገ መንግሥቱ ይጠብቀናል ብሎ መተማመን የማይቻልበት ደረጃ ላይ እየደረስን ነው፡፡ ባለገንዘብ የሆነ ወንጀለኛ አይነካም፣ ያመልጣል፣ ይፈራል፣ ሕግ ጠባቂዎችን ያንበረክካል፣ ፍትሕ ሰጪዎችን ይገዛል፣ ሕገ መንግሥቱን ያረክሳል፡፡

ሕገ መንግሥታችን ለመልካም አስተዳደር የቆመ ነው፡፡ መልካም አስተዳደር ግን በእጅጉ እየተጓደለ፣ እየተረሳና እየተረገጠ ነው፡፡ ጭራሽ አቤት የሚባልበት እየታጣ ነው፡፡ የሕዝብ አገልጋይ ተብሎ በሕገ መንግሥቱ የተቋቋመው አስተዳደር ፀረ ሕዝብ እየሆነና ከሕዝብ ጥቅም ይልቅ የግል ጥቅም የሚገዛው ሆኗል፡፡ የተቦረቦረ፣ የተሸረሸረና የተቸረቸረ መዋቅር እየሆነ ነው፡፡

ይህ ስለሆነም ሕገ መንግሥቱ ይጠብቀኛል ብሎ ሕዝቡ መኩራራትና መተማመን አልቻለም፡፡ ምክንያቱም ሕገ መንግሥቱ ዋስትና የሰጠው መልካም አስተዳደር ፀረ ሕገ መንግሥት በሆነ አደገኛ ማጭበርበር ተተክቷልና፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥታችን በማያሻማ መንገድ ለሰብዓዊ መብት የቆመ ነው፡፡ ሰብዓዊ መብት ግን እየተጣሰ ነው፡፡ የሰብዓዊ መብት ኮሚሽንና የሚመለከታቸው መስተካከልና መታረም ያለበትን እየጠቆሙ ነው፡፡ ሥጋት የሚያስከትሉ ችግሮች ስለታዩ፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥቱን እናክብራለን የሚል ውሳኔ በከፍተኛ ደረጃ እንዲስተጋባና እንዲተገበር የምንፈልግበት ዋነኛው ምክንያት ሰብዓዊ መብት እንዳይጣስ ነው፡፡

የፕሬስ ነፃነት በሕገ መንግሥቱ ውስጥ በማያሻማ መንገድና ዓለም አቀፍ ደረጃን በጠበቀ ሁኔታ በግልጽ ሰፍሯል፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥቱን መሠረት አድርገው የወጡ አዋጆችም ሚዲያ በአገራችን እንዲስፋፋ የሚያደርጉና የግል ቴሌቪዥን ጣቢያዎችም እንዲያብቡ የሚያደርጉ ናቸው፡፡ በተግባር ግን አንድም የግል የቴሌቪዥን ጣቢያ የለም፡፡ የመንግሥት ሞኖፖሊም በዚህ መስክ በእጅጉ ተጠናክሯል፡፡ በግል ሕትመት ዘርፍም ሥራን በአግባቡ ለማከናወን ትልቅ ፈተና የሆነበት ሁኔታ ላይ እንገኛለን፡፡ ማሽን ተበላሽቷል በሚል ምክንያት ጋዜጦችና መጽሔቶች ለአንባቢያን አልደርስ ሲሉ፣ መረጃ ማግኘትም ሕገ መንግሥታዊ መብት ነው ብሎ የሚሟገት መንግሥታዊ አካል ጠፍቷል፡፡ ኢትዮጵያ ከፍተኛ አደጋ ላይ የሚገኝ የግል ፕሬስ ያለባት አገር ሆናለች፡፡

ለዚህም ነው አሁን ትናንትም ደግመን ደጋግመን ሕገ መንግሥቱን እናከብራለንና እንተገብራለን የሚለው የውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ ውሳኔ ይሁን የምንለው፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥታችን ባለሥልጣናት አገርንና ሕዝብን እንዲያገለግሉ፣ የሕዝብን አደራ በማስቀደም ኃላፊነት የሚሸከሙ ዜጎች እንዲሆኑ በግልጽ ያስቀምጣል፡፡ በተግባር ሕገ መንግሥታዊ ግዴታዎችንና ኃላፊነታቸውን የሚወጡ ባለሥልጣናት ቢኖሩም፣ በዚያው መጠን ሳይሆን ከዚያ በባሰ ደረጃና መጠን ግን አገርንና ሕዝብን ማገልገል ረስተው ግለሰቦችን የሚያገለግሉ፣ ለጥቅም የሚገዙ ተላላኪዎችና ጥገኞች እንዳሉ ሕዝብ በግልጽ የሚያውቀውና በዓይነ ቁራኛ እየታዘበና እየተከታተለው ያለ ጉዳይ ነው፡፡

ባለሥልጣናት ሥነ ምግባር ኖሯቸውና ለሕገ መንግሥት ተገዥ ሆነው ሕዝብንና አገርን እንዲያገለግሉ ነው ሕገ መንግሥታችንን እናከብራለንና እንተገብራለን የሚለው የውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ ውሳኔ ይሁን የምንለው፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥታችን በሃይማኖት ነፃነት ያምናል፡፡ አገር የጋራ ነው ሃይማኖት የግል ነው ይላል፡፡ ሁሉንም ሃይማኖቶች በእኩል ያያል፡፡ ከፖለቲካ ተፅዕኖ ነፃ ናቸው ይላል፡፡ ይህንን መብት እያንዳንዱ ዜጋ ሊጠቀምበት ይገባል፡፡ ስለሆነም ከማንኛውም አቅጣጫ የሚመጣ ጫናም ይሁን ጣልቃ ገብነት ይህን መብት እንዳይጋፋ መንግሥት መረባረብ አለበት፡፡ ከመንግሥትም፣ ከባለገንዘብም፣ ከውስጥም፣ ከውጭም ይህንን መብት የሚጋፋ እንዳይኖር መከላከልና መጠበቅ ይገባል፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥቱን እናከብራለንና እንተገብራለን የሚለው የውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ ውሳኔ ይሁን የምንልበት ሌላው ምክንያትም ይኼው ነው፡፡

ስለመፈክርና ስለመዝሙር አይደለም እያወራን ያለነው፡፡ ስለተግባር ነው፡፡ ሕገ መንግሥቱን እናከብራለን የሚል መፈክር በየግድግዳው ሊጻፍና ሊለጠፍ ይችላል፡፡ በተግባር ግን ሲረሳ፣ ሲዘነጋና ሲረገጥ እየተስተዋለ ነው፡፡

ለሕገ መንግሥቱ ተግባራዊነት መቆም ልዩ ትኩረት ይሰጠው እያልን ያለነው ነገ አገራችን ለአደጋ ተጋልጣ በታሪክ የምንወቀስበትና የምንከሰስበት ሁኔታ ላይ ልንገኝ ስለምንችል ነው፡፡ ካለ ጨረታና ካለ የታሸገ ኤንቨሎፕ ሕገ መንግሥቱንና ሕጎችን ገዝተናል፣ ተቆጣጥረናል የሚሉ ግለሰቦችና ቡድኖች ኔትወርኮች ተፈጥረዋል፡፡ ለሕገ መንግሥት መቆም ያለበት ሁሉ ለእነዚህ እየሰገደ ይገኛል፡፡ ይህ አካሄድ ልንወጣው ወደማንችለው ውርደት፣ ኃፍረትና ውድቀት ያመራናልና እንጠንቀቅ! እንንቃ! እንረባረብ!

ሁሌም ለአገር የሚጠቅም ጉዳይ ላይ እንወያይ እንወስን፡፡ ነገር ግን የውሳኔዎች ሁሉ የበላይ ውሳኔ ሕገ መንግሥቱን ማክበርና መተግበር ነው!  

Friday, March 29, 2013



    Central Technical Unit, Directorate General for Cooperation and Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, via S. Contarini 25,00194
    Rome - Italy
    Land degradation in the tropics is strongly associated with human population growth. The latter phenomenon is quite marked in humid areas and in the temperate highlands (Jahnke 1982). Notably in the plateaux of Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, several pastoral systems have gradually evolved into mixed farming, in order to cope with such pressure (Ruthenberg, 1980). Land is more intensively utilized as population density increases since mixed systems are more efficient than specialized crop or livestock systems (McIntire et al.,1992). In fact, livestock crop integration allows:
    • to diversify production,
    • to distribute labour and harvest better throughout the year as well as distribute tasks among the different components of the household (HH),
    • to recycle waste products within the system, preventing nutrient losses,
    • to minimize the risk and the effects of livestock and crop pests;
    • to improve indigenous husbandry techniques and knowledge, hence
    • to intensify and control more efficiently input - output flows, increasing productivity and minimizing risks.
    Livestock provide not only draught power, manure, milk, meat and by-products. As in traditional pastoral societies, they have cash buffer and insurance functions. The former function also supports the use of inputs in crop cultivation which in turn generates higher on-farm productivity for both crops and livestock (Brumby, 1986).
    On the other hand, human population growth is responsible for decreasing land plot size. In Rwanda and Burundi, this pressure led to stocking rates much lower than in other East African highlands (50 TLU/km2 vs. 100–130 TLU/km2, according to the zone) due to increasing conversion of pasture into cultivated land (de Leeuw and Reid, 1995). In these areas, the doubling time of human population is around 20 years. In Sidama, Southern Ethiopia, a similar pattern was already described in 1975 by Ayele who stated that “cultivation has been and is invading livestock grazing areas. As population increases, people prefer to cultivate crops rather than breed livestock”.
    The progressive disappearance of livestock is a key destabilizing factor responsible for the involution of the system characterized by nutrients deficiencies and degradation. It may lead to conflicts between different groups sharing resources within the system. This trend is more evident in the absence of marketing opportunities for livestock and/or crop products (Ruthenberg, 1980; Steinfeld et al., 1997).
    In Sidama Awraja (or district) a WHO/UNICEF Joint Nutritional Support Programme (JNSP) was implemented during the second half of the 1980's. The area was selected because it presented a variety of environmental, socio-economic and cultural situations. This study, carried out as part of the programme activities, illustrates the role played by livestock in alleviating land degradation, poverty and the resulting child malnutrition in integrated systems.
    The Sidama Awraja
    Located in the northern part of Sidama Province, the Sidama Awraja occupies some 5900 km2, with a human population of 1.5 million. The Awraja is one of the most densely inhabited areas of Ethiopia, with 254 people/km2, in contrast to the national average of 32 people/km2.
    The region is divided into three main ecozones, each with different agricultural systems and development potential, (Figure 1). The lowlands are situated in the Rift Valley and range between 1100 m and 1600 m in altitude. Because of poor soil and an average annual rainfall of only 400 mm, the main human activity in this zone is pastoralism. The next belt, the midlands, ranges from 1600 to 2000 m and averages more than 1500 mm of precipitation annually. About 70% of the Awraja's human population is concentrated in this very fertile zone (Raya, 1987). It has sustained rapid population growth because it provides a favourable environment for agriculture and development. The farming system, a combination of horticulture and animal husbandry, is characterized by the cultivation of false banana (Ensete ventricosum), which is the principal staple food, and cash crops. Major cash crops include coffee (Coffea arabica, a wild shrub indigenous to southern Ethiopia) and chat (Catha edulis, whose leaves are chewed as a stimulant). Incomes in the midlands are considerably higher than in the other two zones and in the rest of Ethiopia (Anonymous, 1984). A tarmac road and the majority of the Awraja's dirt roads are found in the midlands, as are the main services and the regional and district capitals. The territory above 2000 m constitutes the highlands, whose potential for cereal production has not yet been fully exploited also because of poor communication networks. At present, abundant pasture allows highland farmers to raise large numbers of livestock, including horses that supply most of the transport in this zone.
    The principal ethnic group in this zone is the Sidama, a Cushitic-speaking people. Traditionally cattle raisers, their way of life has changed, especially in the midlands, as cultivation is invading grazing areas. For example, seasonal movements towards neighbouring highlands in search of better pasture are practised no more. Nowadays, they live together with the Oromo pastoralists (the Guji) who used to be their traditional enemies. “Sidama”, which means “foreigner” was the name used by the Oromo during their expansion from the eastern Ethiopian highlands into the Awraja (Biasiutti 1959). Other ethnic groups found in the area are the Wolaita and the Amhara.
    The study
    JNSP activities were concentrated in the midlands of Sidama. According to the results of a baseline survey carried out by the programme, 36% of children in the Awraja had chronic and 41% acute malnutrition. The problem was surprisingly more severe in the midlands.
    A key question still needed an answer: within the same community, which are the most vulnerable HHs and why?
    Several studies have clearly pointed out the influence of the socio-economic status, as well of environmental factors, on child malnutrition (Payne, 1977; Nabarro, 1981; Victora et al., 1986). The proportion of malnourished children within a community is a powerful indicator of the level of access to basic resources from vulnerable groups. High prevalences are the symptoms of a system under stress and they are often associated with scarcity, degradation or mismanagement of available resources, including inequity. According to Jonsson (1984) the main underlying causes of the phenomenon are: insufficient HH food security, inadequate child care, and insufficient basic health care.
    The present study was carried out in 1988 as part of programme activities in order to:
    1. describe the main features and constraints of the prevalent farming system in the midland:
    2. identify key determinants of child malnutrition, with particular emphasis on food security and HH economics.
    Materials and methods
    The study design hinged upon:
    • the results of JNSP activities in the area, notably a performed baseline survey and ongoing regular growth-monitoring sessions;
    • the direct involvement of local community workers (i.e., community development, health and agricultural workers) also in order to emphasize the intersectoral and participatory approach of the exercise.
    The data were collected mainly through:
    1. rapid rural appraisal,
    2. HH questionnaires, and
    3. direct observations.
    1. Rapid rural appraisal techniques were adapted from Conway (1985) and developed in order to analyse livestock productivity, HH economics and market prices in a better way (Ghirotti, 1992). During meetings with farmers, results were interpreted and discussed with the assistance of community workers.
    2. 102 heads of HH, out of the 109 originally selected, were interviewed in four selected villages of the midlands: Telamu, Sedeka, Weinenata and Ferro. Data on age-sex distribution of the interviewed households are in Figure 2. These villages were involved in the programme (JNSP) activities and the sample was drawn from a list of HH's. All the interviews were performed in the local language through a trained interpreter during house-to-house visits. They took place in August, a period which corresponds with the beginning of the new Sidama traditional year and the end of the Ethiopian calendar. It was then easier for the farmer to recall events of the previous year. The methodology was tested in a fifth village (Wondo). The results of this pilot trial were not included in the study.
    3. At the end of each interview, some selected features (e. g., land plot size and conditions, type and quantity of cultivated crops, number and type of livestock owned) were verified utilizing HH conditions, as well as ownership of a functioning radio set and type of bed, as wealth indicators. The previous year's coffee production of each HH was checked at the local Peasant associations (PAs) where the harvest had to be sold.
    Further information about the study area and methodology can be obtained from a previous publication (Ghirotti, 1995).
    Risks factors in child malnutrition
    Ninety eight HHs, in the selected villages, fulfilled the basic criteria for being involved in a case - control study. All of them having a child below three years of age (13-24 months included) with weight for age above 90% of the median of the Harvard reference population (hence well nourished) or with weight for age below 65% of the median of the Harvard reference population (hence severely malnourished). They were divided in two extreme groups in order to identify main determinants of malnutrition. The study was performed as single blind: information on the nutritional status of the children belonging to the interviewed HH were deliberately obtained only at the end of all the interviews in the concerned PA. The two major working hypotheses were:
    1. child malnutrition is associated with the income level of the HH,
    2. it is also associated with the degree of efficiency in land utilization.
    At the same time a parallel and integrated investigation analyzed the role of maternal care and mother knowledge/attitude in the same HHs (N. Zagaria, unpublished document).
    The income of each HH was estimated by making a calculation of the farm gross output of the year (according to the recorded production parameters), of ownership of goods, livestock and other sources of HH income. Data were computed into a spread-sheet format. Items were converted into monetary figures, i.e. Ethiopian Birr (at the time of the study 1 US$=2.05 E. Birr), according to local market prices.
    Income pro capita was calculated by dividing the estimated gross income for the total number of HH members. The coefficient for children below five years was 0. 4, for family members between 5 and 15 years of age was 0. 75 and for members above 15 years was 1.
    Efficiency in agricultural production was estimated by dividing the gross income for the size of the land holding (Spedding, 1981). Management was evaluated by comparing the husbandry practices of the two groups (HHs of well-nourished and HHs of malnourished child) to identify differences in their behaviour, if any, associated with production improvement (e. g. ; use of inputs, frequency of weeding and other husbandry practices, level of livestock care, diversification of production strategy, priorities in expenditures).
    Data analysis
    Data were analysed either comparing means with ANOVA or using chi-squared to test hypotheses. A Mantel - Haenszel stratified analysis was then carried out. The correlation coefficient was calculated to establish eventual relationship between selected variables. P values less than 0. 1 (10%) were considered as statistically significant. A statistical package EPI-INFO was used for the analysis (WHO-CDC, 1990).
    The farming system
    HH composition and land plot size:
    The average HH size is 6.5 persons (S. D. = 2.24). Its composition is given in Figure 2. Polygamy was found in 19 HHs. Three farms were led by a woman. 95.1% of the farmers cultivate less than one hectare of land (see table 1). The average land plot is 0. 4 ha. Its size is not associated with income (P>0. 1). The recorded population density in the area is 525 people/Km2 (see Table 2).
    Income: The comparison between the means of the income recorded in HHs of the four villages, showed that the difference is not significant (P>0. 1). It was then assumed that the selected villages are rather homogenous. On-farm activities are the main source of income for 99 HHs (97.1%). Coffee and livestock production largely contribute to family income (over 80%), the former as a source of cash, the latter as an asset. The selling of cash crops (coffee, chat, sugarcane and other fruit) and dairy products provides most of the ready money available, on average 17% of the gross income, to buy farm inputs and to meet other HH expenditures. During the year of the study, 61 (59.8%) farmers worked either for other farmers or for the local producer co-operatives in order to obtain extra cash or, more frequently, food. Income generated from agricultural activities was integrated in 15 HHs (14.7%) with casual labour (e. g., brickwork), in 6 (5.9%) with handicraft production and in 4 HHs (3.9%) with alcohol sale. Income was not associated with the surface of cultivated land nor with the HH size (P>0. 1)
    Crop Production: In the midlands, the garden is a combination of different food and cash crop species. The ensete plants form the higher canopy under which humidity is maintained and where coffee, kale (Brassica carinata), yam (Dioscorea abyssinica), sweet potato (Coleus edulis) and other vegetable and fruit trees are planted. The climate, with mild temperatures and water surplus for most of the year, is favourable to crops but also to weed growth. Soil fertility in the garden is kept and even increased by the daily spreading of the manure collected overnight. The floors of traditional housing are constructed in such a way that the urine of livestock kept indoor overnight drains into the garden. However, heaps of unused manure were noticed near some plots as well as land degradation in sloped or grazing areas. Maize is cultivated separately in rows, together with kale, beans and spice plants.
    The frequency of the HHs cultivating the most important crops is summarized in table 3. Because of the small size of land plots, the main agricultural tool is a local bamboo hoe. The plough is used only by few farmers who cultivate more than one ha of land.
    Ensete plays a central role in the life of Sidama people. It furnishes the main staple food which is potentially available throughout the year, fibre for handicrafts, ropes, leaves for shelter, by-products for animal feed. Preferably when the plant is 6-8 years old, the pseudostem is scraped in order to obtain “bula”, the most valuable food made from the juice, and “wasa”, which is obtained from fermentation of the solid residue and can easily be stored in the ground for over two years. Production per plant is about 30 kg though an eight years old plant can produce up to 40 kg of wasa.
    All the farmers interviewed cultivate maize. Teff (Eragrostis teff), wheat and barley are cultivated by a few farmers (in seven, three and two HHs respectively) owning more than 0. 6 ha of land.
    Production of coffee, the main cash crop, was not associated with plot size (P>0. 1). Fruits like orange, banana, avocado, guava and papaya have the function of cash crops, diversifying the HH economy and providing some petty cash when other sources are not available, especially for farmers in villages near the major markets and roads.
    Because of the low but diversified production through the year, little is stored. Most food is eaten or sold within weeks from harvest, with the exception of was which can be prepared any time during the year.
    Only 2.9% of the farmers interviewed use improved maize seeds. Fertilizers, mainly bought from free marketing, are employed by 21.6% of them and their use is associated with high income (P<0. 01). Nineteen (18.6%) farmers obtained information on how to improve their agricultural production, mainly coffee. Figure 3 shows the major constraints in crop production identified by the heads of HH. Among other causes, farmers mentioned the difficulty to obtain loans.
    Livestock production: The recorded human/livestock ratios and density, in the study area as well in the whole Sidama and in the rest of Ethiopia, are given in Table 2. In spite of population pressure, livestock density in the area is higher than in the rest of the Awraja and of Ethiopia. On the other hand, the ratio of TLU per HH is lower.
    Some 96% of the interviewed heads of HHs own livestock and about 89.2% own cattle (see Table 4). Cattle numbers are a good indicator of wealth, and ownership of more than three heads per HH is associated with an estimated annual income above E. Birr 1,000. In fact, the average herd size in a low income HH is 2.5 cattle, while in a wealthy one it is four cattle (P< 0. 001). The average herd structure is typically milk-calf production oriented (Figure 4). Oxen, as well as equine animals which are used as source of draught power, are owned only by farmers with larger land plots. The recorded production parameters are typical of a rather stable and productive traditional herd (Table 5). Farmers identified the main causes of losses in calves as diarrhoea and emaciation, while in adults poisoning, internal parasitism, clostridiosis and diarrhoea. Offtake comprises essentially sales.
    Small ruminants are less diffused than cattle although they are probably more suitable to the local farming conditions (Tables 2 and 4). Animal production in the midlands is indeed milk-oriented and small ruminants cannot fulfil this important demand, especially sheep, because of a well-rooted food taboo. However, once this taboo is neglected, goats are gradually replacing other domestic ruminants. The recorded difference between lambing and kidding rates was significant (P<0. 01). The average flock size is not associated with income or land plot size (P>0. 1). Farmers say that the major causes of death in small ruminants are parasitism and predation. Offtake is in the form of sales. However on special occasions, such as birth of a child, special visits or sickness of a member, small ruminants are slaughtered to be consumed within the HH.
    Chicken are bred independently of HH income as well. The mortality rate is quite high (39.2%) and affects mostly chicks. The major causes of death are predation by hawks (86.3%), diseases (12.1%) and accidents (1.6%). The recorded offtake was 22.7%. 3/4 of it was due to consumption by the members of the family.
    Each beehive produces 3-3.5kg of honey which is used to produce local hydromel: “teij”. Fifty-nine percent of the cattle owners, regardless of their income, vaccinated their animals against major infectious diseases. In 44% of the herds there was a need for veterinary assistance during the year which, for the great majority, concerned cattle. Only two farmers obtained information on how to improve their livestock production. Of the 40 farmers who needed veterinary care during the reference year, 24 (60%) used traditional medicine, 10 (25%) modern medicine and 6 (15%) both. The choice was not associated with HH income level (P>0. 1). The major constraints in animal husbandry identified by farmers are given in Figure 5. Grazing areas are often limited to open meadow in front of the house and to scarce fallow land. By-products, mainly ensete leaves and maize stover, are given as feed to livestock in the dry season. However, according to farmers, an abundant diet of ensete leaves can cause severe enteritis, notably in young animals. Local coarse grass (Pennisetum scimperi), commonly found in common pastures and rich in silicates, is possibly responsible for early consumption of teeth in livestock.
    Market prices: Seasonal dynamics of the price of common agricultural products are given in figures 6 and 7. Prices are higher in villages near the main tarmac road and the Awraja capital, Yerg' Alem (i.e., Weinenata and Ferro).
    Food habits: Vegetable products are gradually replacing food of animal origin as maize is gradually replacing wasa in the diet. In families owning cattle, wasa is eaten with milk or butter. The latter food is considered as being very nutritive and used by well off families for weaning their children. Vegetables and fruit, on the other hand, are considered as being of little nutritive value. 45% of the farmers interviewed believe that good nutrition is based on food of animal origin and 28.4% believe that malnutrition is caused by the absence in the diets of such food. These beliefs are probably linked to the traditional pastoral life-style of local ethnic groups. However, 63.7% of the heads of HHs are aware that an unvaried diet is an important cause of malnutrition.
    Expenditures: The main expenditures in the HH throughout the year are, in order of priority: food (82.1%), clothes (14.7%), taxes and contributions (2.9%). Priority in expenditure items is not related to the HH income (P>0. 1).
    Risk factors in child malnutrition
    As shown in Table 7 child malnutrition is strongly associated with an estimated income of less than 1100 E. Birr (P<0. 001). The mean gross income in HHs with a well nourished child is E. Birr 1471 (C. L. 92.9) while in the other group this is E. Birr 893 (C. L. 71.3). This difference is significant (P<0. 001). Income pro capita was not associated with malnutrition (P>0. 1). Moreover, the average size of HHs with a malnourished child was 6.8, while for HHs with well-nourished children it was 6.2. This difference was not significant (P>0. 1). Therefore, larger families are not more vulnerable.
    Cattle ownership is a good indicator of wealth and a predictor of the child nutritional status (P<0. 01). Ownership of more that three cattle is associated with high income levels and good nutritional status of the child (respectively P<0. 001 and P<0. 005), see table 8. There is no confounding effect between the two factors. The correlation coefficient between income and herd size is 0. 73.
    The association between different house conditions and levels of income, and between house conditions (hence of a income proxy) and malnutrition were both highly significant (P< 0. 001), see table 9. Bed or radio ownership are poor wealth or malnutrition indicators (P<0. 01), may be because of the small sample size.
    The combination of number of cattle owned and house condition is an excellent predictor of nutritional risk, with an odd ratio of 15.5.
    Malnutrition was not associated with number of wives nor with land plot size (P>0. 1). On the other hand, it was related to lower levels of efficiency in land utilization (Table 10).
    No significant difference in agricultural practices or in awareness of nutritional problems was observed between the two groups of HHs.
    At the time of the interviews, the gardens belonging to low income farmers presented most of the maize already harvested, hence before its optimal maturation. Ensete plants older than five years were also more frequently found in the garden of wealthy HHs.
    Caution is needed while interpreting data obtained from official statistics or questionnaires (see for example, Chambers, 1983 and Gill, 1993). Bearing this in mind, the study, of which the results are consistent with the demographic and productive patterns recorded by broader surveys carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture (1984) and by JNSP, points out that:
    1. The prevalent farming system of the midlands of Sidama is under stress mainly because of burgeoning human population. Symptoms are not only the high proportion of children acutely or chronically affected by malnutrition but also the progressive degradation of resources in an environment once extremely fertile. Land erosion is commonly observed by farmers who consider it a major problem though in some plots nutrients surplus, as unused manure, was observed. Hurni (1988) classified soil erosion in Sidama as medium (20–40%). Pastureland is shrinking and degrading in its botanical composition. Most of the abundant water resources are now polluted.
    2. In order to buffer the progressive crisis, and given the presence of markets for cash crops and dairy products, the mixed system in Sidama midlands is rapidly evolving into specialization. The area is among the richest in Ethiopia (MOA, 1984). Because of their positive role as a source of cash in the HH economy, coffee and chat plants are gradually replacing food crops in the garden such as ensete, yam and maize. Nowadays, food is the main expenditure while in the 1970s it was clothing (Ayele, 1975; Hamer, 1987). The latter author, comparing HH income and expenditure balances between the 1960s and 1970s, points out that a sign of the vulnerability of the Sidama productive system today under stress is the increasing imbalance in favour of expenditures which can only be partially covered by previous years' savings. However, further specialization will reduce the flexibility of the system and make it more vulnerable because of its heavy dependency on remote markets beyond the reach of farmers' control (particularly in the case of coffee).
    3. The situation in Sidama could somehow be considered intermediate between what was observed in the Rwanda highlands (von Braun et al., 1991) and the positive Machakos case, Kenya (English et al., 1992). Nevertheless, Sidama has less marketing opportunities than Machakos and the enrolment rates for primary schools reported from Ethiopia may reduce the possibility of off-farm employment, for local farmers. As stated by von Braun et al. (1991), since rapid population growth contributes significantly to rural poverty, areas under such pressure may build their economic sustainability less and less upon agriculture alone. National land reforms have to be carefully designed and monitored to avoid low income HHs, in order to pay their debts, giving away their plots to well off farmers.
    4. The main underlying factor of malnutrition in children of Sidama is poverty. The parallel study carried out in the same area showed that child care and mother behaviour is not a major determinant of the phenomenon (Zagaria N., personal communication). Although child mortality is higher in poor HHs, when analysing the nutritional status of the siblings of infants included in the study and comparing it with the results of the present investigation, it came out that the protective effect of the family income on children decrease soon after they are weaned. Also wealthy HHs have stunted or underweight older children, though in a lower proportion than poor families (Ghirotti M., Zagaria N. and Tekle E., unpublished results).
    A major conclusion of this study is that livestock play a protective role against land degradation and poverty. Such role against poverty and hence child malnutrition is associated with the possibility to diversify HH production and diet. There is no major difference in the skill and knowledge of members from low or high income HH. The main difference lies in the possibility to modulate their production and marketing strategies. High income farmers have a good area of manoeuvre within which they can adapt their decisions according to rapidly changing conditions. On the contrary, in order to cope with their immediate survival needs, low income farmers have to sell products soon after harvest, when prices are low, or consume them before they become ripe and reply on traditionally standardized husbandry techniques developed when pressure on local natural resources was less intense. The latter HHs have limited choices that are reduced every year or in every round of the “spiral of necessity” shown in Figure 8.
    This paper is dedicated to the Ethiopian field workers, an example of devotion in performing their tasks, and to the memory of: Reginald Bark Griffiths (1920 – 1997), John William Coltrane (1926 – 1967), and Sophie Ali (1954 – 1990).
    The study was performed within the field work programme of the “International Course for Primary Health Care Managers at District Level in Developing Country” (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome), supported by the Italian Technical Cooperation. The author is very grateful to: R. Guerra, course supervisor; E. Tekle, Ethiopian Nutritional Institute, and the staff of the UNICEF/WHO Joint Nutritional Support Programme, Sidama; S. Sanford, ILCA; D. Nabarro; S. Babsa, typist; G. Beccaloni, FAO documentarist; and Zebenay I., interpreter.
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    Table 1: Land holding frequency per household in Sidama midlands (n=102)
    cultivated land (hectare)frequency
    <0. 581
    0. 5–117
    Table 2: Human and livestock population densities in Ethiopia, Sidama and sampled Midlands (Sources: UN, JNSP and study data)
    cattle/people0. 650. 650. 48
    small rumin. /people10. 140. 11
    equines/people0. 180. 040. 02
    small rumin. /Km232.734.655.4
    equines/ Km25.79.18.7
    TLU/Km222.6126.6190. 1
    Table 3: frequency of households cultivating major crops (n = 102)
    cropsno of HHscropsno. of HHs
    kale95red pepper65
    pumpkin88sweet potatoes47
    Table 4: number of households breeding livestock (n = 102)
    speciesno of HHstotal number in the sample
    no livestock4---
    Table 5: Production rates recorded in cattle of Sidama Midlands (n = 369)
    Calving %Mortality %Off take %
    Table 6: Production rates in small ruminants of Sidama Midlands (n = 33 + 57)
     BirthMortalityOff take
    Table 7: Child nutritional status and estimated household income
     Estimated household income
    <1,100 E. birr>1,100 E. birr
    Well nourished1740
    P < 0. 001 O. R. =8.37 C. L. =95%
    Table 8: Child nutritional status and number of owned cattle (n = 98)
     Owned cattle
    Well nourished2730
    P < 0. 05 O. R. =3.44 C. L. =95%
    Table 9: Child nutritional status and productivity per hectare (n = 98)
     E. Birr/0. 1 hectare
    Well nourished51.63(+3.9)
    P<0. 001 C. L. =95%
    Table 10: House condition and children nutritional status (n = 98)
     house condition
    well nourished children41538
    malnourished children22811
    P<0. 001 O. R = 15.34 95% C. L.
    Figure 1: Map of Sidama (*=sampled village)
    Figure 1
    Figure 2: Household age-sex distribution
    % of the different age-sex group in the interviewed households, average value
    Figure 2
    Figure 3: Main problems in crop production
    Figure 3
    Figure 4: Average herd composition
    Figure 4
    Figure 5: Main problems in livestock production
    Figure 5
    Figure 6: Monthly variation of the price for one horse load of ensete
    Figure 6
    Figure 7: Monthly variation of the price for one qt of coffee or barley in Aleto Wondo
    Figure 7
    Figure 8: The spiral of necessity
በኢትዮጵያ ፕሪሚየር ሊግ ጨዋታ ሀዋሳ ከነማ ሀረር ቢራን 1 ለ 0 በማሸነፍ መሪነቱን በ25 ነጥብ አጠናክሯል፡፡
ዛሬ መጋቢት 19/2005 ዓ.ም ከተካሄዱት የፕሪሚየር ሊግ ጨዋታዎች ሀዋሳ ከነማ ሀረር ቢራን 1 ለ 0፣ መብራት ሀይል ደደቢትን 2 ለ 1 አሸንፈዋል፡፡
ለሀዋሳ ከነማ የማሸነፊያዋን ጎል ያስቆጠረው አንዷለም ንጉሴ/አቤጋ/ከእረፍት መልስ ነው፡፡
አዲስ አበባ ላይ ደደቢት እና መብራት ሀይል ባካሄዱት ጨዋታ ደደቢት በጌታነህ ከበደ አማካኝነት ባስቆጠራት ግብ ቢመራም በረከት እና ሳሚዔል ባስቆጠሯቸው ጎሎች መብራት ሀይል አሸንፏል፡፡
የቅዱስ ጊዮርጊስና የኢትዮጵያ ንግድ ባንክ ጨዋታ በቅዱስ ጊዮርጊስ 2 ለ 0 አሸናፊነት ተጠናቋል፡፡
ለቅዱስ ጊዮርጊስ ፍፁም ገ/ማሪያምና ያሬድ ዝናቡ የማሸነፊያ ግቦቹን አስቆጥረዋል፡፡
አዳማ ላይ አዳማ ከነማ ከመከላከያ ያደረጉት ጨዋታ በአወዛጋቢ ክስተት ተቋርጧል፡፡
የአዳማውን ጨዋታ የመሩት ዳኛ በአንድ ክስተት 3 የተለያዩ ውሳኔዎችን ማስተላለፋቸው ለጨወታው መቋረጥ ምክንያት ሆኗል፡፡
ፕሪሚየር ሊጉን ሀዋሳ ከነማ በ25 ነጥብ ደደቢት በ24ቅዱስ ጊዮርጊስ በ23 ኢትዮያ ቡና በ22 ነጥብ ከአንደኛ እስከ አራተኛ ደረጃ ይዘዋል፡፡
ምንጭ ኢቲቪ

The national policy buzz has suddenly shifted to Bahir Dar – the ever-growing capital of the Amhara Regional State, overseen by the rather popular EPRDFite, Ayalew Gobeze. It is not the rapid growth of the city, which is surrounded by major water bodies, such as Lake Tana and the Blue Nile River, that has led to the shift. Rather, it is the congregation of the ruling EPRDFites for their ninth convention.
Preceded by the eventful assemblies of the four member organisations of the ruling coalition, the general assembly, being held in the historical city, is envisioned to bring the top leadership of the ruling party together, in order to craft the road ahead. Of course, one important personality is missed from this whole scene – the late Meles Zenawi.
If the EPRDFites could name one person that has transformed their resilience significantly, it could be no one other than the late Prime Minister. The transformation that the ruling party has undergone under Meles’ watch was so monumental that its impacts have gone far beyond the Party. With the ruling party having been in power for over 21 years now, its organisational transformation is tightly aligned with the progress and backwards steps that the nation has gone through.
Meles’ shadow was indeed bigger than the Party’s. It extended to the continental and global scene, in which the Party has no face. His role was largely strategic, including articulating the stances of the Party on different global and local issues. The past eight assemblies of the Party benefited a lot from his intellect, articulation and leadership.
It is such a definitive persona that the EPRDFites have missed in their latest assembly – the first since their flagship  Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP), came into effect. As if to solidify their stance towards economic development and express their lineage to Meles – their popular chief development theorist – they have anchored their discussion on the developmental achievements and challenges of the last two years.
Of course, this does not mean that they have completely avoided their traditional undertakings of restructuring their organisational units. Staffing their top political bureaus with new, younger faces and retiring the older leadership generation, in line with their succession plan, itself crafted by Meles, is an agenda they seem to pursue with due care. Yet, this part of the game has little to do with policy.
What seems to have a direct impact on policy is the discussion on the GTP. And a large part of it will be based on the latest Annual Progress Report (APR), disclosed by the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MoFED).
Predictably, the discussion will dominantly be political. It is also expected to be frank, as any intra-party discussion is. Yet, it has a significant leverage to change the direction of the national economic journey, with the EPRDFites entrusted to rule until 2014/15.
If the discussion is to solely be based on the APR, however, it would certainly lose sight of the global dimension. And, it has every chance to miss the linkage effect that both achievements and failures have with continental and global economic realities.
Eventually, the release of the latest Human Development Report (HDR) by the trusted global organisation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), could help the EPRDFites to see the linkage of their actions with the global trend. Beyond that, the report could also help them to see where their decisiveness is highly sought.
Both the APR and the HDR show gaps in translating the rapid economic growth that the nation has managed to achieve over the last nine years, into concrete human developments, including; Gross National Income (GNI) per capital, quality health care and quality education. Therein lays the challenge for the convening EPRDFites.
The Human Development Index (HDI), a relatively comprehensive measure of economic development, for Ethiopia, has shown only a marginal increment, 0.004 to be exact, between 2011 and 2012. The 44pc gross increment, or 3.67pc annual rise, that the index has witnessed between 2000 and 2012 also lags behind the official rhetoric of successful inclusive development.
This too would have been bashed out of the neo-liberal political thresher, if it was not supported with the figures included in the latest APR, compiled by the MoFED. A rising student enrolment, stained with high dropout rates and subpar education, as well as an increasing health care provision disfigured by high child and maternal mortality rates, continue to challenge the rapid economic growth of the nation, states the latest APR.
Indeed, the EPRDFites stand at a cross roads. On the one hand is their repeated declaration to sustain the developmental legacy of their late leader. On the other, they are being challenged with an economy that is bearing less fruits, in terms of human development.
Cracking the password for a policy resolution is what is largely expected to come out of their convention. And the public seems to be watching, keenly.
All their efforts in the past were focused on building infrastructure, improving access to social services and establishing systems. This time around, however, the play is all about improving quality.
Sustaining development for a long time, to the level of making the nation a middle-income economy, cannot be attained without enhancing the quality of education, saving dying mothers, improving child care, increasing per capita income and streamlining equity. Largely, these challenges entail quality policy making.
So much as the EPRDFites are entrusted to lead the economy until the next election, in 2015, they have the responsibility of realising such a policy regime. Failing to bring a shift in the policy regime, from one focused on access to one which targets quality, will certainly have a cost for them and for the nation, at large.
It all ought to stem from a political will to grow beyond winning elections. Of course, numbers expressed as access to social services rightly resonate with the electorate. However, they cannot deliver a sustainable political base.
At stake for the EPRDFites is, thus, to bring a change in their policy perspective, which eventually refocuses it towards quality. Instilling the essential political will within the bureaucracy they oversee to realise the reorientation towards service quality will also be important.
It is only then that they could manage to further the economic legacies of their dear leader and bring about lasting change in the country.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

By Wolassa Kumo
1. Introduction
In my previous articles, I mentioned the Sidama grand social constitution Seera, and various sub constitutions which derive from this grand constitution. We have also seen that all social constitutions or Seera in Sidama were based on the Sidama moral code of halale, the true way of life. In this socio-cultural and socio-political system, the role of the elders was very important. Elders were bestowed with the power of enforcing the Seera and referring the recalcitrant to Magano or God if he/she refuses to abide by the Seera.
The power of elders in the Sidama society was not based on a simple age count as is the case in most modern societies. The Sidama elder is more the product of various social processes through which he passes than the product of a simple aging. For a person to become a recognised elder with authority in Sidama, he has to become a Cimeessa (respected elder with authority) or Cimeeyye for many respected elders. There are three important socio-cultural processes that shape the Sidama elder who will have the required authority to enforce the Seera system in the society. These are: the Luwa cycle, Barcima (circumcision), and the Anga culture. In this brief article, we will revisit the cultures that shape the institution of Cimeessa in the Sidama society.
2. The Sidama Luwa Cycle
As I pointed out in my previous articles, the Luwa is administered by an age grade system where each grade rotates every 8 years. There are five rotating grades in the Luwa system. These are: Darara, Fullassa, Hirobora, Wawassa and Mogissa. The Malga clan in Awassa district adds Binancha as the sixth grade.
However, the recruitment to a given Luwa grade does not depend on the age of the individual. It depends on the grade of one's father. For instance, if we assume that Darara is the first cycle and Mogissa is the last cycle, and if the son of Darara becomes Mogissa, a son born to a person who is a member of the Darara cycle has to wait for 32-40 years to join the Mogissa grade. Therefore, in the Luwa cycle, it is possible that a child as well as a 40 years old adult can become members of the same Luwa cycle. Thus, age is not a sole criterion in the making of the Sidama Cimeessa (respected elder). A person who did not pass through the Luwa cycles cannot become a Cimeessa while a younger person can qualify for a position if he fulfils all other requirements.
The Luwa system has two important objectives. The first and the most important one is the recruitment and training of the able bodied men for the defence of the nation. The second objective is the development of potential elders who will have authorities to replace the current elders (Cimeeyye). Women are not allowed to participate in the Luwa system. Therefore, they are automatically excluded from the nation's defence forces as well as from becoming Cimeeyye or respected elders. However, the Sidama society has its own ways of showing respect for elderly women.
A fascinating aspect of the Sidama culture in this regard is that, younger people never call older people, men or women, by their names. They always use the name of their children, using as prefix, mother of ".." and father of ".". If they do not know the names of their children, they simply call them mother or father, even if they are not their real mothers and fathers. While many of the beautiful Sidama indigenous cultures have been lost due to the Abyssinian conquest, this particular way of life survived until today.
Avoiding the direct contact with the mother-in-laws is another aspect of unique respect the Sidama society offers to women in general. A person who is newly married to the daughter of a woman will not stand in her way if he sees her walking in the street. He has to run in to the bushes to give the mother way to proceed with her trip. Not only he is not allowed to mention her name, but he is also required to talk with a language of respect such as Ki'ne (equivalent to English "thou" - in Sidaamuaffo). The wife is required to reciprocate the respect to her husband's family. But she is required to reciprocate it to the father of her husband, as she is required to be in close contact with the mother of her husband. This aspect of the Sidama culture is being gradually eroded due to massive conversion into Christianity.
3. Barcima (Circumcision) and Its Social Implications
In Sidama society, male circumcision has been practiced since time immemorial. Circumcision is one of the processes of building respected elders (Cimeeyye) in Sidama society. After a person participates in the Luwa cycles he has to carry out circumcision before his sons' Luwa cycle arrives. If he fails to circumcise before that, his progression to the class of respected elders can be seriously undermined. A non circumcised old person cannot be regarded as Cimeessa in Sidama society.
The circumcision ceremony is one of the biggest social events in Sidama society. Depending on the level of wealth of the individual, such as the size of farm and farm land owned, the size of Enset or coffee plantation, and the number of cattle the person owns, he can organize a huge ceremony involving hundreds of elders and young men and women from the area and far apart for the ceremony. Everyone invited or present in the ceremony is provided with Buurisame (food made from Enset with a lot of butter in it) and Malawo (drinks made from pure honey) beginning with the oldest and going down to the youngest. This process is called Malawo Tuma (the Honey Ceremony).
For a person to prepare the Honey Ceremony during his circumcision he has to pass through one of the Luwa cycles with in the past 40 years but not beyond. Thus, during the ceremony every body praises not only the person who is going to be circumcised but also his Luwa grade, stating that the Honey Ceremony belongs to such a person and such a Luwa grade. At the beginning of the Honey Ceremony, the person to be circumcised declares that it is his time now to circumcise and that he makes his Luwa grade and the Sidama society proud by willing to defend the nation and become an elder to serve the society.
I participated in two of such beautiful ceremonies in his rural village when I was about 8-10 years old, and I still remember how beautiful those ceremonies were. Most of these types of ceremonies that survived the Abyssinian conquest have now been almost lost due mainly to conversion into Christianity. The next stage in the making of the Sidama Cimeessa institution is the Anga culture.
4. The Anga Culture
The Anga culture is the most complicated part of the Sidama culture. Anga, which literally means "hand", has a different meaning when it is used in the context of the development of Cimeessa or Cimeeyye, respected elders or elders with authority. An elder with the Anga authority must have already participated in the Luwa cycles, must have been circumcised and most notably organized the grand Honey Ceremony. An elder who did not pass through those stages cannot claim to have the Anga authority.
An elder or Cimeessa who has Anga has superior moral authorities to all other Cimeessa in the society. In other words, the Anga is the last stage in the making of the Sidama Cimeessa or an elder with full moral authority to enforce Seera (social constitution) in the Sidama society. In addition to passing though the Luwa cycles, circumcision and Honey Ceremonies, the elder who claims the Anga authority has to make Kakalo (sacrifices) to the ancestors to declare his position as a holder of the Anga Authority.
An elder with Anga authority does not participate in any ordinary activities in the society. He does not eat any meat unless the animal is slaughtered either by himself or some one who has similar Anga authority like him. One fascinating aspects of the Anga culture is that when the Cimeessa with the Anga authority is a in a house dining alone or with some one, every body must keep quite. This is because, if some one mentions some names which are considered to be impure while the Cimeessa with the Anga was eating, then he will automatically stop eating. These names include animal names such as pigs, dogs or sounds like shouting, whistling and so on. If the Cimeessa with Anga listens to those names and sounds while he is eating, he has to automatically stop eating and leave. If he does not do so, he loses his Anga authority and has to offer other sacrifices to reclaim the Anga.
As in the case of many other areas in the Sidama culture and civilization, in this area extensive future research is required.
The Anga culture is practiced by the Sidama clan called the Xummano or the Yemerechcho. However, the Luwa, Circumcision and Honey Ceremonies are practiced by any member of the Sidama society. At present, the Anga culture has almost disappeared because of massive conversion to Christianity and diminishing number of the members of the society who acknowledge the Authority of Anga. Likewise, the authority of Cimeessa has been weakened and highly undermined. Although the concept still survives in Sidama, its significance has been significantly reduced.
5. Systematic abuse of the Cimeessa institution by the current regime.
Another factor that undermined the Cimeessa institution in Sidama is political interference by the current regime. Because of the unpopularity of most of the measures the current regimes undertakes in Sidama, it has resorted to bribing the elders. The members of the ruling party personally contact well known Sidama elders through out the Sidama land and provide them with money and transport them to towns and cities whenever they convene unpopular meetings in Sidama. The elders are forced to comply to these pressures both for fear of political persecution and because of the economic benefit they obtain in participating in these processes. Even after the Loqqe massacre, the first people invited to a meeting in Awassa in 2002 to support the actions of the massacre were the elders. However, this time the elders did the opposite of what they were expected to do. They unanimously condemned the massacre.
Although the elders try to balance cultural values they uphold with the benefits and intimidation the current regime, the constant pressure under which the regime puts the Sidama Cimeessa institution and the continued participation of the elders in most unpopular decisions regarding the Sidama society has seriously undermined the creditability of this institution at present. The most resilient group that continually rejects unpopular measures of the regime has become the youth, particularly the young people below the age of 30. This is mainly due to relatively better education and exposure this group has regarding the basic human rights, democracy and freedom. Since this demographic group represents the future of Sidama, our nation has a great hope!!