Somali Regional State

The Somali Regional State of Ethiopia is described as one of the “new emerging regions” and among the least developed of Ethiopia’s nine regions with substantially fewer health, water and sanitation, and school facilities. It lies in the lowlands, bordering Somalia, Kenya, and Djibouti with altitudes ranging from 500 to 1600 meters above sea level and a population of 4.4 million (Ethiopian census 2007) who are pre-dominantly rural semi-nomadic pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. The livelihood of most semi-nomadic pastoralists is dependent on livestock rearing where the male family members, including adolescent boys, migrate for up to six months of the year in search of water and good grazing pastures with their large animals (camels and cows). Women and young children remain in settled scattered isolated com-munities with their small animals (goats, sheep and donkeys). Agro-pastoralists combine livestock rearing with small-scale agriculture. Most people living in the region are Somalis, sharing the same language and ethnicity with neighboring Somalia.
The high poverty levels are exacerbated by the combined problems of insecurity, recurrent drought, low rainfall and limited infrastructure, resulting in a region’s average life expectancy of only 41 for men and 33 for women. The region has some of the lowest rates in the country for school attendance. Livestock is central to the family economy and is used for food, transportation, ploughing, and creating an income. The biggest threats to livestock are low rainfall patterns and disease, and these regular occurrences have subsequently provoked a shift from nomadic pastoralist to agro-pastoralist life. This has increased pres-sure on water sources and other basic services.

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Our Project

Although we’re very excited that the rains have finally come to Siti zone, it gave us many obstacles on our May field trip. Mud,...

External factors

The general living conditions in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia are heavily dependent on annual rains. For example, animal health is directly linked to the availability of good quality water and feed, which in its turn is dependent on sufficient rainfall to store water and irrigate crops. The rains are incredibly unpredictable and it is possible that certain pockets of land will receive very little precipitation, while other parts will receive a normal amount, or even risk flooding (see diverse rain coverage below). This creates different external factors for each of the ACPA project sites which need to be taken into account when planning, implementing, and monitoring the projects. In 2014, Siti zone received good rains in July, but below average towards the end of the year, Fafan zone experienced below-average rainfall throughout the year, and Liben zone received above-average rainfall towards the end of the year, bring-ing relief to many areas that had received little rain before.