Differential Adaptation and Inter-Ethnic Interaction:The Resettlement of Konso Farmers in the Land of the Bodi Agro-Pastoralists,Southwest Ethiopia

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The "Salamago Resettlement Scheme" is one of the several state-sponsored resettlement schemes undertaken by the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State (SNNPRS) since 2003. In government documents, the scheme is also called "Guyo-Dakuba Resettlement," named after one of the six resettlement villages (the administrative center) established by the program. However, I have chosen to call it "Salamago resettlement" after the name of the host woreda (district). I preferred to use "Salamago" since it is more official and well-known name in the area. The study has tried to show that the Salamago Resettlement is underway having some positive features but riddled with a series of setbacks and replete with a host of problems. The existence of a significant number of self-motivated and determined resettlers is an important advantage of the scheme. The resettlers who belong to the hard working community of the Konso ethnic group are also famous for their traditional soil conservation system (terracing). Moreover, the sanction of the free movement of resettlers coupled with the proximity between the resettlement area and their area of origin enabled them to maintain their contact with their area of origin. This is, of course, one of the distinct features of the present resettlement program (from Salamago resettlement perspectives) from the past (military regime) resettlement experience. The suitability of the area for human habitation is also another important advantage of the area. The above positive aspects of Salamago Resettlement shows that the scheme could have a better prospects if it would have been supported by proper feasibility study, practically observed criteria for selection of resettlers, sound planning and adequate inputs. In actual fact, however, similar to past resettlement experience in the country, the scheme has suffered from rushed out feasibility study, poorly observed selection criteria, unsound planning and inadequate inputs. As a result, deadly conflicts between resettlers and host communities are occurred. Moreover, large number of resettlers, 756 heads households out of a total of 2897 heads of households, which is about 26 percent, abandoned the resettlement area in the last 20 months following their arrival in January 2004.



Resettlement, Resettlers, Host Communities, Departure, The Bodi, The Konso