The People

/The People
The People 2016-08-28T16:34:22+00:00

Kenya - Turkana

The Turkana people are by tradition nomadic shepherds. However, various events have forced changes to this nomadic lifestyle over recent decades and more people are currently adopting a semi-nomadic way of life. The traditional diet of the Turkana people consists of milk, blood and meat from their herds of sheep, goats, donkeys, cows and camels. Occasionally, they also feed on wild fruits, and those who live by the shore of Lake Turkana depend a great deal on fishing.

Drought is a common occurrence in Turkana. In times of particularly severe drought, the toll on livestock is very heavy, and the effect on conditions of day-to-day life for the human population is severe. Because surface precipitation is unreliable, the development agencies and the government have for several decades been working towards exploiting subterranean sources of water through boreholes and shallow wells. More recently, the developments of rock catchment dams have been carried out by the MCSPA in the north-eastern region of Turkana District. The advantage of these rock catchment dams has been the trapping of surface run-off water while replenishing subterranean water table.

The level of isolation and of poverty that the people of Turkana face affects the whole population and especially the most vulnerable groups; these are women, children and elders. On top of this, the lack of water and the shortage of resources, the scarce levels of education, the ignorance towards agriculture like an alternative to what they now eat, ignorance in basic health and prevention of diseases, all of this generates difficult living conditions for the population.

Due to the remoteness, difficult accessibility and insecurity of this vast region, pastoralist communities have remained marginalised and excluded from any kind of human development up to the present time. Due to the scarcity of rains they feel forced to wander around vast territories with their animals. They then engage in cattle raids against their neighbours, especially the youth who wish to pay the dowry of livestock in order to marry … and they receive assaults from their neighbours in return! With the introduction of mobile clinics and nursery schools by the missionaries, the weaker inhabitants settle around water points, and the men continue to move around grazing their livestock.


Ethiopia, North Shoa

Founded in the days of the Emperor Haile Selassie, Muketuri, meaning “reconciliation tree” in the Oromo language, is linked to the capital by a paved road that runs from Addis Ababa to Bahar Dar, 78km far to the northwest.

North Shoa region is one of the areas considered to be food insecure in Ethiopia. Despite being located only 78 km from the capital, Muketuri and surrounding villages form part of a rural area where most of the country’s population live, and where accessibility to services and communications is minimal.

The situation of malnutrition makes the physical and psychical growth of children difficult

Ethiopia (children)-7993

Ethiopia, Angar Guten

People of different ethnic groups from different parts of Ethiopia live in the Valley. The main groups are the Amharas, Tigray, Oromo and Gumuz. The Amharas and Tigray arrived from the north of the country. They were displaced from their land due to drought and the civil war, and moved to the Valley.

The Oromo and Gumuz are the indigenous groups and share the land with the people from the north. However, they have stayed away from the process of development, especially the Gumuz, who have always been marginalized by the rest of the population.

Angar Guten’s population build their own houses using wood from eucalyptus as a base. To complete the building of the walls they use adobe and to cover the roof, dry pieces of wood and grass. The great majority of houses have only one room where the whole family sleeps. During the day, activities take place outside the house.

Agriculture is the main source of income of Angar Guten population, together with animal husbandry (cows, sheep and goats).

Ethiopia-Mizan Teferi (People)

Ethiopia, Bench-Maji

The main ethnic groups are the Bench, Disi, Surma and Meinit. People live from livestock and agriculture (maize, sorgum and coffee). Part of the population is concentrated in settlements and others are scattered at remote and inaccessible places. Every 7 village has a government health post run by a health assistant. The Bench District covers an area of 1,807 sq. km. Mizan Teferi has a population of 20,400, while Gacheb has a population of 5,500 people. The homes of the people are made of mud, wood and straw, with only one room. There is no drainage system and the water from the houses is stagnant, making it a source of infections.


The main ethnic group living at the area is the Bench Maji, who depend on cattle, sheep, goats and agriculture. Most of them are peasants even though agriculture is limited to the rainy season, with only one harvest a year. Teff (local crop) and godere are planted in the area, giving rise to poor nourishment that affects the nutritional level of the inhabitants.


Ethiopia - Nyangatom

The area is inhabited by the Nyangatom tribe, who have a Nilo-Hamitic origin just like the Turkana of Kenya, the Toposa of South Sudan and Uganda’s Karamojong and Jie tribes, with whom they share a common language and culture. Their original name was Nyam-etom, which means “elephants eaters”, but it can also mean “yellow guns” a name more in line with the surrounding violent reality affected by the intertribal conflict. This society is divided into clans and generations with only two classes – parents and children – named after animals: the stork, ibis, buffalo etc. The Nyangatom are agro-pastoralists, i.e. they combine livestock herding with sorghum farming during the wet season. Most of the Nyangatom still cling to the traditional way of life. Due to the decline of water and pasture in the area, many are forced to migrate two or more times a year. Thus, during the dry season they inhabit the mountainous slopes, and in the rain season they move down to the plains where they plant sorghum. The problems affecting the Nyangatom are numerous; the most severe is inaccessibility to water, health, education and transportation, and insecurity.


Malawi, Chewa

The autochthonous ethnic group in Malawi are the Chewa people who may have derived from groups that migrated from the Congo rainforest and gave rise to the Maravi Empire in the 15th-century, which extended from the southwestern shores of Lake Malawi to the north. In the 16th-century, they traded with the Portuguese. Its decline came in the 19th-century with the invasion of the Angoni from the Natal region in modern-day South Africa. The second group to come were the Ayao from modern-day Mozambique. Swahili traders came with the Ayao in search of slaves.

In the late 19th-century, British missionaries like Livingstone settled in the area, which soon became part of British Central Africa Protectorate. In 1907 it became Nyasaland protectorate and later part of the federation constituted by North, South Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Nowadays Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi respectively).

South Sudan (People)

South Sudan, Azande

The Diocese of Tombura-Yambio and indeed South Sudan at large, is emerging from the tragedies of almost 50 years of civil war and of terror caused by armed groups such as the LRA. Tombura-Yambio Diocese has therefore had a long history of negative experiences. There is 80% illiteracy and between 30-40% infant mortality rate. Yubu is located in Western Equatoria State bordering the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The people living there are the Azande tribe. They are Bantu and physically look different from other tribes in South Sudan. 98% of the Azande embrace the Catholic faith. They practice farming, hunting and gathering since the region lies within the tropical equatorial forest.