"ADDIS ABABA — Indigenous communities in the Lower Omo River Valley of
southwestern Ethiopia have taken ownership and management responsibilities of
what is now Ethiopia’s largest community conservation area, the Tama Community
Conservation Area (TCCA).
Located in a woody savanna, the development follows the regional government of
the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) signing the
conservation area into law earlier this year.
This legislation aims to ensure the sustainable use and preservation of Tama’s
ecological and cultural heritage by entrusting this duty to the Indigenous
communities. The region has seen the construction of the Gilgel Gibe III Dam
and the establishment of sugar cane plantations that brought about significant
environmental and social impacts, including loss of traditional livelihoods and
starvation, according to a report by the think tank Oakland Institute.
The conservation area spans 197,000 hectares (486,000 acres) of vital corridor
land between two national parks in Ethiopia and serves as a habitat for a rich
variety of wildlife from Somali giraffes (Giraffa reticulata
), African bush
elephants (Loxodonta africana
) and lions (Panthera leo
) to De Brazza’s
monkeys (Cercopithecus neglectus
), Lelwel hartebeests (Alcelaphus buselaphus
) and the endemic black-winged lovebird (Agapornis taranta
The area is inhabited by the Mursi, Bodi, Northern Kwegu and Ari communities
who are largely agriculturalists and pastoralists with rich heritage and
culture. The groups have resided there for centuries, but some people have come
to the region after being displaced by the dam.
According to Barkede Kulumedere, a member of the Mursi community, Tama, which
was previously a wildlife reserve, has not yielded any tangible benefits for
them, and inadequate protection measures have failed to preserve the area. The
reserve was supposed to bar human activities, but enforcements were never
“I was 12 years old when the advocacy for turning Tama into a community
conservation area began,” said Barkede, now 26-years-old. “The granting of land
within the conservation area to investors, establishing settlements and the
negative impacts of the Kuraz Sugar Development Project in neighboring areas
were issues that inspired the call for action.”
The new conservation area will be managed by a community council comprising
members from the Indigenous communities.
The illegal hunting of animals, deforestation and use of the land for farming
and grazing without approval from the community council are among the
activities banned in the TCCA."
Via Future Crunch
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics