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Government assistance

Government assistance in some areas – such as food aid – is acknowledged, but generally people feel the state could do much more to help them, especially over the issue of access to land. Ibrahim, like others, reports that though they objected to the “unjust decision” over the reallocation of land “we have not yet got the justice we sought… Government is a mighty power. We can’t quarrel with it…”

Huqa says the government has made “no great effort” to solve the water shortage problem – it sent engineers to drill for water but they abandoned the work after hitting a rock. Iyya says various experts have told them there is water nearby, but none has been found.

Ibrahim mentions that under the Dergue there was an “animal project” called SORDU, which provided medicines at reasonable prices; the current government has put it under the Ministry of Agriculture, which appears to be less popular. “We asked to have the service rendered to us like in the past, but we got no response,” he says.

remarks that the government is “as important as God” – yet, he says, the food aid it provides is insufficient and, anyway, it is only temporary relief and cannot bring about a “fundamental difference”.


Government assistance is a key theme of the Desert voices: Ethiopia oral testimony project.


Arima: punishment from God

Chuqulisa: love is lacking

Diramo: tied to our cattle

Duba: solutions to problems

Gurracha: conflict devastated it

Huqa: pleasure from family

Ibrahim: the crazy heat

Iyya: conserving the forest

Loko: farming from necessity

Rufo: goodbye to farmland

Key themes

Introduction to the project




Food security




Social institutions

Government assistance