The settlement of Somali nomads.

A. O. Tsui, T. A. Ragsdale, A. I. Shirwa

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Abstract

During the April 1973-June 1975 drought in Somalia, the government settled 100,000 nomads over 5 years in 3 agricultural (Dujuma, Sablaale, and Kurtunwary) and 3 fishing settlements (Brava, Adale, and Eil). They had earlier sought relief from the drought at some 20 relief camps. In 1982, the Ministry of National Planning and the Settlement Development Agency conducted a household survey in 4 of the 6 settlements (2059 households). Considerable problems occurred during the survey thus the data must be interpreted with caution. Nevertheless this survey provided 1 of the few sources on nomadic settlement conditions. 47.5% of the population in the settlement areas were children 15 years old. Fewer middle aged men than women lived in the settlement areas (9% vs. 22%). Males tended to be more literate and/or in school than females (74% vs. 50% and 64% vs. 43% respectively). Despite the disparity, the researchers found these proportions considerable and encouraging. Women headed many households (47.25%), especially in Adale (61%). Presumedly many of the husbands returned to their pastoral ways. Other adult relatives and older children often lived in women headed households and provided support for farming, fishing, and other economic activities. Most respondents were satisfied with settled life and felt it would be permanent. Further 70-90% of respondents wanted their sons and daughters to be civil servants while 0-8% wanted them to be herders. 78-87% of respondents lost all livestock during the drought while only 2-10% acquired livestock after the drought. Since livestock provided considerable wealth in relation to incomes from agriculture and fishing and since nomads tended to be inexperienced in these new occupants, they underwent an extreme adjustment to settled life. In conclusion, the resettlement program had mixed successes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-150
Number of pages20
JournalGenus
Volume47
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography

Cite this

Tsui, A. O., Ragsdale, T. A., & Shirwa, A. I. (1991). The settlement of Somali nomads. Genus, 47(1-2), 131-150.