Pastoralist representatives gathered from across Ethiopia’s Afar Region in North-Eastern Ethiopia in late October 2008. The inaugural meeting of the newly established Afar Pastoralists Council took place near Awash, in the south or the region, in a tented camp. Board members introduced the new council, set up in September 2008, to the gathering and discussions were held on its aims, objectives and set-up. The Council was given resounding support and requested to hold meetings in all the zones of Afar Region in order for more people to learn about the new Council and to discuss their aims. These zonal meetings will also give an opportunity for the Council to increase its membership and board.
The meeting went on to look at the major objectives of the council. The council has been set up as a means for Afar pastoralists to raise their voices both on a regional, national and international stage. The council plans to work on creating peace on Afar’s borders as a priority. This was discussed at length during the event.
The Oromia Pastoralists Association and the Somali Pastoralists Council sent representatives to the meeting, with the Oromia Pastoralists Associations providing technical advice and sharing their experiences of setting up their own organisation.
The Afar Pastoralist Council is also working with the Somali Pastoralist Council on the long-running Afar-Issa conflict on the border between the two regions.
Members of the federal and regional parliaments and the Afar Regional and Zonal Administrations also attended the event, which was supported by the UK DFID’s Democracy, Growth and Peace for Pastoralists project.