Construction of the Geluj pastoralist center in Gash Barka Western Eritrea
PENHA and NUEYS (the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students) have worked on a programme to empower pastoralists in the Western Lowlands of Eritrea since 2003. During a regional pastoralist workshop, pastoralist forum members expressed the view that they urgently needed a centre where they could gather, organise themselves and continue a variety of activities and training to foster their development. This initiated the development of pastoralist forums in Eritrea.
Establishment of Pastoralist Forums
Three pastoralist forums were set up in Western Lowlands - in the three project sites (Shambuko, Geluj, Forto-Sawa) between 2004 and 2006. By the end of the Oxfam NOVIB funded porject, over 120 pastoralists of which are 50 % women were participating. They have been trained in educational programmes and leather processing skills enabling them to generate small income. The project also included an awareness rising programme to advocate for the needs and concerns of Eritrean pastoralists within Eritrea.
Development of the Goluj Pastoralist Centre in Western Lowlands of Eritrea
Following on the meeting in 2003, PENHA and NUEYS have pursued the aim of getting a building for pastoralists in Geluz. After several meetings and discussions the administration in Geluj donated a plot of land and gave permission to build the pastoralist centre. The funds were provided by ICCO from the Netherlands. The compound wall with a gate were built as the first stage and the official hand over from the contractors to PENHA-NUEYS took place in October 2009. It is planned that the centre should foremost be a place of active participation and production with storage facilities, equipment etc.
A committee (with about 40 members) was set up formally by pastoralists and local policy makers. It consists of representatives from all villages within the sub-region of Geluj. The committee will be responsible for the centre, which can be used by all pastoralists living in and visiting the area.