Mapping population mobility in a remote context: health service planning in Whantoa district, Western Ethiopia

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    Humanitarian organizations must understand both the geographical and social environments in which they operate in order to maximize the impact of their interventions. This paper describes how seasonal population movements of the GaagwangNuer, semi-nomadic pastoralists of western Ethiopia, were mapped. An understanding of these seasonal movements was requisite to the inception of a medical humanitarian program in western Ethiopia in 2010. A participatory approach using qualitative methods was used to investigate three interrelated aspects of Gaagwang Nuer society: population mobility, kinship structure, and agricultural and pastoral activities. In this study, we combined geography with anthropological frameworks to develop an operational base for the provision of health care in a remote setting inhabited by nomadic pastoralists. Our research demonstrates that nomadic migrations are generally predictable, which is conducive to health care planning and service delivery. This methodology may have applications in planning services for other nomadic pastoralist societies.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalThe Journal of Humanitarian Assistance
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2015


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