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Laying foundation of development (Part I)

The enemy had denied the Eritrean people from freely working for their development and prosperity. It had been destroying every thing that it thought will help for development endeavors. The EPLF was working hard and struggle for not only to fighting the enemy with a barrel of a gun but also to rebuilding what the enemy destroyed and engaging in new development endeavors. The situation was that the EPLF rebuilds while the enemy continues to destroy. The EPLF worked tirelessly, parallel to the armed struggle, to lay the foundation for development so that the Eritrean people come out of poverty, diseases and illiteracy. And that was the basic objective of the struggle to enable our people gets freedom, social justice and prosperity.

During this stage the EPLF continued the distribution of land it started before the strategic withdrawal. Many poor farmers and women ensured their rights of land ownership. Oxen and other agricultural production materials were distributed to enable them solve their livelihood through their labor. From 1976 to 1982 alone 50 thousand households from 167 villages received land. One third of these received after the strategic withdrawal. Land dispute settlements between villages were also conducted.

Water wells were drilled to alleviate the water problem due to drought. Micro-dams were also built. Training programs were also conducted to increase the knowledge of farmers on agricultural activities. Training was also being provided on animal husbandry.

Different cooperatives were flourished to develop the already existing culture of the people working in cooperation and helping each other. These cooperatives worked for the benefit of the people organized in associations and on village levels. Agricultural cooperatives were especially increasing. In 1983 around 232 agricultural cooperatives were established in five regions. People’s shops were providing basic food and household items to the people. There were also other cooperatives flourishing such as loan provision, handicraft, mill services, and others. Even though these cooperatives were not doing their expectation to the level of their capacity due to the enemy movements and drought they taught the people good experience on the importance of helping each other and working in cooperation. And they were the good examples for the foundation of self-reliance.

The liberated areas of the country were interlinked with roads. The roads contributed a lot in facilitating the activities of the liberation struggle and the people. Transportation facilities, though with limited capacity, started to provide services. Effort was also made to encourage merchants to provide transportation services with their vehicles. In the liberated areas many institutions that satisfied basic demands of the EPLF and of the people that could be the foundations for later activities of nation building were established and flourished during that time. The major establishments were the pharmaceutical and other clinical factory, shoes, spare parts of vehicles, wood products and food items, etc. All these were made through internal capacity. 

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