Foro sub-zone, which was riddled with challenges during the colonial times, has been a site of development activities. This is just one example of the development ventures throughout the country. So, having a glimpse at Foro sub-zone is just sharing a visible picture about the endeavours being made to improve the living standards of all nationals.
Being one of the 10 sub-zones of the Northern Red Sea Region, Foro sub-zone borders Massawa to the north, Gelalo sub-zone to the southern east, Ghinda’e sub-zone to the northern west and the Southern region to the west. The total area of the sub-zone is 2,770 square km that are grouped in 15 administrative areas and has a total population of 44,000.
Most of the residents, 89%, of the sub-zone are farmers and pastoralists while 11% live on fishing and trade. The sub-zone is home to five ethnic groups: Saho, Tigre, Afar, Tigrinya and Rashyda. What is more, the historic site of Adulis, Erafayle’s hot spring and amazing remnants of volcanic eruptions are some of the assets of the sub-zone.
A strategic Egila-Foro road is the best example of the efforts that are being exerted to connect all areas of the country with viable roads and transportation systems.
The sub-zone has an even distribution of schools in 14 of its 15 administrative areas. Apart from kindergartens, the sub-zone has 40 schools ranging from primary to secondary that have been serving 4,000 students, 33% of whom are girls.
Although schools have been built in remote parts of the sub-zone, enrolment has been few. “Even though promising outcome has been registered, nomadic lifestyle has been the main challenge. The number of students attending schools has been few compared to the availability of schools,” said Mr. Osman Arafa, Administrator of Foro sub-zone.
Also, according to Mr. Osman, some students have not been able to pursue their junior schools due to lack of such facilities in their vicinity. To alleviate such challenges a boarding school needs to be established in the areas where such problems are prevalent.
Literacy program for adults has been introduced with the opening of new schools in different parts of the sub-zone. Currently there are 42 centres of adult education. The Ministry of Education has been playing an instrumental role in educating adults and in facilitating the program.
The provision of healthcare service in the sub-zone is commendable. Healthcare facilities in Foro, Robrobia, Erafayle, Lehazien and a newly constructed healthcare centre in Emule have been providing effective service. There is also a plan for the opening of a new healthcare facility in Mahfide. The residents of Diot and Dag’a will soon become beneficiaries of the expansion of healthcare services.
People who live in the sub zone are aware of the benefits of healthcare services and collaborate with healthcare professionals. Maternity service has improved with more mothers attending prenatal and postnatal services.
The role of healthcare professionals in raising awareness of people about various healthcare issues has been highly instrumental. Health workers have been travelling to the remote parts of the sub-zone to give vaccination. As a result, there was 98% immunization coverage in 2019.
The sub-zone has registered remarkable progress in environmental hygiene, Mr. Osman said. Environmental protection has been carried out at community level. Encouraging outcome has also been registered in the eradication of FGM and other harmful practices that affect women’s health.
Transport service has been one of the major developments in the sub-zone. Residents have been benefiting from ample services being provided via Masswa-Assab and Foro-Adi-Keyih routes. Other commercially strategic roads include Foro-Zula, Foro-Malka, Foro-Aligede and Foro-Robrobia.
The areas along Massawa-Foro and Adi-Keyih-Omarkabre routes have regular transportation service while the other areas have weekly services on market days.
The residents of the sub-zone also benefit from telecommunications service that has been provided in most areas that are equipped with such facilities. Solar powered public telephones have been installed in Foro semi-urban centre. CDMA service has also been provided in some areas. “I am very optimistic that expansion of telecommunication services to the remote areas will be implemented as soon as possible,” Mr. Osman said.
The residents of Kumhule, Mahfid, Arebto, Ruba-Hadas, Dnango, Gebgeb-Wasana and some parts of Ayromale and Malka administrative areas are dependent of streaming water for their day-to-day activities. Villages situated on plain land — Robrobia, Gereleinde, Lehazien, Afta, Zula, Kadra, Erafayle and Ayromale — have access to potable water from the solar-powered distribution facilities.
Soil and water conservation activities have been carried out to enrich underground water resources in some areas. Water dams have also been constructed. Farmers in Foro sub-zone grow maize, sorghum some fruits and vegetables. The sub-zone has a total of 8,300 hectares of farm land that depend on seasonal highland and lowland rainfall. Wegenbo farm area is the bread basket of the sub-zone.
The soil and water conservation activities that have been carried out in the sub-zone include the construction of terraces, micro-dams and water reservoir tanks.
The sub-zone is also endowed with varied species of wild life including Ostrich, wild Ass and antelope.
Mr. Osman advises the residents of the sub-zone to make maximum use of the marine resources, particularly those who live around the coastal areas. Regrouping of villages giving utmost focus to the nomads living in scattered areas needs to be advanced to enable them have easy access to social services and facilities in the sub-zone.