Goluj: Land of Plenty Resources and Opportunities
Goluj sub-zone is one of the biggest sub-zones in the Gash- Barka region. It borders Ethiopia to the south and Sudan to the west and has a population of 180,000 who are mostly farmers and pastoralists.
Out of the sub-zone’s over 506,000 hectares of arable land, 100,000 hectares are used as farmland. But the sub-zone, in general, and the Gash-Barka region, in particular, is still the bread basket of the country. The sub-zone is also known for its abundant number of livestock.
Goluj sub-zone is endowed with ample natural resources of underground and surface water. Its vast and fertile agricultural area coupled with its abundant water resources make it suitable for agro-industrial activities. The vast grazing land during the rainy seasons makes this sub-zone a livestock heaven. The sight of flocks of sheep around river banks and along road sides is testimony to the abundance of such resources.
The sub-zone has two big dams and 15 micro-dams. A total of 12 major grazing lands have been making a difference in augmenting the number of livestock. Soil and water conservation activities have also been carried out through popular campaign in Omhajer, Kacthero, Gerset, Ingula, Ayterif, Ashagala and other areas of the sub-zone.
Abundant rainfall in 2019 created a favorable condition for mosquito breeding, which caused Malaria in different areas of the sub-zone, particularly in Omhajer. But the unremitting efforts by the inhabitants of the sub-zone and members of defense forces helped tackle the challenges. They all played a major role in leveling paddles and eliminating mosquito breeding areas. Sanitation activities have also been carried out once a week to alleviate the problem.
Healthcare facilities in Goluj, Omhajer, Gergef, Mongula, Ashagala and Gerset are rendering commendable service to the residents of the areas. Mobile healthcare services have also been given to people in remote areas. In his regard, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has been playing significant role in providing efficient services to the remote areas of the sub-zone.
Maternity service has been remarkably improved in the sub-zone. A maternity waiting center has been built through a popular campaign. This center will be soon inaugurated to offer service.
According to Mr. Desie Zeremichael, Administrator of Golug sub-zone, the active engagement of MoH has been instrumental in bringing timely solutions in addressing healthcare related challenges at a community level.
Villages and semi-urban centers in the sub-zone have been constructing toilets in line with the efforts being made to improve environmental protection activities. This task will continue in an enhanced manner in 2020 and 2021, Mr. Desie elaborated.
As regards transportation service, Mr. Desie said a regular service has been offered in the main Tesenai-Omhajer route. But other areas of the sub-zone in the suburbs have not yet become beneficiaries of such services. Bdho Construction Company has been providing efficient service in the renovation and expansion of roads linking Tesenai and Omajer.
Goluj sub-zone has plenty of underground water. Samunaite in particular is known for such a resource. Once viable infrastructure is provided, the sub-zone will not have any deficit of water. Mr. Desie added that lack of electric supply has been the reason for the deficit of potable water in different areas of the sub-zone.
Bademit Dam has been a source of water for livestock. Livestock in the sub-zone has been increasing due to the construction of water reservoirs in different areas of the sub-zone.
All 16 administrative areas in Golug sub-zone have schools, ranging from primary to secondary school. The administration of the sub-zone, along with partners, has been conducting awareness raising campaigns to increase girls’ enrollment in schools.
Livestock is the major resource of the subzone, and Mr. Desie said that around 500,000 livestock are currently available. Abundant rain in 2019 was highly favorable in augmenting the number of livestock. The water reservoirs and vast grazing land are sufficient enough not only for the livestock in the sub-zone but for livestock that migrate from different areas of the country in search of animal feed.
Since Goluj sub-zone is endowed with big number of livestock, veterinary service has been a major priority. All parties in the sub-zone actively engage in providing veterinary services. The MoH has been playing remarkable role in implementing vaccination programs. As this sub-zone border with neighboring countries, veterinary service to prevent trans-boundary infections is a regular task.
Sorghum, sesame and millet are the grains commonly cultivated in the sub-zone. The resources of this zone have not yet been fully harnessed but have the potential to ensure food and livestock security of the country. The sub-zone is a land of plenty resources and an ample opportunity
Like in different areas of the Gash-Barka region such as Tesenai, the residents of Goluj are known for their deep rooted culture of cooperation and acts of benevolence. Mr. Desie noted that the culture of cooperation in all its aspects is inherent among the residents of the area. Noble societal values, ample agricultural resources and nature’s benevolence are the hallmarks of the sub-zone.