Expanding at 1660 sq. kilometers, HaiKota is the sub-zone located in the Gash-Barka region which possesses rich natural habitat in the western lowlands. Here is a translated short interview Hadas Eritrea conducted with the Administrator of the sub-zone, Mr. Shekedin Salh regarding the socio-economic development of the sub-zone over the years.
- Mr. Shekedin, what can you tell us about the Sub-zone of HaiKota?
Being one of the 16 subzones of the Gash-Barka region, HaiKota is surrounded by the sub-zones of Tessennai on the west, Gogne on the east, Laelay-Gash on the south, and Forto-Sawa on the north. It’s populated with 11,658 families extended in 12 administration areas scattered over 93 villages where most of its community relay on agriculture, cattle herding, and commercial activities. This Sub-zone extends 1660 square kilometers of vast areas with different topography including mountainous valleys, rivers, and ridges alongside its richness in diverse trees, domestic and wild animals. As a matter of fact, the large River Gash flows through the sub-zone. Our sub-zone includes around 50 farming plantations that cultivates vegetables, fruits, and cash crops. Also, we have a vast area of enclosure preserved for wildlife and forestry.
With a lowland climate, this sub-zone possesses a good weather, where we consider the hottest season is the spring season for us.
- How do assess the Health Care Services in the sub-zone?
Before the independence, the community here used to face many problems in accessing health services. That is history now. Our sub-zone has three health clinics, a Health Center and a new Community Hospital which is ready to start giving service at any moment now. Even though the area covers some remote parts, with the rigorous awareness campaigns accomplished in the last several years, inhabitants of the sub-zone frequently visit these health facilities. Hence outstanding achievements have been registered in the health sector and especially in mother and child care and prenatal and neonatal care.
- How about potable water and transportation services?
Services that provide clean water have been established in every administration areas. Most of these water services run through solar power that signifies the potential of solar energy in this sub-zone in which not only to use in water projects but also in other sectors.
Speaking of the transportation service, before independence the inhabitants of these areas were having so many problems. But now roads connecting the different administration areas have been constructed that help the socio-economic of these areas to boost.
- What about Education?
Similar to the health services, almost there were a number of schools in the sub-zone before Independence. However after Independence, we have 21 schools; five preschools, six Elementary, eight Elementary and junior, two junior and high school, and a high school. In addition, our sub-zone provides education for students who didn’t get to go to Scholl early, students aged from 9 to 15 to get the opportunity they lost when they were young. Not only that, adult education has registered satisfactory results in our sub-zone.
Enrollment of students at all levels is now satisfying. But still, we are conducting awareness-raising campaigns in adult education and female participation.
- What are the measures your administration takes in preservation of forestry and wild animals?
HaiKota includes various green areas across it, and we have a strict preservation policy. The second vast area of the enclosure is located in our sub-zone. Preserving these forestry areas should be every individual’s work, and we conduct awareness-raising campaigns, seminars and engage every village to participate in afforestation activities.
The Sub-zone is also rich with domestic animals such as; cattle’s and especially camels. And I mentioned, we have an enclosure place for wild animals especially for elephants on the edges of River Gash. Different wild animals inhabit this sub-zone with diversified species of birds.
- What makes HaiKota sub-zone remarkable?
Here in the sub-zone, we have some of the country’s biggest factories and institutions; Banatom-banana and tomato processing factory, Foam factory, Crops and Livestock Corporation, fish farming dam… etc are located here. Those factories and institutions employ many nationals from the sub-zone and thus, are great input in the economy. This can be one of the few things that can make this sub-zone stand out. On top of all this, one of the pioneers of the Eritrean armed struggle, Hamid Idris Awate is from this place and his monument stands here in HaiKota.