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The 2007 Ethiopian census gave a population count of 1,390,273 for Afar Administrative Region for November 2007. Of these
185,135 (13.3%) were urban residents. [1] (See Table 1 also). The census was conducted in the month of November 6 months after the
census count in the rest of the country. The breakdown by gender (775,117 males vs. 615,156 females) either stands out as a glaring
example of data errors that produced highly lopsided numbers by sex, or suggests a troubling scenario of a harsh survival environment
for female members of the population. The numbers suggest a very high sex ratio of 126 (males per 100 females) (see Table 1) often
found among populations who have suffered a level of societal disruption such as excessive gender-specific mortality affecting
predominantly women and girls, or excessive gender-specific migration involving mostly women and girls. There are no studies
suggesting disproportionately female out-migrations from the Afar Administration Region, thus leaving us to ponder whether data
error or the force of mortality (or a combination of both) may explain this curious finding. We will pursue this point later.

The Afar live in the three neighboring Horn-of-Africa countries - Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti - and are variously described as
fearless, tough, aggressive, territorial etc, all in the spirit of highlighting the tireless adherence of the Afar to a pastoral
tradition handed down by successive generations, and a devotion to the defense of a way of life in a forbiddingly hostile homeland.
Here is how Virginia Morrel, on assignment for the National Geographic magazine described them [2]:

The desert may have struck me as hellish, but for them it was their gift from Allahland and grass and water that gave them life and
that they, in turn, would lay down their lives for. And, indeed, young Afar men were dying for it regularly; we heard of battles and
killings throughout our six-week stay in the desert. Strength of mind and body were really all anyone required for survival in the
desert. For them it was perfectly natural to live in a land of firebrick-red and black stones, where it hadn't rained in over a year,
where every Afar had lost most of his camels because of the severe drought, and where any living green thing popped out at you like
the Hope Diamond. There was really nothing to it, except that you must be brave and you must fight. "In our history we have always
been fighters," Edris said one afternoon, joining in Ma'ar's discussion. "We live in the desert, and because it's a hard land, we must
fight, even though killing is against the law of Allah. And when we fight, we use whatever we have: guns and knives, rocks and sticks.
We will even bite with our teeth. You use everything when you fight against your enemies."

"We are the people who move," one woman said. "From the beginning that has been our way." Nor is there really any other way to
survive in Afar Land, or Cafar-barro as the Afar call it, particularly if you depend on a diet of camel and goat milk as they do. Less
than seven inches of rain falls each year in the Danakil, often in a sporadic manner, and the only fertile soil lies far to the south of the
Lake Asele salt mines, along the Awash River, one of the unusual rivers on Earth that never make it to the sea. It sinks instead into
another salt lake on the Ethiopian-Djibouti border. Aside from the garden strip of the Awash, the rest of the desert is as dry and sterile
as a Martian plain.

The total number of the Afar (the combined population in all three countries) is estimated at 2 million, of which two-thirds live in
Ethiopia. They are almost entirely Muslim. Their native language is Afaraf, which is of Cushitic origin. Though the Afar are divided
by the borders of the three countries, they maintain close physical contact, strong sentiments of kinship, and an inclusive Afar
Wereda Map of Afar
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identity [3,] This quote comes from the work by Tadesse Berhe, a retired Brigadier General, and Yonas Adaye of AAU. The authors
deal with the contentious history of the Horn of Africa in general and the simmering role of Afar grievances as a contributory factor,
and at times a catalyst for the numerous sub-regional conflicts of the past, and possibly, of newer conflicts in the future. They cite as
the main sources of instability the Affar-Issa rivalry, the struggle for power between political parties, and inter-clan conflict over
resources. These, the authors say are exacerbated by misguided and externally imposed development strategies, the militarization
of the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia and decline of traditional values and dispute settlement mechanisms .They also document
the contradictions between the aspirations of the Afar to join together as one people, and the regional governments - Ethiopia, Eritrea
and Djibouti efforts to maintain national unity. They also described the geographical characteristics of the region:

Much of the region is dry and rocky, unsuitable for cultivation. Out of the total area of the region (estimated at 97,250km2) cultivated
and arable land constitutes 5.24%, forest 1.54%, bush and shrub 18.62%, grassland 1.56%, marshy land 2.74%, water bodies 0.63%,
and degraded and rocky land 63.7. The regions altitude ranges from a maximum of 1500m above sea level to a minimum of 166m
below sea level. Temperature varies from 25C during the wet season to 48C during the dry season. Rainfall is erratic and scarce, and
annual precipitation ranges from 200mm to 600mm. The region is frequently exposed to persistent droughts and is classified as one of
the drought-affected regions in Ethiopia.

The Afar have a traditional system of leadership sultanates which persist to this day as the main organizing force with strong
traditional following [3].

the Tajurah sultanate (the Berhanto Derder sultan) centred in Djibouti;
Rahayto sultanate (the Danki Derder sultan) along the border of Ethiopia
and Djibouti;
Aussa sultanate (the fiefdom of sultan Ali Mrah) centred at Assaita;
Grifo sultanate centred at Bilu along the border of Ethiopia and Eritrea; and
Gobaad sultanate in zone three (Gewane) of the Afar Region.4

A recent working paper on gender issues in the Afar region [4] noted the following:

The life expectancy among women (47 years) is far less than that of males (53 years) adding to the concern above that the highly
masculine sex ratio of 126 males (per 100 females) might be the result of excess female mortality. This is the reverse of the common
finding, all around the world, of a higher female than male life expectancy.

Intervention by the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), founded in 1974, is helping make a difference. It began by
intervening in primary health and quickly added the twin component of Afar literacy/ non-formal education to enable the pastoralists
to be masters of their own development.

The issues were:

a) From the community

- Lack of female employment outside of the home or community settings
- Girls were discouraged from going to school for fear that they would refuse traditional (arranged) marriages;
- Widespread illiteracy meant that the Afar continue to practice in perpetuity most of the harmful traditions such as female genital
mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, blood-letting, and so on handed down from previous generations .

b) From the government

- Suspicion of the aims of government programs implemented without sufficient community comments or inputs.
- The Government also feared APDA was involved in disruptive political activities.
- The government had limited understanding of pastoral development needs since their experts were non-Afar. Most of the
government authorities had limited education and training
- Woreda and kebele officials were illiterate and not fully knowledgeable about project objectives.

- Impacts and results

a) Use of soap, mosquito nets, iron rich grain has improved health
b) Use of trained traditional birth attendants (TBA)s and the introduction of antenatal and postnatal check-ups has lowered maternal
c) Practice of FGM has declined slightly;
d) All 420 APDA trained TBAs agreed to help stop FGM;
e) Women are becoming more vocal on marriage issues

A 2011 anthological study by Kelemework Tafere Reda of Mekele University [3a] revealed the following important facts about the social
organization and cultural institutions of the Afar:

- The Afar have a clan (mela) -based patrilineal social system .
- Their settlements are typical a mixture of clans with distinctly identifiable clan affinities which makes it to organize social, economic and
political support groups in times of special need or crisis.
- Wage-earner occupations tends to disperse clan members, and is considered detrimental to clan unity and solidarity.
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- Marriage types include inter-clan marriages between unrelated people, cross-cousin marriages (Absuma) and leviratic arrangements
(widow inheritance). Betrothal for marriage engagements may begin during childhood. This is done following a nominal payment in
- Men exercise the highest authority and command the lions-share of rights over children and family resources including land and livestock.
Most adult men do not normally carry out manual work unless they are poor [or] do not have grownup children.
- ..despite their role in reproductive and productive activities, women occupy a marginal social status in Afar society

Dagu: An institution of information exchange among the Afar
Modern social services such as telephone facilities are lacking among the Afar. An important traditional
mechanism that the people use as a replacement for modern communication technology is the Dagu. This is a way of information exchange
through the relaying of news about important events from one person to another. When two Afar people meet, they sit down and spend some time
(usually about half an hour or more) discussing the major economic, social and political events that took place recently in their respective
localities. This takes place all the time without exception: whether the individuals knew
each other previously or not is immaterial. It does not matter if one is in a hurry or not. A stranger who makes his way to Afar land is also expected
to adopt the system and behave in a similar fashion. Until he gives all the information or news about latest development in his place, he can never
be trusted and the Afar refrain from effectively interacting with the newcomer

The Population Media Center reports on a recent Afar conference [5] designed to stop female genital cutting highlights the position
taken by religious leaders in pointing out that the practice is cultural and not religious (not sanctioned by Islam). The conference did
not raise the possibility of a link between female genital cutting in the Afar region and excess female mortality, and concluded with
the following resolutions (directly copied from the media centers website) [5]:

1. We condemn all harmful traditional practices and female circumcision, of all types, as they do not have religious ground and
2. We have committed ourselves to educate the public in mosques, schools, and other convenient places about the baseless belief that
female circumcision is a religious obligation
3. We have given the responsibility of follow-up of this declaration to the Islamic Affairs Bureau, Office of the Supreme Sharia Courts
and the Womens Affairs Office of the region. We, religious leaders will do all in our capacities to mitigate and ultimately eliminate
4. The role that all sector bureaus and particularly health, education, and culture and tourism bureaus can play in this endeavor is high.
We thus call upon these government sectors to join their efforts in the elimination of these harmful traditional practices
5. We highly appreciate PMC and Save the Children Norway for their initiative to conduct research on harmful traditional practices in
the region, its development of a four-year plan to work in Afar region and for organizing this awareness creation workshop for
religious leaders. We call upon PMC to continue providing appropriate support in the future to the effort that will be to eliminate FGM
in the region

The research by Bekele Hundie [6] focused on property rights among the Afar. It used secondary data sources as well as primary data
gathered during interviews with 187 Afar individuals. Some of his observations include the following:

Property rights among the Afar are based on existing pastoral philosophy in which land belongs to community members defined
by blood or other social ties. Clan is the lowest social unit upon which communal property rights rest including land-ownership rights
and use of natural resources.

Each clan has its own territory, i.e. every member of a clan can tell where the boundary of his home land is. The boundaries are
usually marked by some physical objects such as mountains, rivers and bare-land. Actually, the boundaries tell only control rights
(exclusion, alienation and management rights) of a clan, while mobility transcends clan territories.

Clan land often comprises strategic resources such as grazing areas including dry season retreats, browsing resources, and water
points. In addition, each clan has also communal graveyards, settlement areas (metaro) and ritual sites.

Pastoral areas are full of conflicts over use rights or infringements (whether perceived or actual) of those rights.

The major cause of conflict between Afar and Karrayou is shortage of pasture and water

Recent expansion of Amhara farmlands into the western and southwestern Afar is proving to be yet another source of conflict. The
conflict has been exacerbated by the recent retaliatory attacks of the Amharas killing about 27 Afar women returning home from a
nearby town.

On the eastern side, Issas are the historical enemies of the Afars. Countless bloody conflicts have been occurring between Afar and
Issa since long ago.Apart from their frequent attacks to control the wet season grazing plains in Afar, the Issas are interested in the
strip connecting southern Djibouti with the Addis Ababa- Djibouti highway

Population pressure resulting from accelerated growth rates which led to the doubling of the population in both Afar and neighboring
regions in the last quarter century has led to greater need for increasingly scarce resources.

Development has also taken its toll on traditional way of living. As a result of state development activities such as commercial farms
and wildlife parks as well as sanctuaries, pastoralists in the middle Awash valley lost large portion of their historic pastoral heritage

Draught or its absence can have a significant effect in generating or mitigating conflicts. Violent conflicts are most likely to happen
because drought triggers fierce competition among different groups for pastoral resources thereby imposing natural scarcity.

In general, the role of the state becomes central not only because the state is the final arbiter and enforcer of the rule of law (e.g.
respect of property rights or of human rights in the realm conflicts) but is also the actor best able to facilitate enduring alliances across
the boundaries of clan, ethnicity or other categories in the socioeconomic and political spaces.

Population Distribution (2007)
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The population size of zones ranged from 183,799 to 410,790 (see table below) and that of individual Weredas ranged from 20,687
in Dulcha Wereda to 91, 080 in Chifera Wereda.

Location Population size

ZONE 1 410,790
ZONE 2 350,111
ZONE 4 246,822
ZONE 3 198,751
ZONE 5 183,799

Table 1 Population Size by Weredas and Zones (November, 2007)
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Area Total Male Female Sex

AFFAR REGION (TOTAL) 1,390,273 775,117 615,156 126.003

ZONE 1 410,790 224,656 186,134 120.696

DUBTI WEREDA 65,342 34,893 30,449 114.595
ELIDAR WEREDA 58,087 31,780 26,307 120.804
ASAYITA WEREDA 50,803 27,284 23,519 116.008
AFAMBO WEREDA 24,153 13,312 10,841 122.793
MILE WEREDA 90,673 49,705 40,968 121.326
CHIFRA WEREDA 91,080 50,861 40,219 126.460
KORI WEREDA 30,652 16,821 13,831 121.618

ZONE 2 350,111 195,404 154,707 126.306

EREBTI WEREDA 34,801 19,558 15,243 128.308
KUNOBA WEREDA 54,198 29,355 24,843 118.162
ABALA WEREDA 37,963 20,486 17,477 117.217
MEGALE WEREDA 28,113 15,340 12,773 120.097
BERAHILE WEREDA 78,881 45,501 33,380 136.312
DALOL WEREDA 83,930 46,973 36,957 127.102
AFDERA WEREDA 32,225 18,191 14,034 129.621

ZONE 3 198,751 108,995 89,756 121.435

AMIBARA WEREDA 63,378 35,374 28,004 126.318
AWASH FENTALE WEREDA 29,780 15,475 14,305 108.179
GEWANE WEREDA 31,318 17,171 14,147 121.376
DULACHA WEREDA 20,687 11,202 9,485 118.102
BURE MUDAYITU WEREDA 31,794 18,128 13,666 132.650
ARGOBA SPECIAL WEREDA 21,794 11,645 10,149 114.740

ZONE 4 246,822 140,741 106,081 132.673

AWRA WEREDA 34,604 18,999 15,605 121.749
EWA WEREDA 47,203 26,437 20,766 127.309
TERU WEREDA 67,753 39,727 28,026 141.751
YALO WEREDA 47,468 27,319 20,149 135.585
GOLINA WEREDA 49,794 28,259 21,535 131.224

ZONE 5 183,799 105,321 78,478 134.204

TELALAK WEREDA 37,970 22,395 15,575 143.788
SUMU ROBI WEREDA 32,023 17,222 14,801 116.357
DAWE WEREDA 42,397 24,865 17,532 141.826
DALIFAGE WEREDA 36,154 21,372 14,782 144.581
HADELE ELE WEREDA 35,255 19,467 15,788 123.303

Source: [1]

Sex Ratios

With a sex ratio of 108 (males per 100 males) Awash Fentale appears to be the only Wereda with a relatively normal numerical
balance between the genders. The ratios are over 140 in Dalifage Wereda, Telalak, Dawe, and Teru and between 130 and 140 in
Berhale Wereda, Yolo, Bure Mudayitu and Golina. There is no documented evidence of large scale female migration out of Afar to
other regions. This leaves massive under-count of females and/or excess female mortality as the only plausible explanation for the
high ratios in Table 1 but further research is needed before definite conclusions are reached.

Age Structure

Table 2. Population size by age group (November, 2007)

Age Group Total pop. % Males Females Sex Ratio

0 - 4 142,377 10 76,640 65,737 116.6
5 - 9 223,505 16 124,891 98,614 126.6
10-14 244,398 18 144,313 100,085 144.2
15-19 198,166 14 119,169 78,997 150.9
20-24 125,384 9 70,349 55,035 127.8
25-29 96,533 7 47,121 49,412 95.4
30-34 81,160 6 36,471 44,689 81.6
35-39 80,969 6 37,113 43,856 84.6
40-44 69,402 5 37,543 31,859 117.8
45-49 45,017 3 26,750 18,267 146.4
50-54 32,946 2 20,516 12,430 165.1
55-59 15,942 1 10,588 5,354 197.8
60-64 16,354 1 11,390 4,964 229.5
65-69 6,822 0 4,699 2,123 221.3
70-74 5,498 0 3,729 1,769 210.8
75 5,800 0 3,835 1,965 195.2
Total 1,390,273 100 775,117 615,156 126.0
Source: [1]

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Over three-fifths of Afars population (62%) is below 20 years of age making it one of the youngest populations in the world; a result
of the high mortality and fertility rates in the region. The percentages decrease sharply in the age group 20-24 and above signifying the
high adult mortality rate. The high sex ratios in the last column of Table 2 for all age groups tend to support the argument that,
perhaps, the massive undercount of females is the main factor behind the strange numbers in column 4. There are very few
populations (if any) with such lopsided ratios in favor of males anywhere else in the world. There is also a curious finding of excess
females in the 30-39 age group where the ratio is just over 80 males per 100 females.

Marital Status

Table 3 suggests that marriage is universal in the Afar region as it is in the rest of the country. Nearly 90% of Afar women in the 25-
29 age group are married. The corresponding percentage for men in the same age group is 52%. The percentage of widows is higher at
all ages than widowers reflecting the higher remarriage rates among males than females.

Table 3. Population by Age Group and Marital Status (November, 2007)

Total Never
Divorced Separated Widow/

10-14 100,082 94,572 (94%) 5,034 213 22 32
15-19 78,994 64,073 (81%) 13,212 1,150 167 141
20-24 55,035 22,904 (42%) 28,434 2,356 631 558
25-29 49,412 7,125 (14%) 38,416 2,142 512 1,194
30-34 44,725 2,202 (5%) 38,313 1,719 461 1,990
35-39 43,975 882 (2%) 37,974 1,598 500 2,984
40-44 31,972 357 (1%) 26,104 1,620 387 3,473
45-49 18,274 179 (1%) 14,383 955 183 2,568
50-54 12,530 96 8,957 818 208 2,451
55-59 5,356 70 3,658 302 122 1,204
60-64 4,973 102 2,577 378 159 1,757
65-69 2,085 13 1,052 215 46 759
70-74 1,698 30 633 172 37 820
75 1,923 155 483 116 53 1,116
451,034 192,760 219,230 13,754 3,488 21,047


15-19 119,252 113,316 4,619 562 325 141
20-24 70,326 56,790 10,378 1,777 748 305
25-29 47,147 22,666 20,869 2,053 665 546
30-34 36,474 7,493 26,320 1,388 436 646
35-39 37,172 2,527 32,512 1,016 233 807
40-44 37,698 1,194 34,649 797 207 833
45-49 26,851 487 25,100 456 101 706
50-54 20,668 298 19,210 337 101 706
55-59 10,607 161 9,803 194 65 384
60-64 11,406 173 10,519 181 104 430
65-69 4,629 72 4,052 171 30 304
70-74 3,660 46 3,191 110 11 302
75 3,782 127 3,013 149 50 439
Total 429,672 205,350 204,235 9,191 3,076 6,549

Socio-demographic and Health indicators

A 2011 Demographic and Health Survey results [8] in Afar gave the following results:

1. Nearly 70% of women and 53% of men are illiterate. Three-quarters of the women in the reproductive age group (15-49) are
2. Two-thirds of Afar women and 43% of men have no access to media newspapers/ radio/television.
3. Only 19% of women (the lowest percentage in the country) are currently employed whereas two-thirds of the men (67%) are
employed mostly in agriculture and nomadic herding.
4. 20.4 % of men (among the highest in the country) smoke cigarettes and another 17% (by far the highest in the country) use
tobacco in other forms. A third of Afar men also chew Chat as do about 7% of the women.
5. Alcohol use is very low among both men and women (less than 10%)
6. Nearly a quarter of Afar women are co-wives. This is to say that their husbands have other wives.
7. The median age at first marriage is 17.1 for women and 24.4 for women. The median age of first intercourse is the same for
women as sex before marriage is an unlikely occurrence for women but for men the median age at first intercourse is lower
than the median age at first marriage by 4 years. The median age of women at first birth is 19.2.
8. The total fertility rate -the number of children a woman is expected to have at the end her reproductive years - is 5 (slightly
lower than the national average of 4.8).
9. The ideal family size for Afar women in the 15-49 age group is 7.4. Only Somali women indicated a higher ideal family size
preference (9.7).
10. The HIV prevalence rate is relatively low 2% for females and 0.6 % among males aged 15 49 - and equals the national
average. Interestingly, however, the rate among females is almost three times as high as male rates [7]

The total fertility rate of 4.9 is below the national average

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Calculation of the percent distribution of non-first births in the five years preceding the 2005 and 2011 Demographic and Health
Surveys (DHS) by number of months since preceding birth, are shown below (table). The result for Amhara is added for
comparison. The comparison shows that twice as high percentages of Afar women go from mothering the first child to the high risk
endeavor of mothering the second and third child in successively short intervals (compare the percentages in the 7-17 months and 18-
23 month categories, for instance). This too can be cited as evidence that the relative dearth of females in the population might not be
an artifact of defective data alone, but rather a possible reflection of higher mortality among females due in part to shorter birth
intervals in the low birth-order categories. This, typically and disproportionately affects younger women.

% of Births by Number of Months Since Preceding Birth

Months since 717 18-23 24-35 36-47 48-59 60+ Total
Preceding birth
Afar (2005) 14.3 17.2 33.9 17.3 7.7 1.3 100.0
Afar (2011) 14.5 16.0 31.9 17.7 9.5 10.5 100.0
Amhara (2005) 5.4 8.5 31.5 30.4 12.4 11.7 100.0
Amhara (2011) 4.4 8.5 28.6 24.6 14.7 19.2 100.0

Source: [7, 8]

There has been very little change over time in the median age at birth. Afar women aged 20 - 25 during the 2005 DHS had a median
age at marriage of 18.8 years, and their mothers' generation - those aged 45 - 49 at the time of the survey had a median first age at first
marriage of 19.5 years.

Next to Somali women (3.1%), Afar women (6.6%) have the lowest percentage of members practicing any form of contraception [7].
This increased slightly (to 9.2%) in the 2011 DHS survey [8].

Four-fifths of Afar women have not heard or seen family planning messages on the radio or television, or in a newspaper/magazine in
the period prior to the 2005 DHS suggesting that exposure to media outlets with family planning messages is very low.

Afar women represented the second highest percentage (23.4%) of respondents living in polygamous homes where the husband has at
least one other wife. The place with the highest percentage of women in such marriages during the 2005 DHS was Gambella where
greater percentages of women reported being in such unions.

There seems to have occurred a slight rise in minimum age at marriage among Afar women (about half a year or so) when women
aged 20 - 24 in the 2005 and 2011 DHS are compared with women aged 30 - 34, and 35 - 39 at the time of the respective surveys. A
much larger rise - about 2 years or so - has occurred in the median age at first intercourse when the 20-24 year-olds are compared to
women in their thirties at the time of the two surveys [7,8].

The median number of months of postpartum amenorrhoea among Afar women following births in the three years preceding the 2005
DHS, was 13.4 months. This is among the shortest in the country. The periods of postpartum abstinence and postpartum
insusceptibility are also short.

Results of the 2005 and 2011 DHS survey results show that the percentage of Afar women who indicated a desire to have no children
at all (currently childless) or no additional children, decreased for younger women with 0-4 children between 2005 and 201, and
increased for older women with larger family sizes (see table below).

Number of Children already born 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+

% of who want no more children (2005) 13.3 16.9 16.6 29.0 33.6 17.0 16.1
% of who want no more children (2011) 2.6 6.1 15.4 13.0 16.5 21.1 24.9

For Afar men the percentage distribution is as follows:

Number of Children already born 0 1 2 3 4 5 6+

% of who want no more children (2005) 2.5 21.0 24.8 13.3 26.6 3.9 13.5
% of who want no more children (2011) 3.5 3.9 5.4 8.4 11.7 3.3 14.6

Only 6.6% of Afar women's need for family planning is met - the second lowest regional percentage after the adjacent region of
Somali where only 3.1 percent of the women reported that their family planning needs have been met [7].

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The average ideal number of children reported by Afar women (7.8) is more than double the sized desired by women in Addis Ababa.
This might appear to be inexplicable given the harsh environment and socioeconomic hardships faced by Afar women, but a deeper
look at the issue would lead one to surmise that calculations regarding the survival chances of infants and children, and the need to
insure survival of a minimum number of children, might be forcing them to want larger families.

The childhood mortality rates (per 1000 live births) for Afar calculated on the basis of the 2005 and 2011DHS appear to show, overall,
the absence of changes in mortality even though a slight increase is noted in the PNN and (1q0) categories.

Neonatal mortality (NN) Postneonatal mortality (PNN) Infant mortality (1q0) Child mortality (4q1) Under-five mortality (5q0)

2005 33 28 61 66 123
2011 33 30 64 67 127

The childhood mortality rates appear to be similar to those in the neighboring administrative region of Tigray even though Tigray has
much more favorable health-coverage indicators one of the best in the country. The table below is based on the 2005 survey, and
compares the percentage vaccination coverage of Afars children and infants with those in Tigray. It shows, among other things, that
vaccination coverage is nearly universal in Tigray (with single digit percentages reporting no coverage at all). In Afar, on the other
hand, nearly two-fifths of infants and children (38.8%) have not received any vaccination at all.

BCG DPT1 DPT2 DPT3 Polio0 Polio1 Polio2 Polio3 Measles All No vaccinations

Afar 27.6 13.5 8.7 2.8 4.6 58.2 36.9 19.9 8.1 0.6 38.8
Tigray 77.4 85.9 70.9 51.6 19.6 89.8 77.3 56.6 63.3 32.9 7.2

Afar also had the second lowest proportion (9.2%) of children with diarrhea who were taken to a health provider for treatment in the
months before the 2005 survey.

Afar has the second highest proportion of women (83%) who have had no access to health professionals, or trained traditional birth
attendants, or other help during their pregnancies in the last five years preceding the 2005 DHS.

During the 2005 DHS survey 83% Afar women and their infants had no protection against tetanus. The only worst percentage was that
for Somali women and infants (88%) [7].

Almost 96 percent of Afra women gave birth at home. Close to 43% of the births were attended by traditional birth attendants, and
another 50 percent by relatives [7].

All but 52% of Afar men are either current users of tobacco, or have used it in the past. The 48% current and past use rate is the
highest in the country.

The highest proportion (56.6 %) of children under five with height-for-age measures two standard deviations below the mean live in
Afar [7].

Over 90% of Afar women are circumcised, 85% have at least one daughter circumcised (the highest percentage of any
administrative region), and 33% are classified as thin (BMI less than 18.5) [7].

85.4% of Afar women know or have heard about HIV/AIDS but only 13% of Somali women and 36% of Afar women knew that HIV
can be transmitted from mother to child- the lowest and second lowest proportions of women with such knowledge in Ethiopia.


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Amba Hotel. August 2005.
6. Bekele Hundie. Property Rights among Afar Pastoralists of Northeastern Ethiopia: Forms, Changes and Conflicts. Humboldt
University. Berlin. Publications/ Publications/Theme%201/Pastoral%20conference/Briefs/
Hundie_Property Rights AfarPastoralists_Brief_Final.pdf
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