The Hamar are Omotic agropastoralists living in the Hamer District of the South Omo Zone, in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. They number approximately 50,000 bordering the Dassanetch to the south and the Nyangatom to the west across the Omo River.


While most Hamar reside in relatively fixed villages, men often spend a significant portion of their year at remote cattle camps in Kisso and in Mago National Park. The pastoral lifestyle remains predominant among the Hamar, however, there has been an increasing shift to horticulture in recent years.




The Nyangatom are Nilotic mobile pastoralists inhabiting the border region between South Sudan and Ethiopia along the northern edge of the Ilemi Triangle. They number approximately 30,000 with populations in both South Sudan and Ethiopia. Ethnographic documentation of the Nyangatom is sparse. The Nyangatom are members of the Karimojong or Ateker cluster and closely related to the neighboring Toposa and Turkana who speak mutually intelligible languages. They share borders with the Suri, Mursi, Kwegu, Kara, Hamar, and Dassanetch. Although they identify primarily as pastoralists, horticultural products such as sorghum and maize constitute a significant portion of the diet and may be supplemented through hunting.


Many Nyangatom continue to live in mobile villages, however, many are increasingly settleing in semi-permanent villages along river banks. The market town of Kangaten is also increasingly attractive as a place of settlement for many Nyangatom who move away from traditional lifestyles.


The Dassanetch (Daasanach) are an ethnic group living in the Dassanetch District of the South Omo Zone and number approximately 50,000. Many Dassanetch also live in northern Kenya along Lake Turkana and the Omo River.  Inland Dassanetch primarily raise livestock while Dassanetch along the Omo fish and hunt aquatic game such as crocodile.


The Dassanetch language is on the East Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. Most male Dassanetch are multilingual, with Amharic commonly spoken on the Ethiopian side of the border, and English and Swahili understood by most living in Kenya.