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THE KWEGU TODAY: CONTEMPORARY ETHNOGRAPHY AND BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY OF AN OVERLOOKED POPULATION

Description: The proposed project will produce ethnographic and scientific data from the Kwegu, a little-studied Omo Valley population. Currently, there is limited active anthropology among the Kwegu and the most significant ethnographic research was conducted over thirty years ago. The Kwegu are among the least understood and most remote populations in Ethiopia and across Africa. Kwegu settlements are scattered within forests along the Omo River. Most Kwegu subsist primarily on sorghum and supplement cultivated foods by fishing, hunting, and foraging. Linguistic analyses reveal an emphasis on ecological knowledge and hunting, suggesting a history of hunting and gathering. This difference in subsistence warrants investigation of gender inequality, as populations with more recent history of foraging-based subsistence typically have greater gender equality relative to pastoral and agricultural populations. The Kwegu are unique among Omo Valley groups for their lack of pastoralism and increased reliance on hunting. It is currently unknown if the Kwegu demonstrate greater gender egalitarianism, relative to neighboring populations.

 

This project involves exploring Kwegu villages, initiating a new field site, and collect systematic ethnographic and quantitative data. The primary objective is to develop baseline data on gender inequality and market integration and to initiate wider OVRP data collection procedures.

Field site: Developing a new field site among Kwegu

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©2020 by The Omo Valley Research Project.

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