An international consortium of social and environmental scientists researching the impacts of hydrological, agricultural, and social change on the people and ecosystems surrounding the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana.
The Omo-Turkana Research Network (OTuRN) is an international consortium of social and environmental scientists researching the impacts of hydrological, agricultural, and social change on the people and ecosystems surrounding the Lower Omo Valley and Lake Turkana – i.e. the Turkana Basin. The objectives of OTuRN are to facilitate communication among researchers active in the basin, to coordinate multi-disciplinary research, and to assist in disseminating knowledge to the media and to members of the public.
According to Ethiopian government plans, the Lower Omo is set to become the largest irrigation complex in Ethiopia, with the Ethiopian Sugar Corporation’s ‘Kuraz Sugar Development Project’ as its centrepiece. The Kuraz Project alone will require the forced displacement of thousands of agro-pastoralists and their resettlement in new villages where they will be expected to become sedentary agriculturalists and ‘outgrowers’ for the Sugar Corporation.
Since 2012, when ‘villagization’ began amongst Me’en (Bodi) living on the eastern side of the Omo, OTuRN affiliates Edward (Jed) Stevenson and Lucie Buffavand have been studying the impacts of this process on the resettlers, using both household surveys and long-term ethnographic research. They present the first conclusions of this work in an article - 'Do our bodies know their ways?’ Villagization, food insecurity and ill-being in Ethiopia’s Lower Omo Valley. The article has been accepted for publication in the African Studies Review and is made available here, in pre-publication form, with the permission of the Editors.
OTuRN Affiliate Jed Stevenson presented at the 4th Oxford Interdisciplinary Desert Conference on June 8th. His presentation, 'Socio-ecological change in the Turkana Basin: A Synthesis of Current Developments', summarises our forthcoming situation analysis.
An award winning Kenyan production on the challenges facing Lake Turkana, featuring OTuRN affiliate Dr. Sean Avery. Originally screened as part of Nation TV’s Nature series, the full film is now accessible online: