The book Omo Change tells the story of the Omo River Valley, one of the most incredible areas on the African continent, a place where our human ancestors first emerged. The place is wild and unique, as are the people living there. The people are divided into a variety of tribes, each with their own rights, colors and customs, but all united by their dependence on the river. Their tribal rites, basic homes and animal husbandry reveal a deep balance with nature.
The Gibe III dam has disrupted that balance in the name of development, development that diverts a local resource on which people depend to the interests of Ethiopian elites and international investors. The dam will produce electricity for export to Kenya and water from the river’s water is now drawn down to irrigate large cotton and sugar plantations, transforming forests into massive monoculture farms owned by foreign interests.