Reclaiming Oromo Indigenous Organizational Structures and Fostering Supportive Environments for Health

“For the Oromo people, spirituality is part of their past, present and future (Bokku, 2011, Daaniyaa, 2007; Aguilar, 2009)…The Ethiopian government banned Oromo social, political and religious institutions and this has created fertile ground for foreign religions to compete to control the Oromo mind. Religious conversions are seizing and reprogramming the mind. Reprogramming minds leads to losses of accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experiences. This causes the loss of spiritual and social capital, leads to confusion, disorganization, instability, poverty, and several other social problems (Aguilar, 2009).” From an aticle “Reclaiming Oromo Indigenous Organizational structures and Fostering Supportive Environments for Health.
The Future Directions in Oromo Organizational Structure
The future of the Oromo people depends on the ways they get organized, manage their
resources, accommodate their differences, revitalize their social structure, support the
development of the minds of the younger generation and foster supportive environments for
health. As I mentioned above, the word organization itself is derived from the Greek word
organon or ergon – as we know it `organ` – and it means a compartment for a particular body.
In the Western world, the structures of organizations are framed to be consistent with their
social relation– hierarchy form. The Oromo concept of organization should be consistent with
the Oromo social structure and it should be egalitarian-equitable- accessible and democratic,
fairly distribute tasks and privileges and develop strategies to achieve collective goals – the
public good.
The reasons that have kept the Oromo people under colonial rule include: a) the support that
the European empire builders provided to Ethiopia; b) the absence of cooperation and
coordination among the Oromo clans; c) the absence of organizations founded on the Oromo
indigenous structure. The Oromo people need to deeply reflect on their lived experiences and
tackle them accordingly. To improve the community health development, the Oromo people
need to get organized, challenge the colonial agenda and ideology and prove that they are a
stabilizing force in the Horn of Africa region and beyond.
Culture collectively programs the mind of people (Cerulo, 2002). As Jalata put it (Jalata, 2007),
the leading ideology of Oromo people should be Orommumma-– Oromo-centricity. Oromo
organization should be based on the Oromo social structure. As has been seen in many African
countries, the ideas, ideologies and organizational structures that are contrary to the Oromo
worldview cannot lead them to liberation, foster social transformation and create supportive
environments for health. Foreign ideology and organizational structure will not work for two
reasons. First, ideas and an ideology that do not fit into the Oromo worldview condition them
to adopt the perspective of others. Human beings are social beings and forcing the Oromo
people to abandon their culture and perspective exposes them to unwanted risks. Abandoning
Orommumma is losing the cultural blueprint and this sets the stage for people to be
programmed, assimilated and to become nobody or anybody. The second reason is the
challenge of practically adopting foreign ideas, ideologies and perspectives. The ideas and
ideologies that do not correspond to the Oromo worldview take several generations to actually
If we closely look at the reasons for the difficulties that Oromo churches and mosques have in
getting organized, we see that both religious teachings are truly foreign to the Oromo people.
Although in principle the members accepted these beliefs, the ideas and ideologies in those
religious teachings promote a hierarchy and a centralized command system. These teachings
are contrary to the Oromo worldview and irreconcilable in the minds of the members. Some of
the agonizing concepts include a) lifetime church and mosque leaders; b) conceptualizing these leaders as if they are different from the members and being docile followers of them” by Begna Fufa Dugassa.
Read full article from the link below:Reclaiming Oromo Indigenous Organizational Structures and Fostering Supportive Environments for Health

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