The South Omo Cluster includes parts of South Omo Zone1 in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regional state of Ethiopia and Turkana County in Kenya. It forms part of the bigger Karamoja Cluster of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and is predominantly inhabited by agropastoralists.
The area of South Omo Zone amounts to 24,249 km2. The Zone has eight Woredas and the Jinka town administration (the Zone Capital). Sixteen ethnic groups are considered indigenous to the Zone, while a good number of Ethiopians from other parts of the country also live there. According to the population projections for
2016/17 based on the population and housing census conducted in 2007 (Central Statistical Agency, 2008), the Zone has a total population of 767,915.
Most of the Zone’s Woredas are sparsely populated and most of the population lives in rural areas. The densely populated Woredas are inhabited by the Ari and Maale ethnic groups. This is explained by the settled form of
agrarian livelihood followed by members of these ethnic groups. The remaining five Woredas (Bena Tsemay, Dassenech, Hamer, Nyangatom, and Salamago) are inhabited by ethnic groups practicing agro-pastoralism. Rain-fed agriculture contributes significantly towards the annual consumption in the Bena Tsemay Woreda. The same
could be said for some parts of Hamer Woreda, in higher altitude area near Dimeka, the Woreda capital. Flood retreat agriculture is practiced in the remaining Woredas in areas close to the Omo, Mago and Woyto Rivers.