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920 Gambella ethiopia primary 5 school violence
  1. Anteneh Tarekgen1,
  2. Tigilalem Alemu1,
  3. Kidist Bartholomeus2,
  4. Ronald Lett3
  1. 1Gambella College of Health and Technology
  2. 2WHO Geneva
  3. 3Canadian Network for International Surgery, Vancouver


Background For decades in Gambella Ethiopia collective ethnic violence has been recurrent among the Nuer (Pastoralists), Anuak (Agriculturalist) & Highlanders (Northern Ethiopians). The Anuak have been moved from their land to accommodate Indian, Saudi and Chinese agribusiness. Land pressures are augmented by refugees from the Southern Sudan. Injury and violence among grade 5 children growing up in this milieu was evaluated.

Methods The study was conducted in March 2013. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected from a randomised stratified sample. Ethical approval was obtained. Study population came from 21 Schools, (11 Urban, 2 Semi-urban, 10 rural) , Pupils N = 1674 females 795).

Results Violence included physical attacks & fights and hitting or stabbing with weapons. Attack Frequency: last 6 months 51.8%, Fight 46.3%, all Violence 57.5%; Serious Injury = 16.7% (67.2% Fracture; 28.6 % Cuts). Validation was via School First Aid Records. Bullying episodes: 2/month (girls 67.2%, boys 57.2%); 10/month 14%. Emotional Dimensions: social isolation in all: 8.51%, no friends 15%. Victimised 33% no friends, 9.6% felt hopeless, 2.2% suicidal,%13 sleep disorders 30% absenteeism. Drug use among violence exposed: alcohol 38%, tobacco 20% khat. 23%, & 21% had initiated sexual activity. Children (1/3) noted parents were unaware of their situation. Violence associations: female gender OR 2.35 (1.78–3.01), khat or Alcohol use OR 9.86 (6.16–15.77, sexual activity OR 2.16 (1.98–3.99). Family Support was protective.

Conclusions The prevalence of physical violence and bullying among Grade 5 children in Gambella is high. There was no variance between rural and urban settings. Injury was common; social consequences are severe Social misconduct was associated with violence; Family support was protective. Gambella Ethiopia has suffered from decades of collective ethnic based violence which may be causative in this high level of primary school violence.

  • Collective Violence
  • school violence
  • bullying
  • suicidal intent
  • khat
  • Ethiopia

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