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Promote and disseminate well structured, fastest, and reliable local information exchange system of the Afar people 'Dagu'.

I would like to contribute a sophisticated system for news exchange. It is locally known as dagu, its fastest and reliable for any messages.

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Dagu is an institution of information exchange system among  the Afar.  Modern social services such as facebook, cellphone, and telephone facilities are lacking among the Afar people in Ethiopia. An important traditional mechanism that the people use as a replacement for modern communication technology is the Dagu. Dagu resembles modern news communication in several ways. Even if the information doesn’t reach a large mass simultaneously, it is meant to reach a considerable portion of the population within a short period of time. The swiftness of Dagu is indeed remarkable. It can spread to a high number of people within few days.  As for that reason, Dagu is appropriate and unfailing source of information in effective way for those rural and remote area of people all over the world to disseminate COVID-19 in consistent manner.  Many Afars describe dagu as ‘our telephone’. Those Afar people whose are  educated, compared it with the Internet. ‘Dagu is the Internet of the Afar people. Information is transmitted in the form of relay where an Afar must quickly share anything new to another Afar on his way to daily practice. When two Afar people meet, they sit down and spend some time(usually about half an hour or more) discussing the major economic, social and political events that took place recently in their respective localities. This takes place all the time without exception: whether the individuals knew each other previously or not is immaterial. It does not matter if one is in a hurry or not. A stranger who make shis way to Afar land is also expected to adopt the system and behave in a similar fashion.

Dagu functions within a defined set of regulations and expectations, though the rules are necessarily unwritten. The law of dagu means that whenever you meet someone on the road who has travelled reasonably far, say from a nearby village, you are required to pause and engage in a news exchange session.

Failure to pass on relevant information is not only an offence to the conversation partner, but a harm to the community. To this end, misuse of dagu is subject to punishment within customary law (Mada’a), which has a prominent place in the Afar culture. Anyone who passes on unchecked information, for instance, is punished according to the Mada’a. Disseminating false or fabricated information is unforgivable.  As for that reason, Dagu is protected from falsehood and inaccurate information through its cultural mechanisms, and that it is very much related to issues of identity, security and communal welfare beyond communication.

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Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

I have got accurate and reliable massage from the trusted source of information which is locally known as Dagu. Therefore, I internalized  and changed my behavior accordingly.   

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

 I share this information for our network, target beneficiaries and stakeholders through Dagu information exchange systems. In line with, I would like to scale-upping this fastest and reliable information exchange system for the other people, those are lives with lack of popular media like radio, television and internet. 

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Word of Mouth
  • Dagu its a local institutions for information exchange system that practicing by the Afar people.

What information do you feel you are missing about COVID-19?


What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

All over the world people lives in the remote and rural areas those have not access to modern information technology.   The information would be designed by WHO and disseminated by Afar Community Initiative Sustainable Development Association (ACISDA) through promoting and scale upping the Dagu information exchange system to other similar remote and rural areas.

What is your current profession?

My profession is Educational Planning and Management. I am working with ACISDA as Executive Manager.

In what city are you located?

Dewe Woreda of Afar regional state, Woderagi town.

In what country are you located?

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Attachments (2)

Best Practicing addressing socio cultural barriers.pdf

Best Practicing Addressing Socio cultural barriers to reproductive, maternal and neonatal health service utilization among women from pastoralist communities of Afar, Ethiopia: A qualitative study


Social Organization and Cultural Institution of the Afar of Northern Ethiopia. Its published by Kelemwork Tefere Reda.

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1 comment

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Photo of Ashley Tillman

Hi ACISDA AFAR thank you so much for sharing! I am curious to learn more as someone who's learning about Dagu for the first time, what do you think makes this method so effective and do you think there might be lessons learned for other rural communities? I ask because there are many people in this challenge who I think could learn from your work, thank you for sharing! For example Matt Branigan shared how he's concerned rural communities are getting missed in the US.