Renewed Hope for Better Road
Adequate access to roads in rural areas in developing countries is so rare. Fewer than 40 percent of rural Africans live within two kilometers of an all-season road—by far the lowest level of rural accessibility in the developing world. There is also evidence that physical isolation is preventing large areas of the continent from reaching their true agricultural potential (Guwilliam, et al. 2008). Besides, lack of accessibility to rural roads is one of the main causes of poverty for people living in rural areas (Lebo & Schelling (2001a).
During the rainy seasons, roads are often in such poor conditions that people, whether pedestrians or using vehicles, struggle to commute. Without road access, rural communities face much greater obstacles in obtaining health, education and other social services.
For years, communities of Hobi Koji, Southwest Shewa zone, Oromia region, have aspired for a better road access. Because of the bad road condition, their movement has been limited, impacting their access to basic services such as health and education.
Difficulty in reaching markets to sell their agricultural products during rainy seasons have locked the communities of the kebele into subsistence farming. As buyers cannot reach the kebele, cash crops cannot be exchanged for money & the crops are wasted. Better market incentives for the farmers are blunted because of the physical barriers as well as high costs of transporting goods to & from local market.
According to the data from the kebele’s administration, there are more than 5 thousand households in Hobi Koji. Despite its proximity to the capital town of the woreda, Woliso, the kebele is characterized by inaccessibility of rural road service. “The poor road condition has posed enormous challenges to the communities for an extended period of time,” said Ato Nagasa Beka, one of the residents of the Hobi Koji kebele.
The residents of the kebele were relieved to hear the good news that the CRC survey identified the road problem as a top priority. During the interface meeting, a consensus was also reached to address the long-standing road issue.
There is a sense of hope in the community that the priority will be aligned with the woreda budget plan, and the issue will be addressed in near future.