Daasanach in Ethiopia

Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Daasanach
Country: Ethiopia
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 84,000
World Population: 107,600
Primary Language: Daasanach
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.50 %
Evangelicals: 1.00 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Omotic
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Daasanach are a people with a fairly recent history. Their ties to one another have resulted from a common place of residence rather than from heredity. Exiles from many groups around the area of north Lake Turkana have united in support of one another in this hostile, arid environment. They have developed a unique tradition and culture and are open to the inclusion of other immigrants who are willing to abide by Daasanach customs and values. Until the turn of the century, we knew very little about the Daasanach, sometimes called the Merille. At that time, formal borders were created for many African countries, and the Daasanach found their traditional lands divided between Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. Since then, these semi-nomadic people have moved as freely as possible across the borders of these countries, but this movement is being more and more restricted by border posts and entry formalities.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Daasanach are known for their fighting prowess and are feared by many neighboring groups such as the Gabbra and Turkana. The Daasanach celebrate their raids to obtain more cattle. Daasanach warriors are proud of the number of enemy they have killed. They value their unique culture, and the Daasanach are reluctant to adopt outside technology. In the 1960s American missionaries introduced irrigation systems to aid in agriculture, but these systems were neglected after foreigners were expelled from Ethiopia in 1974. Traditionally the Daasanach people owned cattle and roamed this part of Africa as nomads. But today this people group no longer owns cattle, and they have started to settle down as farmers.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Today church work is being carried out in Kenya where only ten percent of the Daasanach people live. Here there are very few Daasanach Christians. We do not know what is left of earlier church work in Ethiopia. Most Daasanach people remain bound to their traditional religion. They worship a god they call Waag, a sky god who created the Earth. Most depend on the spirit world rather than in the blood of Christ.

Prayer Points

Pray for Bible translation work to bear good fruit among the Daasanach people in Ethiopia. Pray for the Daasanach people to put their faith in Jesus Christ rather than their traditional gods. Pray for the Lord to protect and guide workers among the Daasanach people. Pray for a movement to Christ to flourish this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project