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Sheko is one of the 77 woredas in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region of Ethiopia. It is named for the Sheko people, whose homeland lies in the eastern part of the woreda; a different ethnic group, the Me'en, dominate the southeastern part. Part of the Bench Maji Zone, Sheko is bordered on the south by Dizi and Surma, on the west by Sudan, on the north by the Gambela Region, on the northeast by Keficho Shekicho Zone, on the east by Bench, and on the southeast by Meinit; the Akobo River defines the southern and western boundaries of this woreda. Towns in Sheko include Dima, Guraferda and Sheko.


The most important rivers in this woreda include the Bergi, Gacheb, Onja, Dama, Beko, and Kashu. One of the few remaining extensive natural forest areas in the country is found in Sheko, with tropical species covering lowland and low midland elevations.[1] High points in this woreda include Mount Bokol (2160 meters) and Mount Guraferda (2494 meters).

Sheko suffers from a lack of roads and means of transport; remote locations are accessible only by air.[2] Most of the inhabitants live a sedentary life, except in the pastoral area around Guraferda.[3] Major cash crops in this woreda include wheat, peppers, barley and pulses.[4] Another source of income is honey production, which along with some cash crops find their way via traders to the administrative center of the Zone, Mizan Teferi, and from there as far as Jimma.[1]

Four opposition parties, the Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia, the All-Amhara People's Organization, the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition and the Oromo National Congress reported that 1,760 people were killed and thousands more wounded in Sheko woreda in late March and early April 2002 while protesting what they believed were elections irregularities.[5]


Based on figures published by the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this woreda has an estimated total population of 51,455, of whom 24,764 are men and 26,691 women; 4,112 or 7.99% of its population are urban dwellers, which is less than the Zone average of 9.1%. With an estimated area of 6,321.72 square kilometers, Sheko has an estimated population density of 8.1 people per square kilometer, which is less than the Zone average of 20.[6]

In the 1994 national census Sheko had a population of 35,878, of whom 18,594 were men and 17,284 women; 2,271 or 6.33% of its population were urban dwellers. (This total also includes an estimate for the inhabitants of 2 rural kebeles, which were not counted; they were estimated to have 256 inhabitants, of whom 143 were men and 113 women.) The five largest ethnic groups reported in this woreda were the Sheko people (33.64%), the Amhara (16.09%), the Kafficho (15.26%), the Bench (12.7%), and the Me'en (5.76%); all other ethnic groups made up 16.55% of the population. Sheko was spoken as a first language by 33.88% of the inhabitants, 23.48% spoke Amharic, 12.56% spoke Kafa, 12.02% spoke Bench, and 5.5% spoke Me'en; the remaining 13.56% spoke all other primary languages reported.[7]

The Sheko largely speak a language within the Omotic family, and have had patrilineally inherited chief positions known as kaibab. Some individuals practice a degree of agriculture, notably transplanting yams in more remote areas, while adopting sorghum and other crops in more centrally located regions. [8] Concerning education, 15.88% of the population were considered literate; 9.91% of children aged 7–12 were in primary school; 2.36% of the children aged 13–14 were in junior secondary school, and 0.73% of the inhabitants aged 15–18 were in senior secondary school.[9] Concerning sanitary conditions, about 73% of the urban and 10% of the total had toilet facilities.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "SNNPR Livelihood Profiles Regional Overview: December 2005", p. 37 (accessed 18 May 2009)
  2. Joachim Ahrens, "Kefa - the Cradel of Coffee" UNDP-EUE Report, January 1997 (accessed 19 February 2009)
  3. "Local History in Ethiopia" (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website, (accessed 2 April 2009)
  4. "SNNPR Livelihood Woreda Reports - Sheko: Key Parameters for Monitoring Livelihoods at Woreda Level" (accessed 18 May 2009)
  5. "Local History in Ethiopia", where the woreda is called "The Sheko and Mezhenger woreda"
  6. CSA 2005 National Statistics, Tables B.3 and B.4
  7. 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.2, 2.12, 2.15. (accessed 30 December 2008)
  8. Hildebrand, Elisabeth (2003). "Motives and opportunities for domestication: an ethnoarchaeological study in southwest Ethiopia". Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 22: 358–375. doi:10.1016/S0278-4165(03)00031-X.
  9. 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Tables 3.5, 3.7 (accessed 17 April 2009)
  10. 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 2, Tables 6.3, 6.13 (accessed 17 April 2009)

Coordinates: 6°50′N 35°00′E / 6.833°N 35.000°E / 6.833; 35.000

fr:Sheko (woreda)