In January, the director of a school for Oromo culture and language study, Dabbasa Guyyoo, traveled to several European countries, the United States and to Guatemala to promote the Oromos gadaa system. The gadaa system proscribes aged-based rights and responsibilities and a governing system for each community that have been practiced by the Oromo people for many generations. In Guatemala, he met with other indigenous leaders from the hemisphere to discuss issues concerning the struggle to maintain traditional cultures. Guyyoo and other Oromo teachers have conducted classes within Oromo communities in the United States for the past two years.
The Oromo School of Culture was established in 1999 in Dagureti market, about 10 kilometers from Nairobi. In Afan Oromo the school is called Gamtaa Argaa fi Dhageettii Gadaa Oromoo. The school teaches the gadaa system of social-political stratification practiced by the Oromo people, who are a major ethnic group in Ethiopia. The school also teaches Oromo ceremonies in nearby Doyo field, which was given to the school for that purpose by the Kenyan government.
The school in Nairobi provides a five-year course of study, but also offers shorter courses for monthly fees of approximately 1,000 Kenya shillings. About 1,000 students have received certificates from the school since it opened. Graduates of the school in Kenya have opened branches of the school in some parts of the United States and there are plans to expand services in Oromiya region of Ethiopia to teach the traditions and the Afan Oromo language.
"I am optimistic Oromo School of Culture will also be opened in Oromiya region,” said Mr. Guyyoo.