This term means different things in different countries; however, its use generally refers to government policies that sedentarize pastoralist communities or resettle rural populations, often farming communities, into more-permanent settlements. This is often done as a form of forced eviction/forced relocation to make way for development projects or to reduce a target community’s land use, including to the point of dispossession. The subsequent losses often result in increased food insecurity, destruction of livelihood and the loss of cultural heritage.
Governments and financiers often justify these movements of rural, isolated families/small communities into villages with the benefits of life in a permanent and built-up settlement with access to improved services and “modernization.”
Although this practice has taken place in many countries, among the most aggressive villagizing governments are those of Ethiopia and Israel, the Ethiopian example is featured in this issue of Land Times.