On 8 April, IPSS organized a dissemination workshop in collaboration with partners on the research being conducted under the topic “Shifting In/Equality Dynamics in Ethiopia: From Research to Application”. The research project is being conducted in the three areas in the South Omo, particularly, the lower Omo river, Nyangatom and Woreda in partnership with Durham University, Kings College London and Michigan State University. The authors representing all partner institutions are Dr. Emma J. Tebbs, Dr. Jennifer Hodbod, Dr. David-Paul Pertaub, Dr. Fana Gebresenbet, Dr. Edward G.J. Stevenson, Dr. Kidane Kiros, Dr. Mercy Fekadu and the SIDERA study team.
Dr. Kidane Kiros, Director of IPSS, welcomed the participants to the workshop and reiterated the commitment of IPSS to research and learning evidence that is represented in this triparty institutional collaborative research. He further highlighted that the workshop was a platform for all stakeholders in the project to highlight, discuss and support the findings that are a representation of the investigations on the links between environmental quality, wealth and conflict in the South Omo region.
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Seyoum Mesfin, State Minister of the Ministry of Peace in Ethiopia. Dr. Mesfin commended the initiative as it bridges the existing gaps for research on the pastoral lowlands. He also emphasized the importance of sound integration between research and practice. Moreover, Dr. Mesfin mentioned that the findings of the research could provide information on the impact of the current government projects, as the recommendations from the project will inform further the work of the ministry in their intervention in the areas of the study.
Dr. Fekadu highlighted that the research project started because of the political, social and economic changes happening in lower Omo river areas over the last 10 years which are both man-made and natural. She added that such changes couldn't be best understood solely by an independent discipline, thus, the project is being implemented with a multidisciplinary approach.
In summary, the overall presentation of the preliminary findings from all the authors in underscoring that a peaceful environment comes together with a state of prosperity and healthy eco-system include:
- A link between environmental quality, wealth and conflict;
- Demonstration of the decrease in environmental quality and wealth in recent years- which has not led to an increase in conflicts; and
- Short-term coping strategies at the household and community scale that are buffering the loss of livelihood, a case in point is some inequality in access to livelihood within the irrigation scheme which is not sustainable in the long term.
The research project will be published in the form of journal articles and policy briefs targeting different policymakers and institutions over the course of 2019. See event photos here