I am a lecturer and researcher at Hawassa University, College of Agriculture, Ethiopia. As an academician affiliated to an agricultural institute, I have been involved in training and teaching undergraduate students with the broader aim of building capacity to improve sustainable natural resource management and food security, two of the main policy priorities in many developing countries including Ethiopia. Besides teaching and conducting research activities, I had the opportunity to work closely with local communities in the watershed-based Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Project under the Canadian International Development Agency’s University Partnerships in Cooperation and Development (CIDA/UPCD) programme addressing community-based participatory natural resource management and conservation.
I am currently on study leave for my PhD with the Institute of Life Sciences, Scuola Superiore SantAnna (SSSUP), Italy. My PhD study aims at addressing strategies of utilizing, conserving and developing plant genetic resources for the benefit of culturally diverse indigenous communities in the face of the current multifaceted changing conditions. Supported by the Christensen Fund and SSSUP, the study is being carried out in two phases. In the first phase, we (our research group) intend to understand socio-cultural processes and community practices involved in management and conservation of biodiversity in the context of biologically and culturally diverse landscapes in Southern Ethiopia. In the second phase, we address the development of strategies to support biocultural diversity conservation, building on community practices and indigenous knowledge systems. For this we use integrated approaches involving Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRA), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Molecular Genetic Analsysis (MGA). We anticipate our results will support the establishment of conservation parks and conservation microcenters which could be used as eco-truism attraction for the improvement of local community livelihoods, and as research and training centers for the scientific community. Moreover, outputs from the study will contribute to efforts in sustainable management and conservation of genetic resources, and hence livelihoods of farmers and food security in the region.
In the future, I would like to work on the integration of biocultural diversity education as mainstream in the curricula of higher academic institutions, which is crucial for the development of a new generation of environmentalists and conservationists to face ever changing environments and climates.
I want to develop my career as a biocultural diversity conservationist contributing to food security and reduction of biodiversity loss through capacity building in research and training.