This paper draws on qualitative, longitudinal data collected between 2017 and 2022 to explore the diverse and interwoven risks facing adolescents (and their families) living in the lowland areas of the Oromia and Afar regions.
Ethiopia’s economic, social, and environmental risks are not distributed equally. Its lowland areas lag behind its upland plateau on myriad development indicators, and they are at much greater risk of climate change impacts. Attending to this imbalance is critical if Ethiopia is to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and takes on heightened import given the size of its youth population.
This paper draws on qualitative, longitudinal data collected between 2017 and 2022 to explore the diverse and interwoven risks facing adolescents (and their families) living in the lowland areas of the Oromia and Afar regions. While risks—including drought, invasive species, population growth, and restrictive gender norms—are similar across research locations, differences in traditional livelihoods and government investments mean that outcomes are highly varied.
- In agriculturalist Oromia, improved access to transportation infrastructure in particular has resulted in such improved livelihoods that it is not uncommon for households to prioritise earning over learning. This is especially true for girls.
- In pastoralist Afar, where many communities have extremely limited access to potable water and education, current and future lives and livelihoods remain truncated.
Authors: Elizabeth Presler-Marshall, Workneh Yadete, Nicola Jones and Yitagesu Gebreyehu
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