objective of the WeD research in Ethiopia is to contribute to an
improved understanding of the dynamics of poverty, inequality and
quality of life and the interlinkages between them.
Within the Ethiopian context, the WeD team is seeking
to analyse the production, reproduction and reduction of poverty
within inequality dynamics and in relation to the cultural constructions
of subjective wellbeing. This will be achieved through an in-depth
study of six sites, four rural and two urban. The rural sites are
in the two largest regions, and in each case one site is close to
market and state influences and the other more remote and less integrated.
One of the urban sites is a key town for step migration from one
of the selected rural sites to the capital city. The other site
is located in Sakech, a market area on the outskirts of the capital
city Addis Ababa in which a range of manifestations of poverty and
destitution are apparent.
Given considerable diversity in terms of ecology,
livelihoods, cultures and societies, and in order to locate the
selected sites meaningfully within the broader Ethiopian context,
the country-wide analysis is based on grounding research in 20 sites
conducted in the summer of 2003. This wider coverage enables the
WeD project to situate the sites selected for in-depth study through
both longitudinal panel data as well as comparative spatial analysis
covering much of the country's diversity.
North Shewa site
Located in Amhara Region, North Shewa Zone, Dessu is a small lowland
site producing mainly tef¸ maize and sorghum, with some fruit
around the river. The site is vulnerable to famine.
Located in Amhara Region, East Gojjam Zone, Yelem is a
mid-altitude site producing cereals, especially tef and wheat. Cereals,
livestock and their products are the main sources of cash as well
as some trade and migration. The site is fairly rich.
Located in Oromia Region, Arssi Zone, Kedada is a lowland area by
the Awash river. The main crops are maize and tef, as well as pulses.
The main source of cash are livestock and firewood sales. The Oromo
population is only partly settled, and the site is vulnerable to
drought despite some irrigation, and malaria poses a major problem.
South Shewa site
Located close to the town of Shashemene in Oromia Region, Eastern
Shewa Zone, Tirfe is on the edge of the Rift Valley. The main products
are cereals, pulses, oilseeds and vegetables. The site produces
cereals and vegetables, notably potatoes which are sold as cash
crops as are livestock. The site has become rich due to its linkages
with Shashemene and involvement in the market economy.
This market area on the outskirts of Addis Ababa is well known for
the sale of secondhand clothes. It is an area of in-migration and
mixed populations from varied backgrounds with many very poor inhabitants,
many involved in petty trade. Many of the features of urban poverty
are clearly visible. There is a dynamic group of burial associations
that is working to improve conditions for particular poor people
including AIDS orphans, the elderly, and the unemployed.
Located on the edge of the Rift Valley in the Oromia Region but
close to the border with the Southern Region, this town is at the
cross-roads of southern Ethiopia, and is an important trade centre
inhabited by migrants from all over the country. There is a dynamic
market with a range of local and imported agricultural produce,
craftwork and manufactured goods. Major aspects of urban poverty
are visible, and social exclusion and occupational and ethnic hieracrchies
are in evidence.