Ejigayehu
Shiferaw

Project: Promoting green infrastructure for the resilience of a city

Ejigayehu is a mother of two children who has spent half of her life in academia and research. She studied her bachelor's and Masters degrees in Biology from Haramaya University, Ethiopia. She started her career as a graduate assistant in 2004 and have served the university with different academic ranks. Due to her keen interest to pursue an environmental science work, Ejigayehu trained for an M.Sc in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University of the Netherlands. Now she is a Ph.D fellow at Center for Environmental Science of Addis Ababa University, specializing in natural resources management. Before her PhD, Ejigayehu was solely engaged in teaching in universities and seldom involved in community service activities such as environmental awareness creation and urban agriculture promotion programs. As she becomes increasingly aware of the complexity of environmental challenges we are facing today, she wants to explore new ideas and strategies to ensure sustainable development.

HER PROJECT

My Ph.D research is aimed at exploring how urban green infrastructures (UGI) should be planned and managed to enhance ecosystem services; and to promote their benefits as nature-based solutions for mitigating and adapting to local climate change impacts. It will be carried out in a semi-arid secondary city, Dire Dawa in three phases.

  1. Scoping phase: for aligning objectives with policy priorities and identifying “citizen’s choice” as societal steering process

  2. Assessment phase: to make an integrated ecosystem services assessment of urban green spaces through a social-ecological lens.

  3. By integrating and synthesizing knowledge produced from the two phases, a small scale “testable” project will be conceived, planned, and recommended for implementation. Research outputs will be disseminated and science-driven policy recommendations will be given. Additionally, findings from this research will provide practical and conceptual guidance on re-(inventing) sustainable and resilient city considering its vulnerabilities for climate change impacts.

In order to bring synergies, strong collaboration is needed among government sectors, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and civil society. I am excited to join the Women4Climate programme so that I can explore innovative insights and gain new knowledge and skills for my future professional development.

I was largely overwhelmed by the complex challenges faced by cities due to rapid urbanization in Ethiopia. For city authorities, it is a huge burden to address rising socio-economic and environmental issues. As set by the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: “to make cities resilient, inclusive and sustainable” innovative adaptive urban planning approaches are required. This circumstance gears my research focus to assess the ecosystem services and dis-services of urban green infrastructure in order to advance and stimulate discussions that are informed by science in the pursuit of planning a resilient city.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

At my age, witnessing the loss of Lake Haramaya, the devastation of natural forests, and the pollution of rivers and streams is regrettable. It was one of the triggering factors for me to shift my field of study to environmental science. Inevitably, the “poverty-trap” and lack of environmental awareness worsen the environmental crisis in developing countries. Sadly, women and children are the most to be affected by the crisis. As a woman educator I should work towards influencing my two children’s, school children’s, young men’s and women’s, and society’s attitude to ‘Mother Nature’. I am committed to creating a sustainable and healthy planet for our future generations by educating people and conducting collaborative research at national and global levels.