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Class 20 (2021-2023)

Yared Shumete Asfaw, Ethiopia

Duke University – Master in International Development Policy

Agriculture and NRM | Energy | Livelihoods | Peace-building

Yared has a Bachelor of Science degree in Plant Science from Haramaya University and a postgraduate degree in environmental Science from Addis Ababa University. He has been leveraging that education for more than twelve years in different Environment and Natural Resource Management professional posts.

In his early career as an Assistant Researcher of the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute focusing on Integrated Watershed Management, he introduced, promoted, and scaled up the use of biological and physical soil and water conservation measures in the Assosa Agricultural Research Center and in the surrounding smallholder farmers farmlands. Continuing his professional service in the Ethiopian Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Commission as an Environmental Conservation Expert, he has supported the development and implementation of different climate change adaptation and mitigation projects. These have helped local communities to rehabilitate their degraded natural resources and improve their livelihoods through implementing different physical and biological soil and water conservation measures, increasing agricultural productivity, engaging communities in on-farm and off-farm income generating activities and facilitating community engagement and discussion on the benefit sharing mechanisms of communal resources.

When he joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an international NGO, as Project Officer, he provided technical support and coordinated expert groups in supporting communities to improve their natural resource base and agricultural productivity, establish agribusinesses, diversify communities livelihoods, increase access to safe drinking water for humans and livestock, improve health and nutrition status of communities and promote sanitation and hygienic practices within communities. As part of his technical support, peacebuilding measures have been integrated with these interventions by facilitating community conversations and discussions between upstream and downstream communities, formulating community by-laws, and forming an economic integration among their different livelihoods so that sustained development and peace are maintained.

After CRS, Yared joined United Nations Development Programme as Project Manager in the areas of Environment and Energy and has led and coordinated the promotion and dissemination of rural energy technology products for the rural poor, keeping the pressure on natural resources minimal. In this intervention, he has strengthened the capacity of energy service providers and rural communities to benefit from the private sector driven and market-based dissemination of various types of rural energy technology solutions.

When he completes his studies in the MIDP program, he aspires to advocate the complementarity of natural resource management-development-peace to solve the environmental, social, economic, and political challenges of most poor rural households in many developing nations. With this scope, in the short-run, he will be working with development organizations that promote natural resource management for peace building. Later in his career, he will work towards setting-up a non-profit social enterprise that champions natural resources conservation for sustainable development and peace.