The Displacement of Oromo Farmers: A Critical Understanding of its Impacts and the Role of its Community Members

Summer 2016

Iman Abdella : Sociology, Political Economy Minor

Donor: Anselm Fund
Mentor: Michael Burawoy

The further one reaches towards the outer fields of Oromo, the closer one gets towards the chaotic infrastructures currently in place. Since late November 2015, dozens of violent confrontations have emerged in towns across Ethiopia, merging into the central Oromia region, which is home to the largest ethnic group, the Oromo. Protesters are opposed to party members and their current master plan, — being the fight against an urban plan. Most refer to such plan as the “master plan,” a new urban infrastructure development project in Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia), that would weigh into the surrounding towns in Oromia. The protests are due to the fact that the Ethiopian government is currently displacing Oromo farmers in order to retain such land and utilize to their benefit, regardless of its impacts to the Oromo people, and the community surrounding that land.

I will be studying the Land Rights currently partaking in Ethiopia by critically addressing the socioeconomic factors involved; and how it impacts civilians. I want to understand how does the displacement of Oromo farmers impact the Oromo community; as well as the role the youth have in the uprising against governmental officials. My study will cross examine the impacts on the displacement of Oromo farmers and how it impacts the community, and the role youth have in such massive protests and outbreaks. 

To the Wishek Foundation, I wish to express my upmost gratitude for providing me with the funding that will support me in conducting my research in Ethiopia. When applying for this grant, I was very hesitant. I was not sure if my work had value to other research, and whether or not I would be the proper individual to conduct such heavy research. However, when being selected as a SURF Fellow, and learning that the donors from the Wishek Foundation are not only willing, but eager to support me in my studies, my attitude began to change. I found myself feeling supported, as the Wishek Foundation believed in me. I would like to sincerely thank the Wishek Foundation, SURF, and my faculty mentor for such a great opportunity. Thank you for believing in me, and showing me that anything is possible.