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Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies (IEGDS)

Description of the Institute

Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies (IEGDS) is a centre for graduate studies, research and outreach operating under the managing board of the university. IEGDS highlights both the need for specialized graduate MSc degree awarding studies in Environment, gender and development studies, with the integrations of environment, gender analysis and a gender relations perspective. The institute will offer graduate level courses and provides substantial input to student’s Masters Dissertation research. Short courses and workshops are also offered on environment, gender planning and gender analysis in various development fields


IEGDS envisions being the centre of excellence in Environment Gender and Development Studies in Ethiopia.

Based on its vision IEGDS:

  • Will continue its leadership role in offering excellence academic programs relevant to regional needs and responsive to students’ interests. Research will be concentrated toward focal areas and are to be conducted by core teams. Outreach will be community-service-oriented.

  • Will be consolidated and financially viable. The School activities including the students, staff, and curricula, will be subject to quality assessment

  • It may create a room for all interested academies to work together so as to sole the development predicaments

  • Will contribute to the development of human power of the university and the state at large.


IEGDS mission is to promote capacity building, education and applied research programs coupled with consulting and advising services, networking and partnership building activities on environment, Gender and Development in Ethiopia.

IEGDS’s mission is "to develop highly qualified and committed professionals who will play a leading role in the sustainable development of the country and its integration into the global economy". The institute will serve the human resource development needs of developing countries in Ethiopia taking into account their specific environment, development priorities, gender issues and social values.

Objectives of the Institute

General objective

By functioning as an academic arm of community based efforts for the advancement of women, equity-based sustainable development and poverty alleviation, IEGDS aims to work as a regional centre of excellence in the field of Environment, gender and development studies, and to integrate gender as a key intellectual perspective and ethical concern in development.

Major components

  • Teaching post-graduate students in IEGDS to create environmental, development practitioners environment, gender experts, managers and scientists;

  • Generating knowledge through interdisciplinary research and publication in technology, development, and gender relations in Ethiopian societies;

  • Providing advice and assistance to academic, policy units and external agencies with regards to environment, gender issues and gender-responsive development strategies;

  • Providing short-term courses to development practitioners and organizations in Ethiopia ;

  • Forging linkages with international women’s studies and gender studies research networks and associations to engage in the current drift of debates and issues that would enhance curriculum building.


In the institute, there is one postgraduate master program with four specializations

  • PG Program on: Environment, Gender and Development Studies (EGDS)

  • Specializations:

  • Agri-Business Management

  • Gender and Development Studies

  • Regional and Rural Development Planning

  • Urban Environment Management

Running Projects/ Research and community Services

Under the institute, the following are the projects running with wider-range research and community service objectives

  1. Integrated Seed Sector Development financed by the Netherlands government Embasy this multi regional project which includes Bahirdar University, Haremoya university, Hawasa university and Oromiya Seed Enterprise.

  2. Seed Safety through Diversity financed by the Norwegian government

  3. Supporting women entrepreneurship in food product commercialization financed by International Development Research Center (IDRC) of the Canadian government. This project is empowering women cooperatives established for food product packaging and marketing,. One PhD student sent to Pen State University, USA in collaboration with the project and department of sociology

  4. Community based Biodiversity Management and Resilience financed by matching fund of Mekelle University and International coordination for Community based Biodiversity Management and Resilience. FAO international Treaty with global connection of 12 countries of Africa (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethopia, Malawi & Bening), Lating America (Brazil, Niquaragua, Gautemela) and South Asia (Nepal, Bangladish and India). The global coordinator is LIBIRD (Nepal) and African Coordinator is Zimbabw

  5. Network project: SOLIBAM ( Strategies for Organic and Low-input Integrated Breeding and Management) EC funded project with ICARDA

  • Women and Food Science project with Norwegian university of life science

  1. Courting catastrophe? Humanitarian policy and practice in a changing climate funded by the Norwegian Research Council. In this project the connection of different countries, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, and many organisations like Noragric, IDS (UK), Red cross/Red Crescent Norway and Development fund also involved

Major research Interest Areas

The Institute is interested in development related research areas, such as

  • Gender and development

  • Rural development

  • Seed technology and marketing

  • Biodiversity

  • Marketing

  • Agribusiness

  • Natural resource management

  • Food processing

  • Income generating activities

Local and International partnership

Local partnership

  • Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tigray

  • Tigray Agricultural Research Institute

  • Ethiopian Seed Enterprise

  • Marketing and Cooperative Agency

  • Agricultural transformation Agency

  • Relief Society of Tigray

  • Institute of Biodiversity Center

  • Institute of Sustainable Development

  • World Vision

  • Women’s Association of Tigray

  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research

  • Agri business Ethiopia

International Partners

  • Norwegian Research Council

  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB), NORAGRIC

  • Wagenign University, Center for Development and Innovation


  • UNDP Equator Prize

  • Sasakawa Global 2000


  • International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada


Name: Dr. Fetien Abay

Academic Rank: Associate professor in plant breeding and Seed

  • PhD from Norwegian University of life science in 2007

  • MSc. From University of Wales, Bengor in 1995

Department affiliation- Department of Crop and Horticultural Science

Short Academic CV:

Dr. Fetien Abay is one of the scientific researchers in the university and through her concerted effort she released three improved barley varieties, and she is also a prize winner in the University for her hard work in research and fund raising and running different projects. She was also one of the African female wide women in science prize as one of the top Five African Women Scientist. In 2009 she also received a presidential women development award in Ethiopia from the president of the federal democratic republic of Ethiopia.

Research interest and current research focus

She is a breeder and her focus of research is in breeding plants and seed and come up with an improved variety to enable the poor farmers ensure food security. She advocates biodiversity and agro ecology in her research and project implementation.

Focus of teaching-

  • Biometry

  • plant breeding

  • Statistics

Important publications:

  • Network analysis of barley seed flows in Tigray, Ethiopia: Supporting the design of strategies that contribute to on-farm management and plant genetic resources.(2011) Co-author

  • Additive main effects and Multiplicative Interactions Analysis of Yield Performances in Sesame (2011) Co-author in Journal of Dry land Agriculture.


  • Senate member of Mekelle University

  • Member of the regional panel of expert evaluators of African Youth and Women in science competition in 2012.

  • Gender Auditing, Adigrat Diocese Catholic Secretariat

  • International tailor-made trainer, International Agriculture Centre(Wagningen) and Ethiopian Seed Enterprise(ESE)

  • Board member of Tigray Women Association

  • Member of advisory board of momena Ethiopian Journal of science

Contact Address:

Fetien Abay (PhD)

Associate professor in plant breeding and seed

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: +251914313544

Mekelle University

PoBox. 231

Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia

quality assurance head

Name: Mesele Abera

Academic Rank: Lecturer

  • MA in Comparative Local Development from the University of Trento (Italy) in 2009

  • BA from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) in 2003

Department affiliation: Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies

Research interest and current research focus

  • Development Economics

  • Environment and Development

  • Local development

  • Development institutions and actors

Contact Address:

Mesele Abera

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. /This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: +251923801914

Mekelle University

PoBox. 231

Mekelle, Tigray, Ethiopia

Address of the institute

Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies (IEGDS)

Mekelle University

Main (Endayesus Campus)

P.O.Box 231

Website: www.mu.edu.et

Mekelle, Ethiopia

  1. Postgraduate program in Environment, Gender and Development Studies

Program Background

Environmental sustainability, social development, gender equity and economic growth are the four pillars and important cross-cutting issues associated with sustainable development. Undesirable environmental change has increasingly become a global phenomenon and reports natural disasters, such as drought, flooding, desertification are unfortunately becoming frequent occurrence in various parts of the world. Depletion of resources and environmental degradation tend to diminish the quality of life and they adversely affect humankind survival, development and welfare. The adverse effect on humankind is not only the consequence of natural calamities but also due to improper utilization and management of natural resources. The crisis is further compounded by gender inequality, the denial of resource ownership to women, unequal power relationship, exclusive decision making processes and non-participation in development programs.

Thus, EGDS master program is intended and committed to provide specialized courses concerning Environment, Gender and Development issues in an interdisciplinary manner thereby seeking means of enhancing the understanding of the students regarding complicated development subjects of the developing world. Thus, the main aim of the 2 years MA in EGDS is to training professionals in a multidisciplinary field with four specializations with the intent of meeting the increasing need for development experts in local, national and regional governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations.

Program Objectives

General Objective

The program is designed to educate post-graduates so that they would be equipped with the required knowledge, skills and maturity that enable them to scrutinize the links between gender, environment, and development and to identify the pressing challenges and approaches associated with sustainable development. It plans to inculcate practical ideas that would foster positive synergies from formulation to evaluation of policies in the development processes.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the program include:

  • Widening and deepening the scope of post-graduates theoretical and conceptual knowledge of gender and environment, and developing methodological capabilities that depend on critical analysis in evaluating development policies.

  • Developing the capability to place programs and draw up policies for a wide range of sectors within society in order to shape developmental endeavours.

  • Equipping post-graduates with the knowledge of Environment, Gender and Development theories and their intersectionality.

  • Developing and promoting gender equity issues and practices and gender sensitive responses in an attempt to improving socio-cultural and socio-economic development.

  • Educating post-graduates with proficiency to conducting research and acquiring skills in the specialized fields of the MA program.

  • Adopting techniques to conducting research by making social and and economic development analysis and providing understanding about the social dynamics of development models.

  • Preparing post-graduates with intellectual, professional and participatory skills on research and policy analysis, project planning and management, advisory and consultancy.

  • Enhancing skills and knowledge in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies.

Graduate Profile

The master program is designed to achieve mastery of content, acquisition of skills and the development of desirable attributes in the areas of Environment, Gender and Development. Learning experiences and marketable skills are incorporated into the program to bring about these desired outcomes, and assessment is designed to ensure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their achievements. The MA program designed under the Institute of Environment, Gender and Development Studies are distinguished from Ethiopia's other academic programs in that it provides graduates with cross-cutting experiences that allow for greater understanding on the interrelationships among the issues of Environment, Gender and Development. Furthermore, graduates will develop an integration of knowledge because of the multidisciplinary nature of the program.

Professional Profile

The post-graduate program in Environment, Gender and Development Studies’ prepares students for professional career opportunities that require analytical skills and a practical appreciation of the processes of development, development policy and implementation in the context of gender and environment. Trainees will also be equipped with the relevant knowledge pertaining to and informed by environment, gender and development perspectives. With such diverse training capacities, professionals with Master of Arts in EGDS, specializing in Agri-Business Management, Gender and Development Studies, Regional and Rural Development Planning, and Urban Environment Management would mean to have many career opportunities from endeavours in universities and colleges to office works in the areas of agribusiness, rural development, and urban management. They can also have broad opportunities to jobs in local and international GOs and NGOs.

Degree Nomenclature

Students completing the post-graduate program of Environment, Gender and Development Studies will be awarded:

Master of Art Degree in Environment, Gender and Development Studies:

  • Specialization inAgribusiness Management

  • Specialization inGender and Development Studies

  • Specialization inRegional and Rural Development Planning

  • Specialization inUrban Environment Management

Local and International Collaborations

Local Partners

Institutions collaborating in course work, advising and research administration in relation to the post-graduate program include:

  • Ministry/Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development

  • Ministry/Bureau of Women and Children’s Affairs

  • Soil & Water Resource Department

  • Ethiopia’s Agricultural Research Institute

  • Addis Ababa University, RLDS

  • Hawassa University, IEGDS

  • Jimma University, IEGDS

NGO’s and Private Sector Institutions

  • World Food Program


  • Relief Society of Tigray

  • Women’s Association

  • World Vision

International Partners

  • Norwegian Research Council

  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)

  • Wagenign University, Center for Development and Innovation

  • Li-BIRD

  • UNDP Equator Prize

  • Sasakawa Global 2000


  • International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada

  • NORAD III Project

Consultancies done

ICBPP (Integrated community Based Participatory Planning) evaluation performed across pilot districts in Tigray. This was conducted through the financial support of UNICEF. Staff members from CBE and Agriculture submitted the proposal under the Institute. Results have been presented in a workshop and accepted for implementation