Welcome to the LA-DEM-MED Postdoctoral Research Project

The LA-DEM-MED postdoctoral coaching is specifically designed to assist outstanding early career researchers to broaden their specialised research and explore avenues to publish their findings. Postdoctoral fellows are paired with experienced supervisors who are experts in their fields.

During the coaching programme, the postdoctoral fellows will be professionally advised, supported and supervised. They will learn to formulate and test scientific hypotheses, refine their writing and present their research to the greater scientific community. These scientific skills will be instrumental in shaping their independent research careers after their postdoctoral coaching is completed.

Fellows devote their full time to scholarly activities in furtherance of their individual research agendas. In addition, fellows contribute to the intellectual life of the LA-DEM-MED through mentoring predoc students, presenting their research and editing for the LA-DEM-MED Working Papers Series (WPS).

Current Research Themes, Postdoctoral Fellows and Coaches

Women’s Political Participation in Ethiopia

Postdoctoral fellow: Seblewongiel Ayenalem (PhD), Bahir Dar University Project coach: Prof. Ida Sabelis, VU Amsterdam & NWU, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Environmental Law Courts and Tribunals in Ethiopia

Project coach: Prof. Karin Arts, International Institute of Social Studies

Access to Justice for Women and other Vulnerable Groups in Ethiopia

Postdoctoral fellow: Tessema Simachew Belay (PhD), Bahir Dar University
Project coach: Dr. Prosper S. Maguchu LLM, VU Amsterdam

Women’s Political Participation in Ethiopia

Project leader: Seblewongiel Ayenalem (PhD), Bahir Dar University

Ethiopian women have undeniably played a role in the politics of the country since ancient times. However, the political structure which stretches from feudal to developmental democracy has been heinous to appreciate and recognize women’s role of decision making and political participation. Today, women aspire to establish or expand their function in the political, social, economic development of their country. This project addresses how women have played an essential function during political reform and crisis; it explores and lists barriers for women in terms of meaningful participation in politics in general, and during elections in particular. Special attention is paid to how women leaders impact the life of vulnerable women and children at macro, mezzo, and micro level during the time of the political reform which is accompanied by inter-conflicts.
Researchers and their projects
  • Bayleyegn Ayalew and Habtamu Muche: Lecture in Social Work, Department of Social Work, Bahir Dar University
    Project Title: Assessing Information Seeking Behaviour of Women during Election Period in Ethiopia: The Case of National Election 2021
  • Eden Fisseha, Assistant Professor of Law, School of Law, Bahir Dar University
    Project title: The Role of Political Parties for the Substantive Representation of Women in Ethiopia Parliament: The Case of Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia
  • Gojjam Andualem, Lecturer in Law School, Bahir Dar University
    Project Title: Women Participation in Regional Council: The case of Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia
  • Shimelis Cheru, Masters Student, Department of Gender and Development Studies, Bahir Dar University
    Project title: Barriers to Fully Exercise Women’s Political Rights: An Exploratory Sequential Mixed Method Study in Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia
  • Bekele Hailu: Masters Student, Department of Social Anthropologies, Bahir Dar University
    Project Title: Women Leadership in Irrigation Scheme in North Western Ethiopia: Evidence from Koga Irrigation Scheme

Environmental Law Courts and Tribunals in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is committed to sustainable development, which implies the right to live in a clean and healthy environment, climate resilient green economy, the polluter-pays principle, environmental federalism, and public interest litigation within the context environmental justice. The general objective of the research is to assess the viability of the establishment of environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs) in Ethiopia for the achievement of environmental justice. In this research, the establishment of ECTs in Ethiopia is considered to be viable when it has instrumental role, legal compatibility and administrative feasibility in the achievement of environmental justice.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are global in nature and universally applicable. They are integrated and indivisible, and the achievement of a particular SDG can at the same time contribute to the progress of other SDGs. The provision of access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels are among the means to realize sustainable development.

Correspondingly, environmental justice is one of the goals of sustainable development; and public interest litigation in environmental courts and tribunals (ECTs) is one of the innovative techniques for its implementation. According to Khoday and Perch, “Environmental justice is defined as an ideal of accountability and fairness in the protection and vindication of rights and the prevention and punishment of wrongs related to the impacts of ecological change on the poor and vulnerable in society.”

Furthermore, sound governance and enforcement of the environmental rule of law are crucial to delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in general and access to environmental justice in particular. Specialized ECTs are now widely viewed as a successful way to accomplish this important goal. They are now found on every inhabited continent, in large countries and small, under democratic and non-democratic regimes and in rich developed nations and the poorest least developed nations alike. At the moment, it is safe to conclude that ECTs are technically viable to flexibly and innovatively adopt public interest litigation, and they can be stretched across all legal systems in general and to the Ethiopian legal system in particular.

Access to Justice for Women and other Vulnerable Groups in Ethiopia

Project leader: Tessema Belay (PhD), Bahir Dar University

Access to justice is a fundamental principle of the rule of law and democracy, and necessary in the respect for human rights. Despite the recent progress made in this area in Ethiopia, women, as well as other vulnerable groups such as people living with disabilities and children still face barriers to accessing justice in its various regions. This is often the result of policy, legislative, institutional, and societal failure to remove discrimination, gender bias, stereotyping, stigma, harmful traditional practices and indifference. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s responses to it are having an unprecedented effect on the functioning of the justice system in Ethiopia. Through cutting-edge research, this project seeks to interrogate some of these old and new challenges to access to justice.

Researchers and their projects
  • Meselu Gobeze Mihret: Assistant Lecturer in Law at the School of Law of Dilla University
    Project title: Unveiling the Challenges of Ensuring Effective Access to the Criminal Justice System for Persons with Disability in Bahir Dar City.
  • Mikiyas Defabachew Kidemework Assistant Lecturer in Law at Dire Dawa University
    Project title: Access to Justice for Victims of Ethnic Based Violence: The Case of Oromiya Region
  • Neima Abrar Akmel Assistant Lecturer in Law at Jigjiga University
    Project title: Challenges of Access to Justice in Ethiopia for Street Children Facing Violence by the Police: The Case of Addis Ababa
LA-DEM-MED Working Paper Series

The Working Paper Series (WPS) aims to further excellence in scholarship on law, democracy and media matters in Ethiopia. It allows our predoc and postdoc fellows to bring their work-in-progress to a wide audience, facilitating fruitful discussion and critical input on topical ideas and projects to the benefit of both author and reader.


LA-DEM-MED is funded by NUFFIC under the Orange Knowledge Programme.