Once a year the “Coordination Center for Equal Opportunities, Advancement of Women and Gender Studies” at the University Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) awards this prize for the best scientific thesis on a gender and diversity specific topic at the university. The selected master's thesis of Ayelech Kidie Mengesha investigated the impact of rural land certification on household’s decision to plant trees with a specific focus on women’s rights to trees in the Gozamen District in East Gojjam Zone, Ethiopia. She was nominated for the MSc and subsequently the PhD grant by the APPEAR project EduLAND2 – a project that aims at improving the education of land administration in Ethiopia – for which she has been actively engaged in the past year by contributing insights through her research papers and studies.
Her research topic is highly relevant in the context of agroforestry and gender issues. The gender-specific approach is treated in the work as a cross-sectional issue. The thesis is a substantial contribution to an equal access to land and other natural resources between male and female persons in a local and global context referring to SDG 5 - Gender Equality.
It is already the second time that an APPEAR scholarship holder wins the Inge Dirmhirn Prize. In 2016, Lemlem Aregu Behailu received the prize for her research on: “Resilience of communal grasslands in the Ethiopian highlands: Integrating gender and social learning”.
Ayelech Kidie Mengesha has been an APPEAR scholarship holder since March 2017. She has completed her second master’s degree in mountain forestry at BOKU University in February 2019. Currently she is a PhD student at BOKU, Vienna and she is the coordinator of Debre Markos University (DMU) in the Africa-UniNet.