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Tatek Abebe



Fakultet for samfunnsvitenskap og teknologiledelse


Norsk senter for barneforskning

Presentation My project Formidling

Dr Tatek Abebe



B.A (Distinction) in Geography, Addis Ababa University; M.Phil in Development Studies, PhD in Geography, NTNU.


Research Interests

Geographies of children and youth; theorizing childhoods; child-focused research methdolgies and ethics; life-course perspectives; poverty, rural and urban livelihoods; orphanhood and the social impacts of AIDS; social change in Africa.


Current Teaching

  • Children and Development in the Global South (Convenor)
  • Methods and Ethics in Childhood Studies (Convenor)
  • Urban Children and Youth in Africa (NTNU/AAU, Co-taught with Dr Nicola Ansell of Brunel University)
  • Geographies of Health and Development (Contributor)
  • Introduction to African Studies (Contributor).


  • Coping with AIDS: the Vulnerability and Livelihood Strategies of Orphans in Ethiopia, Principal Investigator, NOK 1.97 million, Research Council of Norway, 2004-2007 (with Prof. Asbjørn Aase)
  • Poverty and the Livelihood Pathways of Young People in Rural and Urban Ethiopia (Post-doctoral Fellowship 2008-2010), Faculty of Social Sciences and Technology Mangement, NTNU.
  • Children, Young People and Local Knowledge in Ethiopia and Zambia, Affiliated Researcher; NOK 5 million, Norwegian Council for Collaboration in Research and Education (NUFU 2007-2011) Dr Anne Trine Kjørholt and Dr Fikre Desalegn (Project Coordinators).
  • A Literature Review on the Linkages Between Youth Participation and Sustainable Urban Development. NOK 500 000, Lead Researcher (2010-2011, with Dr Anne Trine Kjørholt), United Nations Program for Human Settlement, UN-Habitat.
  • Nordic Network of African Childhood and Youth Research (NoNACYR: 2011-2013), Coordinator, NOK 900 000, NordForsk.



  • (2012). Abebe, T. Conclusion: Orphanhood, poverty and the challenges for care: review of global policy trends. In: J. D. Bailey (ed) Orphan Care: A Comparative View. Kumarian Press.
  • (2012). Abebe, T. Interdependent rights and agency: children's role in collective livelihood strategies in rural Ethiopia. In: Nieuwenhuys, O. and K. Hanson (eds.) Living Rights: Theorizing Children's Rights in International Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • (2012). Skovdal, M. and Abebe, T. Reflexivity and dialogue: methodological and socio-ethical dilemmas in research with AIDS-affected children in East Africa. Ethics, Policy and Environment, 15 (1) 77-96.
  • (2012). Abebe, T. AIDS-affected children, family collectives and the social dynamics of care in Ethiopia. Geoforum 43 (2012), 540-550. 
  • (2011). Abebe, T. and Bessell, S. Dominant discourses, debates and silences on child labour in Africa and Asia. Third World Quarterly 32 (4), 765–786
  • (2011). Abebe, T. with Kjørholt, A T. Young People, Participation, and Sustainable Development in an Urbanizing World. Nairobi: United Nations Human Settlement Program.
  • (2011). Abebe, T. Child labour, gender and schooling in Ethiopia: rural children’s perspectives. In: Evers, S., Notermans, C. and E. van Ommering, E. (eds.) Not Just a Victim: The Child as a Catalyst and Witness of Contemporary Africa, pp. 117–172. Leiden: Brill.
  • (2010). Abebe, T. and Skovdal, M. Livelihoods, care and the familial relations of orphans in eastern Africa. AIDS Care. 22 (5), 590-576.
  • (2010). Abebe, T. Beyond the 'orphan burden': understanding care for and by AIDS-affected children in Africa. Geography Compass 4 (5), 460-474.
  • (2009). Ennew, J., Abebe, T. and Kjørholt, AT. The Right to be Properly Researched: How to Do Rights-based, Scientific Research with Children. Bangkok: Black on White Publications.
  • (2009). Abebe, T. Begging as a livelihood pathway of street children in Addis Ababa. Forum for Development Studies, 36 (2), 275-300.
  • (2009). Abebe, T. Child labour in the global South: a review and critical commentary. Barn/Nordic Journal of Child Research 2009 (3-4), 11-28. 
  • (2009). Abebe, T. Shik'alla: the survival strategies of Ethiopian child beggars. In: S. Ege, H. Aspen, B. Teferra and S. Bekele, (eds.) Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Ethiopian Studies. pp. 1033-1047. 
  • (2009). Abebe, T. Multiple methods, complex dilemmas: negotiating socio-ethical spaces in participatory research with disadvantaged children. Children’s Geographies 7 (4), 451-465.  
  • (2009). Abebe, T. Orphanhood, poverty and the care dilemma: review of global policy trends. Social Work and Society 7 (1), 70-85.
  • (2009). Abebe, T. and Kjorholt, AT. Social actors and victims of exploitation: working children in the cash economy of Ethiopia’s South. Childhood 16 (2): 175-194.
  • (2008). Abebe, T. The Ethiopian family collective and child agency. Barn/Nordic Journal of Child Research 3 (2008): 89-108.
  • (2008). Abebe, T. Trapped between disparate worlds: the livelihoods, socialisation and schooling contexts of children in rural Ethiopia. Childhoods Today, 2 (1) 1-24, University of Sheffield.
  • (2008). Abebe, T. Earning a living on the margins: begging, street work and the socio-spatial experiences of children in Addis Ababa. Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography. 90 (3): 271-284.
  • (2008). Abebe, T. Ethiopian Childhoods: A Case Study of the Lives of Orphans and Working Children. Published Doctoral Thesis No. 48, NTNU.
  • (2008). Abebe, T. Changing livelihoods, changing childhoods: patterns of children’s work in rural southern Ethiopia. In Aitken, S., R. Lund and AT Kjørholt (eds.) Global Childhoods: Globalization, Development and Young People Routledge, pp. 77-94.
  • (2007). Abebe, T.and A. Aase. Children, AIDS and the politics of orphan care in Ethiopia: the extended family revisited. Social Science and Medicine 64 (10) 2058-2069. 
  • (2007). Abebe, T. Changing livelihoods, changing childhoods: patterns of children’s work in rural southern Ethiopia. Children’s Geographies 5 (1-2): 77-93. 
  • (2006). Abebe, T. Rural children’s work in Gedeo, southern Ethiopia: continuity and change. Acta Geographica–Trondheim, Series B, Nr. 10. Department of Geography, NTNU, Trondheim.
  • (2005). Abebe, T. Geographical dimensions of AIDS orphanhood in sub-Saharan Africa. Norwegian Journal of Geography 59 (1) 37-47.
  • (2002). Abebe, T. Methodological problems and approaches to researching ‘at risk’ children. In; Setten, G. and S. Rudsar (eds.) Geographical Methods: Power and Morality, Conference Proceeding, Series A, No. 2, 27-49. Trondheim: NTNU.


  • Living off markets: young agricultural entrepreneurs and cash crops in Ethiopia. 11th Nordic Youth Research Symposium: Global / Local Youth – New Civic Cultures, Rights and Responsibilities, 15-17 June 2011 Turku.
  • Participatory ethics in research with marginalized children. Children and Knowledge Production. 3rd International Conference of the Finnish Society of Childhood Studies. 9-12 June 2010, Jyvaskyla.
  • Gendered work and Schooling in rural Ethiopia. Symposium on Childhood Studies in Africa – Ecology, Representation and Culture. 20th International Conference of the Society of Behavioral Development, ISSBD 18 -23 July 2010, Lusaka.
  • Producing ethical spaces in qualitative research with vulnerable young people. Paper presented at a session on Qualitative Research Methodologies, Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, 14 – 18th April 2010, Washington DC.
  • Ethics and participation in rights-based research with vulnerable children. Invited speaker on the RTD on "Migration and Dislocation", Children's Rights at a cross-roads: 20th anniversary conference of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 November - 2 December, Addis Ababa.
  • Photographs of/by Ethiopian children: working, playing, living and learning. Digital Photo exhibition, Children's Rights at a cross-roads: 20th anniversary conference of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 November - 2 December 2009, Addis Ababa.
  • Participatory methds and ethics in childhood research: reflections on fieldwork with children in rural and urban Ethiopia. Invited speaker on NUFU-funded International Childhood Studies seminar, 24 - 27th November, 2009, Addis Ababa.
  • Gendered work and schooling in rural southern Ethiopia: what children say. 17th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES-09), 2-6th November 2009, Addis Ababa.
  • Young people in contemporary Africa [session organizer], Nordic Africa Days - 09, Africa - In Search of Alternatives, 1-3 October, Trondheim.
  • Young peoples' spaces of livelihoods in post-rural development contexts of Ethiopia. 3rd Nordic Geographers Meeting, Change – Society, Environment and Science in Transition, 8 – 11th June 2009, Turku.
  • Negotiating marginality: young beggars' socio-spatial lives in Addis Ababa. Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, 22nd–27th March 2009, Las Vegas.
  • Interdependent agency: children's participation in collective livelihood strategies in rural Ethiopia. Living Rights: Theorizing Children's Rights in International Development, 19-20th January 2009, Sion.  
  • Contemporary childhoods in Ethiopia: a socio-spatial overview. 6th October 2008, Invited speaker, Dilla University.
  • Child labor in rural Ethiopia: children’s perspectives. African Children in Focus: A Paradigm Shift in Methodology and Theory? Interdisciplinary Conference, 18-19 September 2008, Leiden.
  • Livelihoods, care and the familial relations of orphans in Gedeo, Ethiopia. Child and Youth Research in the 21st Century: A Critical Appraisal, International Conference organized by International Childhood and Youth Research Network (ICYRNet), May 28-29, 2008, European University of Cyprus, Nicosia.
  • Becoming and being orphan in contemporary Ethiopia. Analytic Abstractions, Lived Realities: Politics, Law and Economy in Africa International interdisciplinary research conference, 13-14 May 2008, Trondheim.
  • Family collectives, interdependence and children’s agency: an Ethiopian study. Invited Speaker on 25th Anniversary Conference of the Norwegian Centre for Child Research, Childhood – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. 21-23rd April, 2008, Trondheim.
  • Summary of Ethiopian Childhoods: A Case Study of the Lives of Orphans and Working Children, PhD defence presentation. 22 Feb 2008, Trondheim.
  • The Ethiopian Family Collective and Child Agency. Public lecture in partial fulfillment for the degree of philosophae (PhD) in Geography, 22 Feb 2008, NTNU, Trondheim. 
  • Current literature and research networks concerning African children. Seminar on International Childhood Studies, 27-28 Nov., 2007, University of Lusaka, Lusaka. 
  • Shik'alla: business boys and girls in the context of begging in Addis Ababa. 16th International Conference on Ethiopian Studies, 2-6th July 2007, Trondheim. 
  • Working children’s perspectives of health and well-being in urban Ethiopia. 2nd Nordic Geographers Meeting, Meeting New Waves of Globalisation, 14-17th June, Bergen.
  • Doing development right: the challenges of childcare in the context of poverty and livelihood transitions in Ethiopia. 5th African conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, 27th -29th March 2007. Kampala.
  • Childhood is not meant to be like this': contesting representations of children in black and white. Coastline seminar, Representations of children and childhood in a globalised world; 28.09.2006 - 01.10.2006 (Joint paper; presented by Kjorholt, AT.), Lofoten.
  •  ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’: orphanhood, poverty and the disrupted landscape of care. Norwegian Association for Development Researchers Annual conference: Ethics, Development and Human Rights, Sept 13-15 2006, Oslo.
  • Continuity and change in rural children’s work in Gedeo, southern Ethiopia. Invited speaker on research seminar/ PhD course, Researching children and childhood in a globalised world, 29-31st May 2006, Trondheim.
  • Doing fieldwork with orphans and working children. Norwegian Centre for Child Research, 24 May 2006, NTNU, Trondheim.
  • Ecology as metaphor: the cultural politics of orphan care in Ethiopia. Childhoods 2005: Growing up in emerging and transforming societies, June 29-July 3, 2005, Oslo. 
  • Children, AIDS and the politics of orphanhood in Ethiopia. Nordic Africa Institute; June 22, 2005, Uppsala.
  • Conditioned and transformed childhoods in Ethiopia. International Workshop, The Global Child: Globalization, Development and Local Constructions of Childhood, Norwegian Centre for Child Research, 21-24 March 2005, Trondheim.
  • Globalisation and the social construction of orphanhood. Forum for Globalisation Studies, NTNU, 24 December 2004, Trondheim.
  • Using indices as a research tradition: methodological reflections on research with children in southern Ethiopia. 3rd multi-disciplinary conference of Unity University College, June 22-25 2003, Addis Ababa.
  • The link between academic research and development practice. Save the Children Norway, April 24, 2002, Oslo.
  • Research with children ‘at risk’ in southern Ethiopia. Norwegian Association of Geographers Annual Conference, Geographical Methods – Power and Morality on Geography, 5th – 6th April 2002, Trondheim.  

Popular disseminations/Media appearances

  • 'Hjelp til følerdrelose barn', Adresseavisen, 24th September 2009. 
  • 'Vi forstår ikke barna i Afrika' Adresseavisen, 3rd June 2009 p. 34-35.
  • 'Vestlig barndomsideal fremmed for Afrika' (English translation –'Western childhood ideals foreign to Africa' Gemini, 2009: (2) 16-17.
  • 'Aids i Etiopia: - Foreldreløse barn en ressurs' (English translation: AIDS in Ethiopia: orphans as resources to extended families) http://www.forskning.no/Artikler/2005/november/1133361128.33
  • 'The politics of orphanhood: an Ethiopian study' IPP-SHR - International Program of Psycho-Social Health Research (IPP-SHR), Podcast No 22, 2008. Central Queensland University, Australia. http://www.ipp-shr.cqu.edu.au/podcasts/?id=29

Other Activities 

  • Thesis examiner, M.Phil in Development Studies, M.Phil in Globalization Studies, M.Phil in Human Development (NTNU); MPhil in Gender and Development (U of Bergen).
  • Facilitator of several capacity building workshops in Ethiopia and Norway on 'Doing Participatory Research with Children' (led by Dr Judith Ennew).
  • Editorial Board Member of Childhood.
  • Board Member of the African Network of Child Rights Research, CODESRIA.
  • Peer review of manuscripts for journals and book proposal in childhood studies, geography and development studies.  

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