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Voices of Tigray

Eastern & Southern Africa
Agency & Participation

Voices of Tigray documents the experiences and aspirations of eight adolescents between 15 and 17 years old living in Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region of Ethiopia, in the aftermath of the Tigray War. In November 2020, fighting broke out between the Ethiopian Federal Government forces and forces aligned with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). During the conflict, more than 875,000 refugees fled the country and a further 2.75 million people were internally displaced
within Ethiopia. Over half of those displaced were children and young people. More than half of the young people in Tigray report that they have seen someone being killed or seriously injured, or that a friend or family member has been injured, killed or disappeared due to the conflict.

During the government’s closure of Tigray’s borders and communications blackout, the Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network maintained contact with adolescents affected by the conflict through Reliance Consultancy, a research group based in Mekelle. Mekelle saw intense fighting during the two-year war. Strikes hit schools, including a kindergarten. While formal hostilities ended in November 2020 with a tenuous peace agreement, “complete peace remains elusive”. Today, Mekelle hosts large numbers of internally displaced persons and disabled veterans, including young people formerly associated with armed forces. Unemployment is high among young people and approaches 40% among internally displaced people. A substantial portion of the population lives under threat of famine.

Using a PhotoVoice methodology, this group of eight adolescents documented how the conflict changed their lives, their community, and the aspirations they hold for themselves and their country. The CPC Learning Network sincerely thanks the young people of Mekelle who participated in this project and shared their experiences and stories. The photos and words featured in this exhibit are their own.

Voices of Tigray References
Ware, Matthew and Lau, Ling San
Year of Publication

References from the 2024 Voices of Tigray display, hosted at the Program on Forced Migration and Health's 25th Anniversary Reflection Event

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