Bethlehem Astella & Zerayehu Endalew, Ethiopia
Working with Locals and Coffee to Promote Conservation and Resilient Livelihoods around Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
Bethlehem Astella is a PhD candidate in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources (HDNR) at Colorado State University (CSU). She was born in Ethiopia and has dedicated her research to assessing natural resource conflicts in Ethiopia’s national parks and developing community based conservation as well as examining the effects of tourism in the country. She has also been awarded a CSU Presidential Fellowship in 2016.
Zerayehu Endalew is the Public Relation and Education Officer at the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program and the Community engagement leader at Konjo Coffee. She was born in Ethiopia and will be an on-the-ground practitioner to provide practical expertise, local knowledge and stakeholder networking from her experiences working in the field. In addition to speaking three languages, Zerayehu has a bachelor’s degree and has worked in ecotourism and conservation communication for seven years.
The team will conduct a participatory, mixed methods research project to analyze the livelihood and conservation outcomes of an innovative collaborative conservation business model on the buffer zone of Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP), Ethiopia. The goal is to research the conditions that influence the effectiveness of community based conservation (CBC) programs of a new coffee cooperative, Konjo Coffee. This CBC project is striving to enhance adaptive livelihoods through community entrepreneurship initiatives, diversifying income sources, and encouraging investment in community infrastructure. The CBC project will strengthen conservation outcomes through reforestation and forest conservation.