Getachew Redae Tafere

I was born in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. I grew up in a village called Bora, which was one of the bases of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Civil war, drought and struggle for freedom were some of my childhood memories. From a young age, I was fascinated by the resilience needed to achieve one’s goal in difficult and challenging times. My favorite childhood dream was to participate and lead a war for freedom as there was no other options to learn. I was assuming the fate of any one in the world who felt stifled and restricted by a lack of freedom. As soon as I reached secondary school, I had exposure to another version of the world which went beyond war and drought. I recognized that my fate was not only about participating and leading a war for freedom, but also having the chance to be educated.  Following this, I became really dedicated to my schooling, which required me to travel 35km a week. The suffering of the civil war and the distance I was traveling to get to school each week ignited my passion for education. I managed to become one of the top students in my high school and beyond. 

After I left high school, my plan was to become a historian, but I was assigned to a Health Science College, offering Nursing, Laboratory and Environmental Health programs. In the second year of my Diploma in Environmental Health, I sensed the importance of becoming an environmental health professional to show the relevance of the environment to human health and vice versa.  

After graduating, I was recruited with merit as a technical assistant in the same university I studied. It was an advantage for me to excel and continue my academic career as at that time, there was not much opportunity to further my education in another sector. My hard work in the diploma program led me to join a BSc program at Jimmy University, which was sponsored by the university itself. After graduating, I worked for a year and then joined a postgraduate program in Environmental science at Addis Ababa University, after which I worked for four years as a lecturer. Later on in my career, I rejoined Addis Ababa University to work on a PhD project in the field of water and public health, in partnership with the University of Connecticut. I was among ten individuals who were offered to join the program after competing with a thousand individuals! After all the ups and downs I had in my career, I finally managed to complete my education with recognition from the senate of the University. I dedicated the next few years after my graduation, to join postdoctoral programmes to fulfil my dream. 

Today, I am one of the researchers in the Ethiopia team in ECLIPSE.