Another ZEF "Good Governor" for the DAAD African Good Governance Network

November 30, 1999.  

Eleni Ayalew is the second ZEF alumna selected for DAAD's "African Good Governance Network"


Bonn, January 2009. Eleni Ayalew from Ehiopia is the second ZEF graduate becoming a member of the African Good Governance Network (AGGN). ZEF alumnus Felix Asante was selected the first ever member of the then just founded network in January 2007.


The AGGN is a long-term stipend and education program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and a leadership program aimed at students from sub Sahara African countries studying at German Universities or working in cooperation projects in Africa. In the framework of this program, which is under the patronage of President Köhler, the students are prepared for a leading role in the process of democratization, economic growth, and the rule of law in their home countries. Ten new members are selected for the Network annually.


Ms. Eleni Ayalew did her PhD research at ZEF from August 2005 until December 2008. She received her PhD degree from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science of Bonn University for her thesis on "Growing lake with growing problems: integrated hydro-geological investigation on Lake Beseka, Ethiopia". Her work was supervised by Profs. Diekkrüger and Vlek.

Interview with Ms. Ayalew


Dear Eleni, you were selected as a new member of the "Africa Good Governance Network", an initiative of the DAAD. What will be your task and role in this framework?


AGGN promotes the ideas of good governance and aims to assist the process of democratization in sub-Saharan African countries. The network organizes seminars for its members which combine theoretical and practical aspects of good governance. My role as a member will be to get involved in those upcoming seminars, to enhance my understanding of the subject, and to make use of the acquired skills and experiences to the development of society in my home country Ethiopia.


How did your education at ZEF contribute to being asked for the Good Governance Network? Which other factors played a role, do you think?


I came to ZEF because it is an international research institute with a wide perspective on development issues, providing a unique interdisciplinary approach to the problems of developing countries. My three-year stay at ZEF has helped me to understand the complex and challenging aspect of development, and the fact that finding a solution to development issues requires integrating crosscutting approaches. Thus, I think being a ZEF student played an important role to why I was chosen to be part of the African Good Governance Network.


What was the main outcome of your PhD research? Did you formulate any recommendations?


For my research I carried out a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the hydraulic interaction of Lake Beseka, one of the Ethiopian rift valley lakes, with the surrounding groundwater system. I have combined integrated approaches of hydrochemistry, isotope hydrology, recharge estimation, and groundwater modeling to analyze the lake-groundwater dynamics. The result of this study indicates that groundwater that flows from the western part of the watershed plays an important role to the water budget of Lake Beseka, accounting for half of the total water inflow to the lake, and governs hydrological and hydrochemical characteristics of the lake.


How are you going to fulfil your role as a "Good Governor"?


I am from Ethiopia, a country where millions of people still lack an access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Lack of access to sufficient water in terms of quality and quantity traps society in the cycle of poverty, and impedes development. I strongly believe that every individual in this world has the right to get an access to these basic necessities which in turn is directly related to the health and dignity of people, to the reduction of poverty and ultimately to the promotion of development. As a groundwater expert, I am looking forward to continue working on these challenges and to contribute my share to the development of water resources in Ethiopia.


Is there anything you want to add?


I would like to thank ZEF and the entire ZEF staff for giving me all the support during my stay in Bonn. I am indebted to the DAAD for the assistance that I have been getting, from my in-country MSc study in Ethiopia to the PhD scholarship in Germany, and finally for giving me the great opportunity to be part of the African Good Governance Network.


Ms. Ayalew, thank you for the interview!


Alma van der Veen


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