grantees » Alex Tegegn

Alemayehu (Alex) Tegegn, Ethiopia

Alemayehu Ayalew Tegegn, or just Alex, is a long-time activist from Ethiopia. He is from a poor family and had an extremely difficult childhood ravaged by the effects of civil unrest. He has overcome so much and it’s these experiences that motivated him to change his life – “from living on the streets of Addis…to studying in the lecture halls of Erasmus University Rotterdam” as he puts it.  

During his studies Alex was inspired to help his community – he says, “the information from the radio and the knowledge from the books stimulated me to do something for my village.” In 2006, the youth in his community were being blamed for their lack of interest in education. Having seen the change in himself, he made it his responsibility to get them learning and reading, beginning with a public library in his own bedroom. He went from door-to-door offering people his library services and it was this ‘home-lobbying’ that grew his library, and today there’s a purpose built library that houses the Mekrez Reading Association (MRA). Since deciding to change his life around, Alex has gone from strength to strength and continued working in the community until joining the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD).

While at ISD the JWH Initiative supported Alex in his studies of a MA in Development Studies, with a specialization in ‘Child and Youth’. During his masters at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, one of his main goals was to improve his English; he says, language is the key to life. A person without language and communication skills is, similar to a plant without water and sunlight. This, combined with his improved ICT skills and sustainable development knowledge, has made him the ideal source of inspiration for young Ethiopians growing up today. 

As the youth development team leader for ISD he says, my vision is to see educated, responsible and environmentally aware young citizens, but the existing systems and knowledge gap between politicians and practitioners like me is the main challenge to sustainable development.” This might be why, one day Alex plans to become a politician!



Tel: +251 911 66 24 01 or +251 911 16 33 95

P.O.Box 41416, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Nominated by

Million Belay Ali;   MELCA Mahiber;   Ethiopia.