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Mesele Araya


Research Associate

E-mail Address



  • PhD in Human Capital Development (University of Bergamo, ITALY)
  • MSc in Economics (Addis Ababa University)

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • Member of the Ethiopian Economics Association
  • Research fellow, FDRE Policy Study Institutes (PSI)

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Mesele Araya is a Research Associate on the RISE Ethiopia project at the University of Cambridge. Before joining RISE, based in Ethiopia, he worked as a Researcher for several longitudinal survey projects, including Early Learning Partnership (ELP-II) of the REAL Center of University of Cambridge, Young Lives of University of Oxford and Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence (GAGE) of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Mesele earned his PhD in Human Capital Development from University of Bergamo (Italy, 2016) and MSc in Economics from Addis Ababa University (2010). His research interests lie in the areas of early childhood education, inequality of learning in low-income settings, skill formation and school–to-work-transitions of young people from a gendered perspective. Mesele also published widely on issues related to early childhood education, child health and nutrition, poverty and educational inequality

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Research Topics

  • Access to early childhood education
  • Inequality of learning outcomes
  • Educational intervention programs: school grants and/or feeding
  • Impact monitoring and evaluation: mixed methods

Current Research Project(s)

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Principal and Recent Publications

Kim, J.H., Araya, M., Hailu, B, Rose, P. & Woldehanna, T. 2021. The Implications of COVID-19 for Early Childhood Education in Ethiopia: Perspectives from Parents and Caregivers. Early Childhood Education Journal.

Woldehanna, T & Araya, M. 2020. ‘Poverty and inequality in Ethiopia: 1995/96-2015/16’: In, Fantu Cheru, Christopher Cramer, and Arkebe Oqubay, The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy, Oxford University. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198814986.001.0001

Araya, M. Hicks, J. Baird, S and Jones, N. (2019). Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme and Adolescent Girls’ Wellbeing: Evidence from the Gender and Adolescence Global Evidence Study, in What Works for Africa's Poorest Children" edited by David, Diego, Ibrahim. Practical Action UK.

Woldehanna, T., Tafere, Y. Araya, M. & Hagos, H 2019. Dynamics of Child Poverty in Ethiopia, in Putting Children First: new frontiers in the fight against child poverty in Africa edited by Keetie Roelen, Richard Morgan, and Yisak Tafere. The Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) of University of Bergen

Woldehanna, T., Araya, M & Gebremedhin. A. 2017. Assessing Children’s Learning Outcomes in Ethiopia: A Comparison of Two Cohorts. The Ethiopian Journal of Education 36 (1), 149-187.

Woldehanna, T., Gebremedhin, A., & Araya, M. W. (2017). Is child work detrimental to the educational achievement of children? Results from young lives study in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Journal of Economics, 26(1), 123-151.

Woldehanna, T., Behrman, J. R., & Araya, M. W. 2017. The effect of early childhood stunting on children’s cognitive achievements: Evidence from young lives Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development (EJHD), 31(2).

Woldehanna, T & Araya, M. 2017. Early Childhood Investment and Completion of Secondary Education in Ethiopia: Lessons from Young Lives longitudinal Study. Working Paper 168, Oxford: The Young Lives.

Woldehanna, T. Araya, M. Pankhurst, M. 2017. Education and Learning: Preliminary Findings from the Round 5 Survey in Ethiopia. October 2017. Young Lives, Oxford University.

Woldehanna, T & Araya, M. 2016. Educational Inequalities among Children and Young People in Ethiopia. Country Report, Oxford: The Young Lives