Imet men, women and children who were hungry and malnourished on my recent trip to the drought stricken Tigray region of northernEthiopia. It was shocking as it always is to see mothers and fathers struggling to feed their children. But it is not desperation or even my own dismay that shapes my memories; it is the resilience I saw in communities tested beyond human endurance that I remember and the capacity of the young people I met to dream of a better life – even in the face of such hardship. One of the people who epitomised this was Mebrihit Gitsadik, a 21 year old farmer I met in Gergera. She showed me around a tree nursery project made possible by the initiative of her community and Irish Aid to protect the valley from erosion and replenish the ground water reserves.
Mebrihit is living life and in charge of her own destiny, even in the face of adversity. Likewise, Ethiopia is a proud nation with big dreams. However realising those dreams is getting harder and harder in the face of climate change; a problem the people of Ethiopia have done little to cause, and which we in the industrialised countries of the world are responsible for. This is the great injustice of climate change – it affects the people least responsible the most.