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Best Student Paper of the year 2023 winner announced

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DSA Ireland are pleased to announce the winner of the Best Student Paper of the Year 2023. Congratulations to Tsegay Balcha  (and co-authors) on their win with the paper 'The interplay between farm production diversity and food market visits in shaping smallholder household diets in Ethiopia'  


thumbnail_Photo Tsegay Balcha

Tsegay Balcha's academic journey commenced with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. Seeking to deepen his impact on grassroots economic development, he transitioned to a role as a Small and Micro-enterprise expert in an NGO based in Tigray, Ethiopia. In this role, he directly interacted with rural smallholder farmers, igniting a deep-seated passion for development economics. Shortly thereafter, inspired by his experience as a development expert he joined Debre Birhan University, Ethiopia, as an assistant lecturer. Here, he studied and successfully completed a master’s degree in development economics from the University of Gondar and served at Debre Birhan University as a lecturer. In pursuit of broader horizons and new academic challenges, he moved to Mekelle University, Ethiopia, and continued his academic career in the Department of Economics as a lecturer and headed the department for one year, until he got the scholarship opportunity for a Ph.D. position in the Department of Food Business and Development at University College Cork, Ireland.  

Unfortunately, on his return to Tigray, Ethiopia to conduct my survey, he found himself stranded in a deadly civil war which broke out in Tigray in November 2020. This caused a substantial interruption in his Ph.D. education for the period October 2020 to April 2023.  His journey is a testament to the transformative power of education, resilience, and unwavering determination. As he continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of academia, he remains steadfast in my commitment to leveraging knowledge as a catalyst for positive change. 

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