Dereje is currently a PhD fellow at Ghent University where he focuses on internal displacement under supervision of Professor Dr Ine Lietaert (Ghent University and UNU-CRIS). His PhD project deals with the lived experiences and agency strategies of diverse internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia. He integrates a livelihood perspective with the aim of understanding IDPs as active agent and the way they make livelihood, relate to the host communities and access resources under different vulnerability contexts.
Dereje holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Addis Ababa University where he has investigated the differential impact of mining investments on the livelihood and food security among smallholder farmers who depend on farming alone on the one hand and those who have diversified their source of income beyond agriculture on the other. He is affiliated to Jimma University, Ethiopia where he has served as a lecturer since 2013.
Before starting as a PhD student at Ghent University, besides teaching, Dereje worked on projects initiated by NGOs and universities which aimed at reducing child marriage and female genital mutilation, and promoting community based child protection. Working as a social worker, he has practical experiences on resource mobilization for the vulnerable groups such as orphan children, women, and pastoral communities.