Surviving Through Mobility: Young Lives and their Imagined Future in Burayu Town, Oromia National Regional State (Ethiopia)


  • Fekadu Bizuneh
  • Fekadu Adugna Addis Ababa University


Youth, Migration, mobility, trajectories, livelihood pathways


The socioeconomic conditions in which rural youth live have become a major reason for moving to urban areas. Mobility has therefore become a coping strategy to escape poverty and unemployment and an opportunity to feel a sense of pride and self-respect and lead a family by providing economic support. The purpose of this article is to pinpoint youth mobility processes and structures, and to examine youth livelihood strategies and their accompanying mobility processes. Thus, this article attempts to address the following objectives: 1) the challenges imposed on youth and their life trajectories; 2) youth mobility processes and the reasons behind their opting for mobility and the life trajectories through which they realize their aspirations; and 3) youth livelihood coping strategies. To get the necessary data on these issues, qualitative data-gathering tools such as interviews, focus group discussions, and informal conversations were used. The findings revealed that youth in Burayu faced difficult livelihood trajectories but worked hard to overcome them by pursuing an alternative form of livelihood. Mobility has emerged as one of the most important livelihood strategies among the youth community because it improves their living conditions. Since youth have rarely been studied from this perspective in Ethiopia, it is hoped that the findings of this research will contribute to knowledge production and policy development by locating and exploring alternative livelihood mechanisms to improve the lives of young people.