Prospects and Challenges of the Inner Slum Residents in Bahir Dar City of Ethiopia: A Quest for a Critical Look at the Koshekosh

18 Pages Posted: 2 May 2017 Last revised: 2 Nov 2017

See all articles by Moges Gebreegziabher Woldu

Moges Gebreegziabher Woldu

IPHC, Mekelle University; Mekelle University - Institute of Paleoenvironment and Heritage Conservation

Date Written: September 21, 2016


The research was conducted in the capital of Amhara National Regional State of Ethiopia, Bahir Dar City. The need for the development of the proposal and conduct this intensive and empirical case study had emanated from multiple justifications. These rationale include: (1) the 2002 UNESCO cities for prize award to Bahir Dar, that appreciated municipality in the management of the challenges against the rapid process of urbanization, (2) a traveler featuring article on the Amharic version magazine that described the paradoxical phenomenon focusing on dark side of Bahir Dar city administration, (3) research findings in the late 2000s revealed against the UNESCO cities for prize award, and finally (4) the researcher’s personal encounters around the slum as a new arrival during 2009 and the early 2010s. The major objective of the research was to explore and describe the prospects and challenges of Bahir Dar City Slum-Koshekosh Residents. The approach of the research is exploratory ethnographic design. The data collection techniques include unstructured in-depth and semi-structured interviews, focus group discussion, observation, and transect walks including social mapping. The participants of the study were purposely selected to collect the intended rich data. The data were systematically analyzed to fit with major themes and contextualized to local meanings. The analysis procedure was focused to address the research objectives. Therefore, the results of the study show that koshekosh is the worst slum (in the local meanings a restless neighborhood) comparing to the 2002 UNESCO Cities for Prize Award. The number of prostitutes were more than the reports indicated in the magazine column (400 against over 598). The residents were living under extraordinary frustrating ward against eviction by the municipality. Koshekosh was women dominated neighborhood. About 60 per cent were women head households and 76.49 % of the Koshekosh population were females. The sources of livelihood for the women headed households were piety trade, daily labor, and prostitution for the rural-urban migrated young women and girls. Overall, this research findings show that women headed households were the most affected, and followed by the elderly and children as a members of the poor households. Based on the findings, the following strategies are recommended as the way forward to mitigate the challenges of the Koshekosh residents. The municipality shall redesign a new approach for the urban slum upgrading. Relocating the slum residents will cost the government in the near future replicating another slum in the new resettlement sites. The interests of women headed households and the elderly shall be given priority and inclusive approach towards the residents in the slum upgrading shall be given maximum attention.

Keywords: community policing; prostitutes; resettlement; slum upgrading; piety trade; koshekosh, inclusive approach

JEL Classification: N97, O18, R21, P25

Suggested Citation

Woldu, Moges Gebreegziabher and Woldu, Moges Gebreegziabher, Prospects and Challenges of the Inner Slum Residents in Bahir Dar City of Ethiopia: A Quest for a Critical Look at the Koshekosh (September 21, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Moges Gebreegziabher Woldu (Contact Author)

Mekelle University - Institute of Paleoenvironment and Heritage Conservation ( email )

Mekelle, Tigray 231

IPHC, Mekelle University ( email )

Main Campus
Mekelle, Tigray National Regional State 231
+251344407500, +251344407501 (Phone)
+251-344-40-1090 (Fax)


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