|Abstract||This paper focuses on my encounter with a group of Ethiopian female students whose common denominators are poverty, discrimination, violence, inequality and resilience, hope, courage and dignity. I describe these students' belief that education has enriched their lives in a country still dominated by patriarchy, with
a high adolescent birth rate and a low Gender Development Index
I draw insights from my practical experience as a development
professional with the aim of contributing to the realization of the human capabilities of these young women. They aspire to a dignified life and believe education to be the sole instrument with which they can free themselves from the subordinated position
society attributes to them.
As a Living Theory researcher I neither separate myself, or my practical experience, from the social formation I am part of. In this account I explain my educational influences in learning and show how my work in Ethiopia is enriched by my Living Educational Theory research as it helps me to understand more fully the motivating power of love, faith in humanity and action that I incorporate within my practice, and how I originated the notion of generativity in my living-theory of sustainable development.
I also write about recognising the significance of gender, professionally, personally and interpersonally and provide an insight into my research journey, unveiling my living values and living standards of judgment (Laidlaw, 1996) while attempting to be a 'good' development professional aspiring towards a 'good' change (Chambers, 2005). I focus on the influence those Ethiopian women have on my practice and how they have shaped my view of development, sustainability, and gender. I conclude by reflecting on the process that may lead me eventually to answer a key question for a Living Theory researcher, 'How can I improve my practice?'