During May 2014 the work package 1 team conducted two series of focus groups in the three communities where our research is being implemented in Ethiopia. The first series of focus group concentrated on understanding the livelihood strategies in the area and how these strategies are linked to poverty and household wealth. A follow up focus group explored the relationships between livelihoods and soil status, emphasizing soil degradation processes and livelihood opportunities. In the second series of focus groups, which ran in parallel, participants discussed the drivers and pressures associated with land use change in the area since the Imperial Period (before 1974) and until recent times. An average of 12 people participated in each focus group with women constituting about half of the participants. Ultimately, the information gathered through these discussions will provide an additional and complementary angle to the data collected using household questionnaires.