1st Annual Research Day


The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program held its first Annual Research Day on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, from 8:15 am- 1:00 pm EST. Ph.D. Fellow in Nursing, Fisseha Zewdu led the Research Day organizing committee, which comprised five members. The theme of Research day was Using Research for Advocacy and was an opportunity for Fellows to showcase their work to their colleagues and created a chance for future collaboration. We celebrated our Fellows’ achievements as graduate students, researchers, educators, and transformative leaders in disability inclusion.

Research Day Event

The Mastercard Foundation Fellows in Cohorts 1-3 shared 10-minute presentations on their research or current projects. Some Fellows decided to collaborate and present together, giving the day a total of 9 separate presentations that sparked many great discussions. Fellows from Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, Nursing, Engineering, and Law presented topics pertaining to the inclusion of people with disabilities in Ethiopia or Africa more generally. In addition to learning from one another, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program was joined by the Dean of Health Sciences at Queen’s University Jane Philpott and advocates Yetnebirsh Nigussie Molla and Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo to learn about their perspectives for the role of research in advocacy in Ethiopia.

Yetnebersh Nigussie Molla is the co-founder and the current president of the Ethiopian Lawyers with Disabilities Association (ELDA). She is also currently working as the Global Action on Disability (GLAD) network senior manager. Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo is the Global Disability Advisor of the World Bank Group. As Disability Advisor, she focuses on working with and supporting operational teams across the institution to ensure that Bank policies, programs and projects take people with disabilities into consideration. Learning from such influential advocates brought a sense of inspiration and motivation to everyone involved.

Key lesson and The Way Forward

As both guest speakers shared, moving forward, there is such an importance of research for advocacy and policy change. Fisseha Zewdu said the day brought “amazing coordination, enthusiastic participation and diverse research works.” The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program looks forward to hosting future Research Days in the upcoming years!