The management and staff of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Gondar welcomed Heather Aldersey (PhD), co-director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and Anushka Mzinganjira, Part B manager of the Scholars Program at Queen’s University, on June 24, 2023.
On the next day, the team attended a music rehearsal and poetry recital session by scholars with disabilities and disadvantages. The scholars showcased their talent and talent development training which the visiting team found captivating. The team also got the opportunity to meet and listen to reflections by scholars who attended community-based rehabilitation training and discuss with pertinent staff of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program on the achievements, challenges and prospects of the training.
Following the team’s visit to both the newly established Occupational Therapy Clinic and Skill Lab at the University of Gondar, a meeting with co-director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Gondar, Dr. Molalign Belay; Part B Manager of the Program, Dr. Meseret Kassie; Occupational Therapy department head, Mr. Zelalem Demeke; Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Occupational Therapy program coordinator, Mr. Yohannes Awoke and academic director of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr. Asmamaw Atnafu was held to discuss the progress, challenges and prospects of the OT program.
Likewise, the team held talks with Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, president of the University of Gondar and the University’s vice presidents, about the developments and scaling up of the activities under the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Gondar and the overall progress of the project. The developments in the effort to adapt assistive technology were also part of the talk. Besides, the University management extended its appreciation of the commitment and efforts of the Queen’s team regarding disability inclusion its sustainability.
What is more, the team along with its counterpart at the University of Gondar discussed on strategic plan of the project and the project’s year VII budget before both teams headed to Addis Ababa to discussed strategic issues with relevant stakeholders such as the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia. Discussants from all sides highlighted the importance of strengthening the existing collaboration in different areas.
In addition, UoG and Queen’s management teams met higher government officials as part of a follow-up of the March 2023 trip to Kingston. State Minister of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Samuel Kifle; Civil Service commissioner, Dr Mekuria Haile and State Minister of the Ministry of Labor and Skills, Mr. Nigusu Tilahun discussed with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program team on strategies aimed at strengthening the Occupational Therapy program in Ethiopia. The team concluded the visit by meeting the new rehab desk management team at the Ministry of Health and discussing on how to collaborate in areas of rehabilitation.