The partnership between the University of Gondar, Queens University, Canada and the Mastercard Foundation has been well documented up until this point. There are two parts to this project. One part completely hosted within University of Gondar, generally supports people that are disadvantaged and have disabilities, who are highly talented and bright, have been given an opportunity of a lifetime that allows them to show their immense intellect. For the next 9 years students from all over east Africa will be chosen to study in Ethiopia’s top flight university to receive an all-expense paid education with the entire accommodations and full wrap around support that each student requires.
With that being said there is a second part to the collaboration between those powerhouses mentioned above. Part B will allow faculty members, from the University of Gondar, to receive a postgraduate education at Queens University which is located in Kingston, Canada. Enabling them to build their capacity to better support the individuals with disabilities back at their home university.
Representatives from Queens University’s Occupational Therapy department along with Queen’s university project staff, visited UoG to discuss in length the specifics of the program in Canada. Occupational Therapy is new to most Ethiopians. Having Occupational Therapists on a health care team, working within the community, or even in schools will change the lives of people with disabilities, their families, and their communities. For example, Occupational Therapists’ lens to health care and wellness, their attention to detail while considering the whole picture, and forward thinking gives future physicians in the field problem solving abilities that could change the lives of people with depression, schizophrenia or any other disability or mental disorder.
According to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, Occupational therapy is a client-centered health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation. The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. It’s forward thinking concepts and approach is surely fresh in Ethiopia, but the University of Gondar is ready to send its faculty to embark on such an educational journey.
Those who return after the 24 month Master’s level education will be expected to start UoG’s first Occupational Therapy education in the University which will be offered at an undergraduate level. Currently, there is no occupational therapy education in Ethiopia. And to put it all into perspective there is only one actively practicing occupational therapist in the country that we know of.
Therefore after being educated in the six areas of study (foundations of occupational therapy, disability and health, communication skills, determinants of occupation, critical enquiry, lifespan and practice) huge responsibility will be bestowed upon the new graduates to share their new found knowledge with the country.
Queens University will accept completed applications on 15 November 2018 and, if accepted, students will arrive in Kingston, Canada on 1 May 2019. If this is of interest to you please see the Mastercard office at UoG as internal application deadlines are July 31 2018. Interested applicants can contact Dr. Abayneh Girma via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samuel Malede| Communications and Learning Coordinator, Scholars Program