The Mastercard Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Gondar and Queens University, Canada have awarded its first round of Community Based Rehabilitation certificates to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars in the presence of Dr. Ashenafi Tazebew (Chief Executive Officer of CMHS and General Hospital), the Director of the UoG’s Registrar and Alumni Directorate Dr. Gizachew Mulugeta, Dr. Asmamaw Atnafu Academic Director of UoG’s CMHS, CBR team members and other guests. The Scholars are people with disabilities and disadvantages and are recent graduates of the University of Gondar. Moving forward they are expected to be transformative leaders in their communities to work on some of the more pressing issues that face the country of Ethiopia.
Dr. Asmamaw Atnafu, Academic Director of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, who attended the graduation program, reminded the graduates that they have a responsibility to do a great job in eradicating misconceptions related to people with disabilities in society.
In addition when speaking on the day the Director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UoG Dr. Solomon Mekonnen expressed that the University of Gondar, which has been conducting a number of community-based rehabilitation initiatives in Gondar and its surrounding areas for the past 16 years, has gradually expanded its work to now incorporate the Mastercard Foundation and its numerous works. According to the Director, the Mastercard Foundation, in collaboration with Queens University, Canada has initiated the designing and certifying of a well thought out community-based curricula as a standard curriculum for future cohorts.
He shared that the certification will follow standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and will provide theoretical CBR Management online training modules which will be followed by online certification, which will be available online to anyone in different countries. A total of 47 students are taking part in the training, out of which nine trainees have graduated. Moreover the rest will complete the course in the near future.
Dr. Solomon on his part said that there is a possibility that the education will be provided through an advanced diploma and a master’s degree in the future. He thanked all those who have contributed significantly to the current level and standard of the curriculum since the initial survey started some time back.
The University of Gondar physiotherapist and Mastercard Foundation and Queens University Collaboration Manager, Mr. Solomon Fasika, on his part expressed that the scholars with disabilities and disadvantages graduated in January from various departments of the university. “Therefore,” he said, “the training they received will be a great contribution for them in terms of community capacity building.
Preparations are underway to provide all five theory modules within an e-learning platform. In line with this, 175 educational opportunities for future certification are planned until 2026. Among the graduates, Bethlehem Assefa and Melese Belay shared that they have gained enhanced understanding of basic computer skills, disability inclusion law framework, entrepreneurship, life skills, leadership skills and financial management. They also thanked the organizers for their support, saying that the training will help them to assist other people with disabilities which is their number one priority moving forward.