The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress 2022 was hosted in Paris, France; bringing together over 2000 delegates in person, and several hundred online to connect, share, and learn. For the University of Gondar, the Mastercard Foundation, and the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR) this was a momentous occasion as the WFOT ratified the first occupational therapy education program in Ethiopia, and accepted the Ethiopian Association of Occupational Therapists as a Full Member of WFOT!
The congress presented the first opportunity for Ethiopia to be represented on the international stage of occupational therapy; allowing for opportunities for networking, connecting and collaborating to support the occupational therapy program at the University of Gondar and within Ethiopia as a whole.
Zelalem Demeke, the Head of the Occupational Therapy Department at the University of Gondar, presented the experiences of “Towards comprehensive rehabilitation services in Ethiopia: Establishing the first university-level occupational therapy education program”. He shared the experiences and strategies used to develop the first occupational therapy education program in Ethiopia and he discussed how the country’s rehabilitation sector would be enhanced by profession moving forward.
Mr. Demeke, along with UoG OT faculty Yohannes Awoke Assefa (pictured) met with Samantha Shann (President of WFOT) and Tecla Mlambo (WFOT Education Program Coordinator) to discuss the future of the occupational therapy in Ethiopia. Samantha Shann presented the delegates from Ethiopia with a plaque to commemorate and celebrate the ratification of Ethiopia as a full WFOT member and approval of the education program.
Pictures (left to right): Yohannes Awoke Assefa, Samantha Shann, Zelalem Demeke, and Tecla Mlambo.
The representation of Ethiopia on the international stage of occupational therapy is a significant moment and shines a light on the years of hard work to develop the profession of occupational therapy in Ethiopia.