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Last updated: Dec 12, 2017 6:17 am

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The MasterCard Foundation $24M grant launches 10-year, int'l project

Through the foundation’s Scholars Program, Queen’s begins partnership with the University of Gondar to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and Africa.

Students enrolled in The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program study all over the world. Here, Scholars attend a bootcamp in New York City for those studying in North America. (Jake Naughton for The MasterCard Foundation)

Thanks to a generous 10-year, USD$24.2-million grant from The MasterCard Foundation, Queen’s University has begun a partnership with the University of Gondar to advance inclusive education for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia and other countries in Africa.

[Mastercard Scholars Foundation logo]

Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program

Part of the foundation’s Scholars Program, the partnership will provide 450 next-generation African leaders with a high-quality education at the University of Gondar, while also providing 60 of the university’s faculty members with the opportunity to study at Queen’s, where they will enhance their skills in innovative pedagogy and in leading collaborative research between African and North American universities. The University of Gondar and Queen’s University will also collaborate to develop Ethiopia’s first occupational therapy program.

“We are delighted to work on this tremendous, multi-faceted project with the University of Gondar and The MasterCard Foundation,” says Daniel Woolf, Queen’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Without a doubt, this collaboration will change lives and create new pathways for education in Africa. It will also provide Queen’s researchers and students new avenues for growth, as they join with University of Gondar faculty members on research projects and support Gondar faculty through training programs and the development of the first undergraduate occupational therapy program in Ethiopia.”

As part of the partnership, the University of Gondar will provide 290 undergraduate and 160 master’s level degrees in multidisciplinary fields that will encompass health sciences, law, education, nursing, and rehabilitation sciences, taking special care to recruit young people with disabilities, as well as young people from conflict-affected countries. The University of Gondar will deliver an annual Summer Leadership Camp for Scholars across the program, as well as a robust, practicum-based experiential program focused on giving back to community, through service and leadership skill development in the field of community-based rehabilitation.

"Through their collaboration, these exceptional institutions will not only forge a new path for inclusive education in Africa, but will also bring much-needed perspectives that will enable us to better understand the needs of talented young people living with disabilities." 
~ Peter Materu, Director, Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, The MasterCard Foundation

“We are excited to welcome the University of Gondar and Queen’s University to the Scholars Program,” says Peter Materu, Director, Education and Learning and Youth Livelihoods, The MasterCard Foundation. “Through their collaboration, these exceptional institutions will not only forge a new path for inclusive education in Africa, but will also bring much-needed perspectives that will enable us to better understand the needs of talented young people living with disabilities. This partnership represents a new innovation in the Scholars Program that demonstrates how one can leverage the capacity of one partner to establish and strengthen programs in priority areas of need in another institution.”

More stories in the Gazette on the partnership
An interview with the University of Gondar: Queen's-Gondar project an opportunity to push programming further
On The MasterCard Foundation: A mission to bolster the strength of Africa's young people
A Scholar's perspective: Scholar Munya Mahiya shares vision for inclusive universities

A leader in community-based rehabilitation and home to the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), Queen’s University will provide 44 University of Gondar faculty members with PhD training to develop skills and capabilities needed to supervise Scholars’ research and practicums. Queen’s University will also support the University of Gondar as it develops and implements the first undergraduate occupational therapy curriculum and program in Ethiopia. This work will involve providing master’s level training in occupational therapy to 16 University of Gondar faculty members, who will then work with Queen’s occupational therapy faculty members to develop a curriculum and teach in the first occupational therapy program at the University of Gondar.

“The University of Gondar embraces this partnership with great enthusiasm, for it comes with an opportunity to boost its vision of becoming a Centre of Excellence in rehabilitation and inclusive education, research, and community engagement,” says Desalegn Mengesha, University of Gondar President. “This partnership will develop the capacity of both universities to plan and effectively undertake large-scale, people-centred interventions with multi-faceted benefits to the institutions and their respective stakeholders.”

[Heather Aldersey]
Heather Aldersey, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, is the faculty project lead at Queen’s University. (Photo by Bernard Clark)

A global network of scholars

The University of Gondar and Queen’s University join a global network of 27 Scholars Programs committed to ensuring that all young people, no matter their starting point in life, should have an equal chance to obtain a quality education and pursue their aspirations.

The program provides education and leadership development for nearly 35,000 bright, young leaders with a deep personal commitment to changing the world around them. These young people will create change that matters within their communities and will usher in a new era of inclusive prosperity in Africa and beyond.

“This partnership brings about mutual and substantial benefits to both Queen’s and the University of Gondar,” says Heather Aldersey, Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy and the faculty project lead at Queen’s University. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with visionary leaders in disability and inclusive development at the University of Gondar on this project. I have no doubt that the impact of this work will create sustained improvement of opportunities for young people with disabilities in Ethiopia.”


About Community Based Rehabilitation

Community based rehabilitation (CBR) was first initiated by the World Health Organization in 1978 in an effort to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families.

While initially a strategy to increase access to rehabilitation services in resource-constrained settings, CBR has grown to include measures such as equalization of opportunities and social inclusion of people with disabilities in an effort to combat the cycle of poverty and disability.

CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social, and other services.

CBR at Queen’s

For more than 25 years, the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR), headquartered in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University, has worked to expand community based rehabilitation practices in communities around the world.

More than 200 researchers and practitioners have been involved in ICACBR-affiliated projects.

Currently, the centre manages three major projects :

  • the Access to Health & Education for all Disabled Children & Youth (AHEAD) project in Bangladesh
  • the Queen Elizabeth II Scholarships for Excellence in International Community Based Rehabilitation, and
  • a participatory project on stigma and intellectual disability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.