Young people comprise 28% of the Ethiopian population, and yet health services for adolescents in Ethiopia are frequently substandard in quality.
Ethiopian midwives have a unique position in the Ethiopian society and they act as agents of change by promoting SRHR and gender equality amongst adolescents. However, the pre-service midwifery education does not currently adequately prepare them for this task. The Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA), Health[e]Foundation, and five collaborating Ethiopian universities/TVET colleges have therefore introduced a program to strengthen the universities’ SRHR curriculum and support the educational system.
The SRHR[e]Education program strengthens the universities’ SRHR curriculum development and supports the educational system to deliver competent, gender sensitive, and entrepreneurial midwifery graduates, who will promote universal access to SRHR in the country. The partnership and exchange between EMwA, Health[e]Foundation – Global Health department of Amsterdam UMC/University, and the collaboration with Ethiopian universities / TVET colleges facilitates strong support for, as well as maximum impact and durable sustainability of, the program activities.
Strengthening gender offices and preventing female student dropouts
Gender offices in the collaborating universities have been strengthened to decrease the high number of female student dropouts. A needs assessment revealed existing gaps in the gender offices, which have been addressed by providing capacity building training. We have equipped the gender offices with the right infrastructure and materials to be able to offer gender-related services. Staff members were trained to enhance their educational skills, gender sensitivity, and use of digital tools. The gender offices are now able to deliver an active mentorship program to students and to continuously monitor and evaluate student satisfaction at their universities.
Sexual and reproductive health education for midwifery students
The midwifery curriculum has been improved using e-learning modules. The successful blended learning concept of Health[e]Foundation was offered to 243 midwifery students at the four universities in 2020. The training included modules on sexual and gender-based violence (GBV); female genital mutilation; gender equality; and facilitation and communication skills to reach out to adolescents. In addition to the course content, students were equipped with a package of SRHR activities, which enabled them to transfer their newly acquired knowledge to fellow-students and adolescents in the community. The program aims to increase universal access to SRHR services; positively influence the health behavior of adolescents; and promote gender equality in Ethiopia.
“The e-learning for midwifery nurses was especially useful for those working in remote areas where gender-based violence and sexually transmitted diseases are abundant, this course taught me how to support these women.”
Eyerusalem Shello, Midwifery student at University of Gondar
Universities / institutions
5 Ethiopian HE / TVET institutions strengthened
360 Ethiopian midwives trained with blended learning
7,200 adolescents reached with SRHR information via outreach activities
95% of trained midwives who participated in the survey (n=78) perceived the course as valuable and complementary to their studies
Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) is the only professional association representing midwives in Ethiopia. EMwA works to improve the quality of midwifery education and care in all regions of Ethiopia. Their primary goal is to work towards reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality, as well as improving youth sexual and reproductive health. EMwA is linked to the universities and teaching hospitals that participate in this program.
“This course creates awareness on gender equality, and increases women’s self-confidence, as well as changing the attitudes of men towards women’s rights.”
EM (M), Midwifery student at Addis Ababa University