Ethiopian midwifery students promoting SRHR and gender equality

Health[e]Foundation is pleased to announce the expansion of our activities in Ethiopia by offering Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) education to pre-service midwifery students at Ethiopian Universities. Continuing our close partnership with the Ethiopian Midwives Association (EMwA) the project was kick-started early March together with the funder Nuffic and the Dutch Embassy in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.

Poor sexual reproductive health services
The main target population for the project is adolescents since young people comprise of 28% of the Ethiopian population. In general, health services for adolescents are of substandard quality and largely do not cover sexual reproductive health or gender issues. This relates to high numbers of gender based violence, risky sexual practices, child marriage, unintended (teenage) pregnancy, unsafe abortion and STIs.

To overcome these issues, SRHR and gender equality need to be included in health services. Ethiopian midwives have a unique position in the Ethiopian society to act as the change agents in promoting SRHR and gender-equality amongst Ethiopian adolescents. Midwives are active in the reproductive field and are based in clinics and hospitals throughout the country, hence can easily promote SRHR services. However, the pre-service midwifery education is not yet adequately preparing midwives for this task.

Midwives as change agents for promoting SRHR
The partnership between EMwA and Health[e]Foundation is strengthened by a collaboration with four Ethiopian universities. The successful blended-learning concept of Health[e]Foundation will be offered to midwifery students in the four universities, with modules on SRHR, gender equality, research and entrepreneurship. In addition, the blended-learning will provide the midwifery students with the tools to promote SRHR to fellow-students and adolescents in the community. The project will support the educational system to deliver competent, gender-sensitive and entrepreneurial midwifery graduates, promoting universal access to SRHR in the country.

Kick-off meeting Addis Abeba
Early March, our team travelled to Ethiopia to kick-start the project. During fruitful meetings with EMwA, the four collaborating universities and the funder Nuffic, within its Orange Knowledge programme from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we started putting plans into action. The following months will focus on development and early implementation, with more news to follow soon!

About the funder: Nuffic Orange Knowledge Programme
The Orange Knowledge Programme contributes to a society’s sustainable and inclusive development by providing access to education and training for professionals and organisations in technical vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education. It is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of its development cooperation policy. The subsidy programme is managed by Nuffic, a Dutch non-profit organisation for internationalisation in education. It offers funding for long-term, demand-driven partnerships between Dutch knowledge institutions and organisations in 21 participating countries, as well as individual scholarships and Tailor-Made Training courses in all 54 selected countries. The € 220 m, 5-year programme ends mid-2022, enabling tens of thousands to change their future. From the Dutch development cooperation policy, 4 priority themes have been selected on which to focus in the programme: Food and Nutrition Security; Water, Energy and Climate; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights; and Security and Rule of Law. Cross-cutting themes in this programme are inclusion, employability and environmental sustainability. More information about Nuffic.