Sunday, July 4, 2010

U.S. College Students for Ethiopia

What if we grouped a bunch of college students in the United States and sent them to Ethiopia to volunteer and intern? It would be “U.S. College Students for Ethiopia” and it begins with you!

A few months ago some others and I were discussing about how great it would be to involve students from the United States in the development of Ethiopia. Ethiopia lost about 75% of its skilled workforce between 1980 and 1991, according to the U.N. Development Program. It’s rumored that there are more Ethiopian Medical Doctors in the City of Chicago than there are in the entire Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. I believe that.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to allow students in American colleges the opportunity to go to Ethiopia for their summer, their semester or their entire academic year to intern or volunteer in their field of interest? I want Health Science students to go to the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa to get some hands-on experience dealing with patients and many diseases. I want Occupational Therapy students to go to Northern Ethiopia to work at the Tigray Disabled Veterans Association’s clinical facilities. I want Business students to work with the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Societies Union and help them further organize and improve their efficiency so they may advocate for all coffee farmers.

Having win-win solutions for Ethiopia’s problems was discussed at the 2010 Ethiopian American Youth Initiative Conference in Washington, D.C. “U.S. College Students for Ethiopia” could be the Ethiopian Global Initiative’s win-win solution for the loss of Ethiopia’s skilled workforce between 1980 and 1991. College students would get hands on experience that would strengthen their credentials, academically and professionally. Ethiopia would benefit from the skill that the college students would contribute to the country. The Ethiopian Global Initiative would benefit because we would fulfill our objectives of serving as a catalyst for projects that promote civic engagement and economic prosperity.

This wouldn’t just be a two-month service trip. In fact, its imperative that once the college students return to the U.S. they should get involved in continuing their contributions to Ethiopia’s growth by joining EGI. So, again: what if we grouped a bunch of college students in the United States and sent them to Ethiopia to volunteer and intern?

Samuel M. Gebru
President and Chairman
Ethiopian Global Initiative

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