Norwegian Agency Awards 91 Million Birr Grant to 5 Ethiopian Universities

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Addis Ababa December 31/2020 (ENA) The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) has awarded 91 million Birr grant for five Ethiopian universities, according to Ethiopian-Norwegian Professional Organization.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Associate Prof. Shegaw Anagaw, Ethiopian-Norwegian Professional Organization Managing Director said the grant was announced for all developing countries and Ethiopia is one of the grant recipients.

The application was mainly initiated by South-Eastern Norway University Associate Professor of Informatics Shegaw Anagaw and the grant was submitted in his name. But the fund will fully utilized by Ethiopia, it was learned.

According to him, the total budget for the grant was 1.1 billion NOK which involved 119 participants from all over the world, and there were only 60 grants given to the applicants.

Implementation of the program consists of three education programs, including informatics, eHealth, and special needs education in the selected universities.

The universities to be involved in this project are Gondar University, Jimma University, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, Debre Markos University, and Hawassa University.

The project which runs from 2021-2026 will be regulated under the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development.

“Our intention was to give a response to the request for strengthening higher education in Ethiopia by prioritizing on capacity building, better education, and job creation as well as improved digital access to students and academic staffs,” the managing director stated.  

Shegaw added that the main focus of the project will be strengthening quality and relevant education, and increasing capacity and empowerment of young academicians through scholarship program.

Accordingly, the program “will provide around 45 scholarship program for young Masters students and 15 PhD students in an exchange program.”

He elaborated that there will also be a component of improved capacity through small-scale infrastructure intended to introduce capacity building facilities like small-scale laboratories, facilities and technologies for persons with disabilities.

Increased engagement with external stakeholders like hospitals, schools, municipality and businesses are crucial to strengthen relation between universities and local communities, according to Shegaw.

The managing director pointed out that there are various initiatives in the Nordic region to create a kind of platform for professionals and Ethiopian communities to discuss and contribute their share to home countries in different ways.

“We are aspiring to contribute to the reform initiative in Ethiopia through our profession, and  several efforts are being exerted to do same by organizing professionals in different cluster groups,” he revealed.

Shegaw further noted that the Ethio-Nordic scholar group and the Ethiopian-Norwegian Professional Association are also carrying out various activities, especially in defending Ethiopia’s interests on the media.