The Initial Project
The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Addis Ababa University (AAU) engaged in a university-to-university partnership which established Ethiopia's first master's degree in social work and a new School of Social Work. The Social Work Education in Ethiopia Partnership (Project SWEEP) utilized extensive two-way faculty exchange to accomplish a needs assessment and planning, and the co-development of a curriculum framework, course outlines, teaching materials, and teaching support. The curriculum is designed to prepare professional social workers to manage community-based services and develop new programs in the areas of health, poverty reduction, child welfare, HIV/AIDS, and community development.
In the U.S., The Council of International Programs USA (CIPUSA) provided logistical and support services for exchange visits of Ethiopian faculty to the Jane Addams College of Social Work at UIC. In Ethiopia, Christian Relief & Development Association (CRDA), a nonsectarian membership organization of approximately 300 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), provided support for needs assessment, training workshops, and field practicum.
Building on this planning work, Addis Ababa University opened a new School of Social Work in 2004, and each year, about 40 students have been admitted into the Master's in Social Work program. In 2006, the first class of 39 Ethiopian students graduated with an MSW degree, followed by 36 MSW students graduated in 2007.
Community Work & Life Center at AAU
UIC is a collaborating organization with six other organizations that designed and developed a Community Work and Life Center whose mission is to develop employment sites and opportunities for Ethiopians. This project was built on relationships developed by Project SWEEP. The Council on International Programs USA (CIPUSA) with the help of Sweep affiliated faculty submitted the grant which was funded by the U. S. State Department. It was one of only two workforce development grants funded in Africa. Training was held on the UIC campus. This grant expanded the partnership to involve Cleveland State University and the Ethiopian Employers Federation (EEF). EEF signed a Memorandum of Agreement with AAU to provide linkages for student internships with the business community.
Ethiopian Entrepreneurship Training Program
Based on the success of the Community Work and Life Center at AAU, a second grant was written by CIPUSA to the U.S. State Department for entrepreneurship training with the Ethiopian Employers Federation. Richard Kordesh, Visiting Planner in Residence at CUPPA, is a trainer for the new project which links back to the Community Work and Life Center and the School of Social Work at AAU. Two interns from the chool of Social Work at AAU worked on the project, and many social work students participated in the week-long training. Two social work students from Ethiopia will receive short-term training in the USA in September 2007 as members of the Train-the-Trainer team from Ethiopia.
All of the relationships described above have one primary goal which is to help build the capacity of Ethiopian institutions. Capacity building's objective is to provide the resources and expertise needed by Ethiopian institutions to develop new, increased and most importantly sustainable abilities to address the many social and economic problems that exist in their country. It is expected and planned that when our cooperative agreements end, the Ethiopian institutions will have developed programs that will continue without outside help. It is also anticipated that these Ethiopian institutions would have developed the skills and resources necessary to do substantial capacity building with other institutions in Ethiopia.
Collaboration was obviously subject to availability of resources. UIC's main resource was faculty with the interest and expertise to build the capacity of Ethiopian institutions. It was clear that if capacity building were to occur that funds from outside UIC would have to be sought. So, one of the major foci of the UIC faculty involvement has been the identification of sources of funds that could be used to build the capacity of the Ethiopian institutions.
Since the inception of the Project SWEEP collaboration, institutions in the USA and Ethiopia have worked diligently to secure program development funds for building the capacity of social work education in Ethiopia. The following projects have received funding:
In summary, the initial collaboration by UIC and Addis Abba University on Project SWEEP has served as a catalyst for the development of a network of capacity building activities in Ethiopia. A major focus of the collaboration has been to link programs and projects in some way to the new School of Social Work at Addis Ababa University.