Caring for mothers – “SAYYOH AYSAAS” in Ethiopia – NICHE/ETH-287

22 January 2022

Continent: Africa

Duration: 2016-2020

Donor: Nuffic

Partner: Semara University, Cordaid & UMC Utrecht

13 July 2020

Introduction to the project

In the heart of the Ethiopian desert lies Semara University. The university’s health college is anxious to improve their service offer, in particular their Midwifery department. They want to ensure that they deliver skilled and employable graduates who can make an impact in the local labour market. Through this NICHE project, funded by Nuffic, we contribute to a better quality of midwifery education.


Before the start of the project, graduates of the midwifery department hardly had any hands-on practice. Students were unable to work on their skills at school because they did not have a place or materials to practice, they could not attend an internship, and had difficulty to make the transition to the labour market. Classes were mainly theoretical, and staff turnover was extremely high, making it challenging to improve the quality of the class material. Moreover, the curriculum was not in line with the needs of the labour market. In the end, graduates ended up unemployed.

Our solution/approach

In order to create better quality education and more employable students we have been working on the following objectives;

  • Set up a brand-new skills lab
  • A competency based curriculum, responsive to labour market needs
  • Problem based teaching methods
  • Project management and entrepreneurship skills
  • To improve the technical skills of teachers through training of trainers (TOT’s)
  • The establishment of a career guidance and employability center
  • Improve quality assurance mechanisms
  • Contribute to research capacity of the University
  • Facilitate outreach into the local community
  • And create a better network between the university and local employers


Semara University will be able to implement the newly revised curriculum. Hands-on skills are being taught and students are working more effectively. Furthermore, networks and connections are contributing to a more sustainable approach. The project runs until December 2021.

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