On May 9, 2019, Associate Professor Pat Gibbons, Dr David Ryan, Mr Colm O’Connor, Mr Dejen Kuma and Dr Berhanu Kuma met Minister Samuel Urkato (PhD), Concern Ethiopia head office staff and Embassy of Ireland to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
The principal coordinator of the programme, Assoc Prof Pat Gibbons, explained to the Minister the rationale for the engagement of Institute of Technology Carlow (ITC) into the BRTE Programme. ITC’s rich and successful experience in nurturing and growing small-and-micro enterprise is one of the key areas that Wolaita Sodo University (WSU) can benefit from. ITC will also contribute to building the critical enabling environment. The Minister was also informed about the progress made in the three scientific work-packages of the programme. Assoc Prof Pat raised the value of the coming together of the 45 public universities in getting access to books and e-books. He also mentioned that the programme will support this initiative to be successful.
Minister Samuel described BRTE programme ‘an innovative programme that builds human capital to enable the local resource to solve the local problems’. The decision of the programme to provide PhD education to 14 staff of WSU, the effort it is exerting to modularize postgraduate study courses, the mid-career physiotherapy programme, and the support given to building the critical enabling environment are unique in their nature. He added that the approach needs to be scaled up to other universities.
In a meeting with Carol Morgan, Regional Director for the Horn, at Concern Ethiopia head office, Addis Ababa, issues mainly related to the acquisition of the two vehicles to the programme were discussed. The Regional Director and Mr Martin agreed, in principle, for Concern Ethiopia to support the purchasing process of the two vehicles, however, they want the vehicle purchase agreement to get modified further. The following steps will be followed in getting vehicles ready to use: revise the vehicle purchase agreement, get it signed, get a quotation for a competitive price, transfer the budget, purchase the vehicles, and clear the necessary documents.
In the meeting, the study that is being undertaken by Ms Elizabeth Carthy, PhD researcher in UCD Centre for Humanitarian Action, was raised and discussion was made on how to facilitate her data collection in Ethiopia. Information is also sought on how to move materials to be purchased, if any, from Ireland to Ethiopia for the research purpose.
The last meeting of the visit to Ethiopia was with Patrick McManus, Head of Development Co-operation, and Fiona Broderick, Second Secretary, in the Embassy of Ireland to Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Assoc Prof Pat Gibbons explained the progress made in the development of the programme and discussion was held about the way the Embassy can support WSU to acquire books and e-books. He also sought to get advice on how to acquire a visa for the 15 scholars who will be coming in September 2019 to stay in Ireland for four months. And Fiona said the earliest the application, the better. However, an application that will be coming after the end of May for a journey in September will be challenging to process. Dr Berhanu took the responsibility to accelerate the selection of the 15 scholars and get them to start applying for the visa as soon as possible.