Name: Abey Bekele Abebe

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Jordan Miller

Research Topic: Understanding and Advancing Communication between People Living with Chronic Pain and Their Healthcare Providers in Ethiopia

Estimated Graduation Date: 08/22

Abey is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He has a BSc and MSc in Physiotherapy, prior to his studies with the Mastercard Foundation, he was a lecturer and a clinician at the University of Gondar department of Physiotherapy for 6 years. In his previous work experience he engaged in working in the area of disability and disability related issues, being part of this scholarship will allow Abey to enhance his knowledge, skills and practice on issues related to disability. Abey believes the collaboration between University of Gondar and Queens University helps both universities to advance the knowledge and research areas related to disability. By collaborative research these areas be can be explored deeper. The two universities can bring unique perspectives and contributions to table. 

Abey’s research focuses on chronic pain, with an objective of Understanding and Advancing Communication between People Living with Chronic Pain and their Healthcare Providers in Ethiopia. Chronic pain is one of the main causes of disability around the world. Clinical works and research related to chronic pain are increasing in Ethiopia in recent years, his research will help to facilitate communication about chronic pain during the clinical encounter and optimize the care patients receive. A well planned and tailored made interventions will play a great role to alleviate the burden and increase the participation of patients with chronic pain in everyday life. In the future, with the knowledge and experience Abey has gained he would like to work in the advancement of pain research in the area of assessment and treatment, advancing community-based chronic pain rehabilitation, and exploring interventions for patients with chronic pain patients that can best suit the Ethiopian people, lifestyle, culture and healthcare system.


Ansha Nega, Ahmed

Name: Ansha Nega, Ahmed

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Prof. Marcia Finlayson

Research Topic: Exploring the Construct and Trajectories of Return to Work in Post Traumatic Injury

Estimated Graduation Date: 06/23

Ansha Nega is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science and a Mastercard Foundation Fellow. She is a faculty in Addis Ababa University and adjunct staff at University of Gondar, Ethiopia. Ansha worked for more than a decade in academia and has ample experience in community development programs through large-scale research and intervention projects in collaboration with national and international partners. She is one of the founding members of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ program at University of Gondar for the partnership with Queen’s University. Ansha’s research interest and work experiences are related to Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) to improve quality of life of people with disability and their family, rehabilitation in post injury and chronic illness (Return to work and participation), special groups’ health at work, Occupational Health and Safety, and Ergonomics at work and in everyday life. Ansha appreciates teamwork, collaborative innovations and has a potential to explore new directions and excel existing actions. Ansha knows the heart of this partnership project since its inception that it can offer the chance to explore opportunities at Queen’s that can facilitate to advance ones’ scholarly and innovative thinking and to increase global networking. Ansha’s expectation is to get access to advanced knowledge and skills that can facilitate her action in academic world. On the way, Ansha can provide support to the program and Fellows so that their experience, throughout the study period, will facilitate the chance to explore and learn from Queen’s University’s action in providing advanced and inclusive education with internationalization. Ansha believes the collaboration between Queen’s University and University of Gondar is one of the innovative partnership to facilitate learning and experience bidirectionally.

Ansha’s study experience at Queen’s creates an opportunity for her to learn advanced knowledge and skills especially in Rehabilitation Sciences and research. She hopes to learn more in the remaining study periods. Rehabilitations science by its nature is all about inclusiveness that can add value to learners to improve the quality of our actions in our profession that is education, research and services in an inclusive manner. Therefore, what Ansha can bring back to Ethiopia is not limited to the time after completing her study as there is a lot to work on and network to enhance her actions to serve her country and its’ people in comprehensive and inclusive manner that can add quality to it. That is her personal motive and it would be great if the MCF project provide necessary support to individuals’ aspiration accordingly to facilitate and expand Fellows’ exposure to experience and exercise their innovations, if any, than just focusing on academic exercises only.


Name: Bekele Adane Worku

Department/School: Law

Supervisor: Sharryn Aiken

Research Topic: Implementation Mechanisms of the Right to Education of Persons with disabilities under the UNCRPD

Estimated Graduation Date: 30/08/22

Bekele is a doctoral student in Law, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He received his LLB in Law and LLM in Public International Law, he served as a Regional Public Prosecutor for about six years at Amhara regional Justice Bureau. Currently, Bekele is a private attorney at both Federal and Regional courts simultaneously with his occupation as a Lecturer of Law at University of Gondar. The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship Program motivated Bekele because it encouraged research on the subject of disability, which is his prime study passion. He expects to equip himself with the necessary knowledge, skill and attitude that may enhance his professional and personal careers and engagement in alleviating some of the problems of persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the world. The collaboration between the two institutions paved the opportunity to advance the knowledge, skills and attitudes of University of Gondar staffs’ concerning disability related  issues, and thereby expected to contribute in improving  the overall  engagement and studies regarding the subject under discussion. It also has introduced us with the advanced western educational administration styles.

As Bekele’s research focuses on how to accommodate and create accessibility of proper and quality higher education for persons with disabilities, he thinks, it will improve the life of university students with this condition. Bekele also intends to introduce other mechanisms of implementation of the rights of persons with disabilities recognized in International human rights instruments.


Bilen Mekonnen Araya

Name: Bilen Mekonnen Araya

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Heather Aldersey and Dr. Maria Velez

Research Topic: Estimating and Understanding the Burden of Infertility on Ethiopian women

Estimated Graduation Date: 30/04/23

Bilen is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. She did her BSc in Midwifery in 2010 and her MSc in Clinical Midwifery in 2017. Bilen has worked in Black Lion Specialized Hospital labor ward for two years and since 2012 she has been working at the University of Gondar as a lecturer and researcher. Bilen’s long aspiration to learn and experience new things pushed her to this program. Rehabilitation is a new concept for her and a scholarship that is specific to disability related issues was a good opportunity to learn new things and bring back new concepts to Ethiopia. Bilen is hoping to gain the knowledge and skills on maternal rehabilitation that will help her to contribute to the growth of rehabilitation service in Ethiopia. Bilen believes the collaboration between University of Gondar and Queen’s University is a very big milestone for the disability and rehabilitation service in Ethiopia where those issues are at the level of infancy. Queen’s University will share their many years of academicals and clinical experience in the area and the Fellows will experience that first hand in Canada. Also observing the many accessible infrastructures, positive attitudes and accessible system and policy is very crucial for the Fellows to have a good picture of what needs to be done to address the many issues disability creates.     

As the project focuses on people with disability which are among the vulnerable population group, Bilen believes woman with infertility are included in that group. Infertility is a very marginalized reproductive issue in the Ethiopian context and woman suffer a lot with the psychological and social consequences of the condition. Ethiopia is on the pursuit of addressing sexual and reproductive health of woman and she believes her study will play a role in that. Bilen hopes to bring the experiences she will be getting related to disability, rehabilitation, conducting research and new approach to tackling disability related issues to University of Gondar and Ethiopia at large.   


Birhanu Mulat Addis

Name: Birhanu Mulat Addis

Department/School: Mechanical and Materials Engineering Department

Supervisor: Dr. Claire Davis

Research Topic: 3D Printed Hand Prosthesis Using Electrothermally Activated Polymer as an Actuator

Estimated Graduation Date: 31/08/23

Birhanu is a doctoral student in Mechanical and Materials Engineering, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Mekelle University Ethiopia in 2006 and MSc in Thermal Engineering at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia in 2011. Before Birhanu started his PhD career at Queens University, he worked at the University of Gondar (UoG) for more than 10 years as a faculty member in Mechanical Engineering Department engaged with teaching, research, and community services activities. Apart from academic responsibilities, he also worked in different academic leadership roles; 2 years as Department Head of Mechanical Engineering Department, 2 years as a Dean of Faculty of Technology, and 3 years as a Director of Institute of Technology at  the University of Gondar. Birhanu had a great aspiration to discover and learn new things by doing a high-level applied research (PhD research) in the field of Mechanical Engineering. He felt very excited when he saw the call for PhD application at Queen’s University through the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholarship program in collaboration with the University of Gondar. Birhanu applied for the scholarship program and it was a dream come true for him when he got accepted by Queen’s University for a PhD program in Mechanical and Materials Engineering department. The other crucial factor that motivates him towards MCF scholarship program is its aim of supporting disabled people by improving access to quality education and striving to create conducive environment through research and development activities. Birhanu is a kind of person who always desires to help such disadvantaged people in the community by any means he can. And this creates a golden opportunity for him to be engaged with research activities in the area of assistive technology that will have a meaningful impact for people with disabilities. Birhanu truly appreciates the initiative behind the collaboration between University of Gondar and Queen’s University as it is primarily aimed to support disabled people living in developing countries by improving access to quality education, creating employment opportunities, conducting problem solving research, and supporting them through community service activities. It is evident that both universities mutually benefit (especially UoG) from the partnership in knowledge exchange, capacity building, curriculum development and human resource development. In his opinion, the collaboration is undergoing effectively and smoothly starting from its launching date despite the presence of some inevitable uncertainties during implementation process.

Birhanu strongly believes that his research output will have a positive impact on disability as it focuses on design and development of assistive technology for disabled people in resource limited countries. After completing his PhD degree, Birhanu will return to his home country to contribute and share the knowledge and skills that he has acquired at Queen’s University.  More specifically, he will share the skills and experiences on engineering education and research that he gained here to the newly established Institute of Technology at UoG. Birhanu also has a plan to create special collaboration between the institute of technology at UoG and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Queen’s.  Besides to contributions to his home university, Birhanu will aggressively participate in community engagement activities and leadership roles believing that we are the next generation African leaders responsible for regional transformation.


Demewoz Menna

Name: Demewoz Menna

Department/School: Civil Engineering

Supervisor: Prof. Mark Green and Dr. Katerina Genikomsou

Research Topic: Applications of Superelastic NiTi Alloys in Reinforced Concrete and Passive Ankle Foot Orthoses

Estimated Graduation Date: 31/08/22

Demewoz is a doctoral student in Civil Engineering, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He received his BSc in Civil Engineering at Mekelle University, Ethiopia in 2012 and MSc in Civil Engineering (Structural Engineering) at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia in 2016. Demewoz has worked as a resident engineer in Ethiopian Construction Design and Supervision Works Corporation for five years. He has also participated in the design of various buildings and pedestrian bridge structures, consult private building organizations and has volunteered in multiple construction works. He joined University of Gondar, technology institute in 2016, as faculty member. After completing his MSc he wanted to peruse his PhD in a school with diverse community and multidisciplinary research. Being part of MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Queen’s University made his dream come true. Demewoz has found Queen’s University to be a home for remarkably diverse researchers working at the leading edge of innovation. He is extremely grateful for the research experience, support and friendship he has with faculty and students. Queen’s University has been a leader in establishing an inclusive community with accessible services and this experience can be shared with University of Gondar through the collaboration. Especially the technology institute at University of Gondar can significantly benefit from the collaboration since it is at the beginning of building laboratories and integrating research facilities. The experience of Queen’s in integrating various disciplines to create an inclusive engineering education that enact a better solution would be a great asset.

The values of the MasterCard foundation are reflected in both Demewoz’s research and teaching experience at Queen’s. He is researching on developing a robust, easy-to-build, comfortable and economical ankle foot orthoses that can improve the daily life of people living with foot drop syndrome (commonly a post stroke disability). The research experience and working with sophisticated experimental facilities are transferable to his next carrier at University of Gondar. Moreover, his experience through taking courses and working as a teaching assistant helped him to improve his teaching ability and delivering courses in a more inclusive way. After completing his study, he envisions to research and consult on improving accessibility of Ethiopian/African cities and schools. Demewoz also plans to lead research on sustainable and locally available construction materials.


Eshetu Haileselassie Engeda

Name: Eshetu Haileselassie Engeda

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Nora Fayed

Research Topic: Severe malaria-related disability in African children

Estimated Graduation Date: 31/08/21

Eshetu is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He has a BSc in Clinical nursing and MSc in Pediatrics Nursing, prior to coming to Queens he was an Assistant Professor of pediatrics nursing at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. Eshetu has worked as a nursing school head and principal investigator of the ‘Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI)’ project at the University of Gondar. He has an extensive background in child health education, research, and clinical practice. He has published several scholarly articles in peer-review journals and has participated in various local and international scientific conferences. Eshetu has also worked with various task-forces at the Federal Ministry of Health level in Ethiopia as a nurse expert in the preparation of various documents including the country’s 10 years nursing strategic plan and several training manuals. In the African context, despite the triple burden of health and health related problems (infectious diseases, non-infectious diseases, and injuries) that can potentially cause various forms of disabilities, little attention is given (or very little is done) in terms of rehabilitation research, practice and policy. This fact is one of the most important issues that motivated Eshetu to study Rehabilitation Science through the Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Program. His specific aim is to advance his research capacity from the rehabilitation perspective so as to effectively conduct relevant studies and generate evidence that influences rehabilitation practice and policy in Africa. It’s a great collaboration that can benefit both Queen’s University and the University of Gondar in various aspects such as knowledge and skill transfer, resource utilization, student exchange, developing and implementing collaborative projects (both research and knowledge translation projects), faculty development, etc.

In Eshetu’s opinion, the assumption behind inclusive education is the fact that students in a certain learning environment may come with different abilities. Therefore, that learning facility shall be designed in a way that it meets the diverse needs of the students by creating a common learning environment at the school, classroom, program, and activity level. This issue is particularly important for students with disabilities as they have diverse needs depending on their disablement. Eshetu thinks his education will help him to deeply understand such issues, conduct relevant studies, and generate evidence. He can also transfer relevant knowledge and skills to the University of Gondar faculty and students. 


Fisseha Zewdu Amdie

 Name: Fisseha Zewdu Amdie

Department/School: Nursing

Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Woo

Research Topic: Simulation-Based Diabetes Self-Management Education and Patient Empowerment in Ethiopia

Estimated Graduation Date: 30/11/22

Fisseha is a doctoral student in Nursing, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and an Assistant Professor of Nursing at University of Gondar. He received his BSc degree from University of Gondar and MSc degree from Addis Ababa University. He is passionate about chronic disease management. This passion has led Fisseha to work with patients with diabetes and patient empowerment programs at University of Gondar tertiary referral hospital. He has worked as a program coordinator for continue education programs and participated in patient education outreach initiatives. Fisseha’s Ph.D. project area is on initiating and strengthening self-management programs in Ethiopia. He is very keen to create innovative and cost-effective diabetes self-management programs. Fisseha is passionate about the care and rehabilitation of patients with chronic health conditions and he is always eager to invest his time and energy towards patient empowerment. Fisseha believes that being part of the Mastecard Foundation Scholars Program will fulfill his personal and professional goals. His current Ph.D. program at Queen’s will also allow him to build upon his foundation of clinical practice, personal experience and passion. He believes that the collaboration between these two universities created a great opportunity to enhance research capacity and set a foundation for a joint research projects on inclusive education and community-based rehabilitation in Ethiopia.

Building a more deep and broad understanding of research methods through his PhD program will allow Fisseha to serve as a better mentor, coach and support to students who are addressing the multifaceted needs of patients with chronic health conditions. Furthermore, Fisseha’s PhD research will help him conceptualize the unique and contextual needs of people living with chronic health conditions and explore how he can use this knowledge to improve treatment and management of these complex conditions. In addition, Fisseha hopes that his future work will improve education of students as they learn about the care of patients with complex health conditions in Ethiopia.


Hiwot Temesgen Andualem

Name: Hiwot Temesgen Andualem

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Heather Aldersey

Research Topic: Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Access for Women with Intellectual Disability: The Role of Community-Based Rehabilitation Programs

Estimated Graduation Date: 2023

Hiwot is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. She received her BA in Sociology at Addis Ababa University in 2014 and MA in Social Work in Addis Ababa University in 2016. Hiwot was looking for an opportunity to advance her knowledge on how to help and work with vulnerable members of the society, especially people with disabilities. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program presented an opportunity to pursue her study at Queen’s University, Rehabilitation Science program. At the end of her study, Hiwot expects herself to have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to ensure equal participation of people with disabilities in different aspects of their lives. Moreover, she expects to have the skills to conduct research and generate new knowledge to contribute to the field of rehabilitation. The collaboration between the University of Gondar and Queen’s University will benefit both Universities in terms of exchanging pedagogical skills among staff members and opening the way to collaborative research activities regarding rehabilitation, inclusive education and so on.

Hiwot’s research area focuses on enhancing Community Based Rehabilitation Program’s services to be able to provide an opportunity for women with intellectual disability have access to sexual and reproductive health services. This study can benefit the society, especially women with intellectual disability to enjoy their rights to the fullest. The study will also contribute in advancing the services of CBR program at the University of Gondar by adapting the experiences of other countries on the area.


Molalign Belay Adugna

Name: Molalign Belay Adugna

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Setareh Ghahari (PhD) & Dr. Rosemary Lysaght (PhD)

Research Topic: The Influence of Stigma on Educational Participation among Children with Physical Disabilities in Northwest Ethiopia

Estimated Graduation Date: 07/07/21

Molalign Belay is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and a faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He has worked for different local organizations in Ethiopia as a volunteer trainer, trustee, and regular guest as a public educator and social commentator. Being an African visionary young scholar and a recipient of the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow, he is interested in participating in different programs and engaging with and learning from others. He envisions, upon the completion of his PhD studies, to work for social justice and develop a framework for promoting the inclusion and full participation of children/youths with disabilities and their caregivers in their communities. He is also interested in organizing a community of young scholars and facilitating community engagement by mentoring students with disabilities and establishing community-based associations and capacity-building training workshops and youth dialogue forums in Ethiopia. He seeks opportunities to build networks for future collaborative and joint projects on education, research and community services in Ethiopia/Africa.

Molalign has a dream of being an effective and influential educator and public leader in his community and country and working to and with underprivileged people including PWDs through a variety of means. Therefore, he is interested in being a part of the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholars Program and studying global leadership perspective and practice elsewhere in Africa and the world. His fellowship at the MCF is a historic, unique, and unforgettable moment for me because I have been exposed and experiencing with standard and authenticated education/curricula, tested experiential learnings and collaborative disability and rehabilitation research projects, and new ideas about disability and rehabilitation at leading organization i.e., Queen’s University. Through the MCF fellowship, Molalign has met his PhD advisors and mentors, other Fellows and senior academicians and disability/rehabilitation researchers as well as civic association leaders.

Molalign is actively engaged in his community through his disability related research and community services for those who are potentially stereotyped negatively and by mobilizing resources to fight stigma and related barriers to disability inclusion. In rural areas of Ethiopia, for example, children with disabilities (CWDs) never went to school; instead they are shackled and confide at home and excluded from the community, subjected to charity, and deprived of their rights to access in education, healthcare, and justice. Fighting disability stigma and providing equitable access to education, employment and services to PWDs will ensure their inclusion and improved lives. His PhD dissertation project is aimed at examining disability stigma from different stakeholders’ perspective and developing a substantive theory. Thus, his dissertation project will provide a baseline data to measure stigma along with its contributing factors and effects on the quality of life of PWDs in different contexts of stakeholders in developing countries. Molalign is motivated to teach more about positive attitudes and to conduct disability stigma research, using international perspective and diversity lens and advocate for PWDs and inform inclusive disability policy and evidence-based practice. He will actively volunteer at his university and pledge to advocate and work with local community for social justice and creating disability inclusive culture, removing stigma related problems, and ensuing sustainable opportunities for the meaningful participation of PWDs in Ethiopia. Molalign has big dreams and a list of professional and leadership goals to accomplish on disability stigma research and inclusive education policy and practice in Ethiopia and effectively designing disability rights literacy and anti-stigma programs for different local contexts. To do this, training and experience sharing with other disability researchers would have a paramount importance to his professional development and future research initiatives and practice.  Thus, Molalign is grateful for the MCF and his home and host universities for such a great lifetime opportunity; he really needs their keen cooperation and help in this regard by providing me more support in his final PhD year and also considering me for more and further disability and inclusive education projects.


Mulugeta Bayisa Chala

Name: Mulugeta Bayisa Chala

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Dr. Jordan Miller and Dr. Catherine Donnelly

Research Topic: Building foundations for research on self-management for chronic low back pain in Ethiopia

Estimated Graduation Date: 05/21

Mulugeta is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He completed both his BSc (Sep. 2008) and MSc (July 2012) in Physiotherapy at University of Gondar (UoG), Ethiopia. Soon after he completed his undergraduate training, he joined the department of Physiotherapy as a graduate assistant and has been serving as a faculty member ever since. Mulugeta has been involved in teaching, patient care, and research at UoG before he embarked on a Ph.D. journey at Queen’s University, Canada. As a practicing physiotherapist, Mulugeta has treated patients with musculoskeletal disorders at UoG hospital. Specifically, he worked with patients suffering from pain-related disabilities. While working with these patients, he witnessed the gap between the needs of patients with chronic pain and the type of services they receive in the university hospital. This existing gap motivated Mulugeta to consider joining a Ph.D. program at Queen’s University through the funding of the MasterCard Foundation. He joined Queen’s with the aim of developing knowledge in Rehabilitation Science and research skills, which will enable him to translate best research evidence into practice to improve the quality of life of people with chronic low back pain. His Ph.D. work aims to lay a foundation for chronic pain self-management program and support people with chronic pain disability in Ethiopia.  Mulugeta believes that the partnership between Queen’s University and UoG is an exciting and creative project to develop the capacity of the university of Gondar staff. In particular, through this collaboration, the knowledge and skills gained during the capacity building training at Queen’s will advance Rehabilitation Science education in Ethiopia. Likewise, the partnership between the two institutions will also benefit the Queen’s community through reciprocal learning from the students who bring diverse knowledge to the university. Lastly, the ongoing collaborative research projects between Queen’s and University of Gondar staff is an example of how the North-South partnerships bring team of researchers from different backgrounds to solve specific problems (e.g., disability) in a community. 

Mulugeta believes that the research skills he is gaining at Queen’s University will be a stepping stone to be an established researcher in the area of disability and inclusive life in Ethiopia. For instance, the research findings from his Ph.D. project will allow him to design a culturally competent and acceptable chronic pain self-management program in Ethiopia to reduce the impact of pain-related disability among people with low back pain (a condition which is known to contribute to significant years lived with disability). Lastly, Mulugeta will apply the knowledge on disability and rehabilitation related theories, models, and frameworks he has gained during his Ph.D. training while teaching disability-related courses and conduct disability-related research at UoG.


Selamawit Kassa

Name: Selamawit Kassa

Department/School: Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor: Setareh Ghahari

Research Topic: Schizophrenia recovery in Ethiopia

Estimated Graduation Date: 30/06/23

Selamawit is a doctoral student in Rehabilitation Science, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. Before starting her PhD she was teaching, providing community services and conducting research at University of Gondar Ethiopia. In addition to that she has been working as a quality care unit officer with various activities such as reviewing and approving newly developed and revised curricula, organizing trainings and conferences for teachers and developing guideline and working documents for the university. Selamawit’s motivation to be part of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program comes from the need to understand disability, inclusive education, and rehabilitation. Specifically, she has the interest to help individuals with mental illness in the process of their recovery, participation with the society and being independent at work, in school and day to day activities. From Queens University Selamawit expects to learn different research approaches, the concept of rehabilitation and how to conduct studies that could solve the society’s problems.  The collaboration between Queens University and University of Gondar is a great opportunity for knowledge exchange and experience sharing. The two universities have their own qualities and experience in providing knowledge to the society and serving the community. Such kind of collaboration makes their work more advanced and accessible to the community. All the activities done so far including the scholar’s program and research are an exemplary procedure to reach out to individuals with disabilities.

After Selamawit finishes her study, her vision is to work on improving the recovery process of individuals with mental illnesses so that they could have a better quality of life, societal participation, education, and work. These could be done by designing and implementing projects, providing trainings and conducting studies that focus on mental illness and community based rehabilitation.


Wondwossen Firew

Name: Wondwossen Firew

Department/School: Law

Supervisor: Professor Jacob Weinrib

Research Topic: The Right to Mental Health Care: Normative and Institutional Exploration

Estimated Graduation Date: 2023

Wondwossen is a doctoral student in Law, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He received his LL.B in Law and an LL.M in Constitutional and Public Laws. Wondwossen’s research area has been constitutional Law, human rights, administrative Law, Jurisprudence and medical Law. He has taught and advised students in these areas. Apart from his teaching role, he was also working as the Director of Legal Services of the University of Gondar. Wondwossen’s latest academic rank is Assistant Professor of Law. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has many motivating and interesting initiatives. The aspiration of addressing the much neglected disabilities issues is one of the motivating factors. At Queen’s, he expects that his theoretical and practical skills for advocating and addressing the pressing needs of people with disability will be addressed. Wondwossen’s course work as well as dissertation project are all tailored to examine and implement policy and legal norms that deal with constitutional rights of people with disabilities. The collaboration between University of Gondar and Queens University is fruitful and effective. Both UoG and Queen’s are rightly placed to scientifically approach the plights that people with disability are facing. This is an exemplary and sustainable collaboration that hopefully will have a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of millions of people.

Wondwossen’s research focuses on addressing the theoretical/normative void that constitutional and human rights laws have created by their ignorance, namely the issue of the right to mental healthcare. While there is a right to health, whether the core of health which is mental health would also be included in the care system is debatable. I intend to address mental illness as a disability from the very foundation of entitlement whereby people with mental illness would have an outright legal claim towards care and support in the community. In the end, his project will draw from comparative jurisdictions and design and advocate a rights based mental health care system. To that end, Wondwossen’s dissertation will actively explore for ways that advance and advocate mental healthcare that is both acceptable and available to those deserving.


Yetnayet Sisay Yehuala

Name: Yetnayet Sisay Yehuala

Department/School: Health Promotion

Supervisor: Amy Latimer-Cheung 

Research Topic: Current state of practice of polices, programs, and research on physical activity participation for persons with physical disabilities in Ethiopia/Africa/Low- and Middle-income countries.

Estimated Graduation Date: 2023

Yetnayet Sisay Yehuala is a doctoral student in Health Promotion at the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at University of Gondar. Yetnayet has BSc in Medical Laboratory Technology and MSc in Public Health from University of Gondar. She has over five years’ experience in academic institutions in Ethiopia. She also worked as laboratory accreditation project coordinator and had an experience in clinical laboratory setup.  Engaged in teaching, advising, leadership, research & community service, she has also participated in blood donation, clean up & afforestation campaigns. With great passion in promoting healthy living, Yetnayet is interested to work in the areas of chronic diseases, disability, and healthy lifestyle. By being apart of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and a student at Queen’s University, Yetnayet wishes to expand her  technical knowledge of health promotion and turn her focus towards their wide-scale applications in Ethiopia and Africa as a researcher, instructor and community service provider. The prospect of participating in this program is an excellent way to gain up-to-date, relevant and applied health promotion, as well as build specialist knowledge of the strategies and techniques of health promotion. With the intention to work on inclusive education and enhancing community based rehabilitation for persons with disabilities in Africa, the collaboration of University of Gondar and Queen’s University is trying to make a difference at the individual, community, institution and country level. This partnership can be a benchmark for those who are interested to work on the areas of disability.

Upon completion of her PhD study in health promotion, Yetnayet wants to advance and create polices, programs, and evidence based research’s related to persons with disabilities and able bodied individuals participation in healthy living at university of Gondar and extend the work to Ethiopia and Africa. With great passion in promoting healthy living, Yetnayet is interested to work on the areas of chronic diseases, disability, and healthy lifestyle.

Birhan S

Name: Birhan S

Department/School: Law

Supervisor: Professor Kevin Banks

Research Topic: Justifying and Envisioning Reasonable Economic Accommodation and State-supported Entrepreneurship for Disabled Persons: A Case of Developing Countries (Ethiopia)

Estimated Graduation Date: 08/22

Birhan is a doctoral student in Law, a Mastercard Foundation Fellow and faculty member at the University of Gondar in Ethiopia. He received his LL.B from Haramaya University in Ethiopia in 2008 and his LL.M in Law and Development from Warwick University, Coventry, UK in 2013. Prior to Birhan’s studies with the Mastercard Foundation, he was a Lecturer at the School of Law at University of Gondar, Ethiopia from 2008-2018; Coordinator, Research and Publication Office, School of Law, University of Gondar from 2014-2018; Host and Founder, Mizan Justice and Legal Litracy Radio Program, Fana F.M Radio, Gondar, Ethiopia from 2015-2017 and Director, Legal Service Office, University of Gondar from 2009-2011. As a young academician, doing research that leads to a PhD has been Birhan’s priority, and the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program provides this opportunity for him.