News

Capacity Enhancement to achieve Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in the Medical Sector in developing countries

12-10-2021

Together with the Elisabeth Strouven Foundation, MSM supports the Haramaya University, College of Health and Medical Sciences (Ethiopia) in promoting gender equality and women empowerment in Health and Medical Education.

The Haramaya University (HU), College of Health and Medical Sciences (CHMS) was established in 1996 under the long-term government plan and the mandate given to the higher education institutions to train competent health professions in Ethiopia. The College is in Harar town and has a teaching hospital called Hiwot Fana Hospital, which is the largest referral hospital in eastern Ethiopia.  

Although HU has been committed to creating a gender-sensitive environment within the university itself as well as in Eastern Ethiopian communities, challenges remain. These include the lack of awareness on the importance of gender in health education, the high prevalence of Gender Based Violence (GBV), and women often being the only ones responsible for gender inequality issues. To address these challenges, the Elisabeth Strouven Foundation, the Netherlands and MSM have supported a one-day gender dialogue workshop on GBV and the role of men in addressing GBV and promoting gender equality, where 22 CHMS staff (60% women) participated.

The main objective of this gender dialogue workshop was creating awareness, enhancing commitment of male health professionals and leaders in promoting gender equality and empowering women in the college and the health sector.

During the dialogue, GBV in the health and medical sector and the role of men in promoting gender equality were presented and discussed. Small group and plenary discussions were held, for the participants to share their experience. In addition, a discussion on importance of gender in medical education, female representation in different leadership positions, gendered access to resources and opportunities in the health and medical college as well as challenging factors were discussed. The participants also agreed on ways forward, which included a more participative approach to activity design and involving support staff into training.

Finally, the participants highlighted that it was important for the dialogue to continue and suggested topics for the future, such as attracting male health professionals to gender equality activities and actively promoting female leadership in the health and medical sector. Furthermore, a gender task force should be established, and monitoring and support need to be put in place for the implementation of actions as suggested during the dialogue. Also, most participants acknowledged that they had understood that GBV goes beyond rape only, and why it is important to engage men when aiming to achieve gender equality.

MSM's International Projects and Consultancies Department

This workshop is part of MSM’s International Project and Consultancies Department. The department is an is an expert centre on local economic development in emerging and developing markets.‚Äč We capacitate managers and professionals from government, private sector, NGOs, and post-secondary education in Africa, Asia, Middle East, and Latin America. We offer consultancy and customized training programs, and we manage complex projects in key sectors, e.g. water, agriculture and health. For more information click here.

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