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Volunteer in Ethiopia – Cuso International. Interview with Tina Sweeney

Tina Sweeney is the outreach and partnership officer at Cuso International. In a Q&A with  Yohannes Ayalew of Ethiofidel.com , she reflected about volunteer opportunities in Ethiopia for diaspora professionals.

1. Can you please introduce yourself?

 Hi, I’m Tina and I’m grateful to be living with passion and working with purpose in the role of Outreach and Partnerships officer for Cuso International in the Toronto satellite office.  My position offers me the chance to be part of a team that enhances Canadians’ participation in sustainable development. In my role I attend, host and collaborate on outreach activities and partnerships that include working with our alumni, diaspora communities, universities, civil society and the private sector.

tina S

My involvement serves to increase awareness about engagement of Canadians in development efforts, including Diaspora, and to promote the value of international volunteering, to help us recruit skilled volunteers for overseas placements, e-volunteers and other local engagement activities. In addition I partner for Diaspora recruitment and engagement to support our Diaspora for Development program (DfD). An example would be partnering with key Ethiopian organizations in the GTA to support our Access to Quality Health Services (AQHS) programming in Ethiopia.

  1. What is Cuso International primarily doing?

Cuso International primary work within the United Nations Global Goals is to reduce poverty and inequality by working in inclusive partnerships, through equitable and sustainable development.

We employ a people-centred approach to support our partners by allowing them to drive their own development, recognizing that we build on each other’s capabilities.

Through the financial support of Global Affairs Canada, we operate programs in about 20 countries, in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia.

And our work is focused on:

  • Community priorities include; access to justice, accountability and transparency, citizen participation, Gender equality, governance
  • Health priorities include; maternal, newborn and child health, quality health services
  • Livelihoods priorities included; education and skills training to improve employability, enterprise development and financing, entrepreneurship support, sustainable agriculture, sustainable natural resource management and climate change adaptation, value chains

Our approach is on building skills and transferring knowledge to bring positive lasting change, and we do this by making volunteer professionals who have the skills, knowledge and experience, we make them available for periods of between 3 months and 2 years to work collaboratively with our partners to improve lives.

  1. What is Cuso International’s operation look like in Ethiopia?

Our projects in Ethiopia seeks to build the capacity of public sector institutions to plan and execute quality, inclusive Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) services. And citizen participation in health decision making at the institutional level. We are currently looking for, a Partnership Development Advisor, Radiologist, Health Advisors and Medical Doctors/Specialists, Midwife Advisor, Gender and Research Advisor, Nurse, Health Equipment Maintenance Advisor, and Information & Communication Technology Advisor

Partners Include:

 Benishangul Gumuz Regional Health Bureau, whose mission is to reduce morbidity, mortality, and disability as well as to improve the health status of the regional society by providing a comprehensive package of preventative, rehabilitative, and basic curative health services via a decentralized and democratized health system.

Assosa General Hospital (AGH), established in 1992, is the first and main hospital in the region offering public health care. It provides both outpatient and inpatient services with due attention to maternal and child healthcare program and has a capacity of 120 beds.

Madawalabu University, MWU is devoted to the sustainable socio-economic development of the country through provision of quality education, understanding community based research and delivering needs based community services.

Pawe Hospital

  1. What major accomplishments will Cuso international have in terms of its operations in Ethiopia in the coming years?

Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Care (MNCH) are a priority for Cuso International. In partnership, this learning program centers on midwifes in-service, looking at enhancing clinical and non-clinical skills of midwifes (through pre-service and in-service training, mentoring, supportive supervision). The second piece will promote community engagement with actions to bridge the community to the health system, strengthen relationship between community health workers and midwifes working at the first level of care, and empower men and women to make informed health decision. Lastly, the initiative will address issues related to the regulation of the profession, raising the profile of midwifes, promoting midwifery, and through organizational strengthening of Midwifery Associations.

  1. Are there any upcoming placements for volunteers in Ethiopia?


Fundraising and Advocacy
Partnership Development Advisor Ethiopia May 2016 12 Months
Radiologist Ethiopia May 2016 3 Months
Health Advisors and Medical Doctors/Specialists Ethiopia May 2016 6-12 Months
Midwife Advisor Ethiopia May 2016 12 Months
Gender and Research Advisor Ethiopia May 2016 6 Months
Nurse Ethiopia June 2016 12 Months
Information and Communication Technologies
Health Equipment Maintenance Advisor Ethiopia May 2016 12 Months
Information & Communication Technology Advisor Ethiopia May 2016 12 Months


  1. Any messages to Ethiopian Professionals about Cuso International’s Program?

To the Ethiopian Professionals, I encourage you to consider being a Diaspora volunteer or e-volunteer.  Please keep informed by contacting me personally for more info on the volunteer journey and financials that we cover, I can be reached at 647.478.4089 x1 or tina.sweeney@cusointernational.org, please come to our events, sign up for our e-alerts or e-newsletters. And finally, check www.cusointernational.org often because NEW placements are being posted regularly.

I want to thank all our volunteers who have shared their skills in Ethiopia and to our Diaspora partners and communities I have worked with in the Toronto area for your partnership and support; People to People Canada, Young Diplomats, The Ethiopian Association of the GTA, Ethiofidel and our newest partners Enheed.org and African Unity Sixth Region, we appreciate your contributions and I look forward to continuing the dialogue and to find ways to build capacity for your organizations at a local level.

Thank you



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