Fear has risen in the University community in Mekelle Northern Ethiopia following the resumption of airstrikes in Mekelle by the Ethiopian Federal Forces.
Many media outlets have reported the effects of the airstrikes in Mekelle. On September 3, 2022, Washington Post reported how an airstrike cut through a Kindergarten and killed four people including children. At Mekelle University, the airstrikes have placed university professors at great risk.
Education in Mekelle and other parts of Tigray Northern Ethiopia has been under attack since the war began in November 2020. The region has been experiencing internet, electricity, and telecommunication blackouts as a result of the war. Also, banking and educational services have been disrupted.
The Digital Innovation and Skills Hub (DISH) has been helping youths whose lives were disrupted by the war to access education services in Tigray. The DISH Team at Mekelle University has registered 2800 youths that will take 3-months short courses on Business Administration, Primary School Teaching, Computer Science Level 1, Community Mental Health, and Community Health.
“The DISH project has given hope to so many young people that they can learn and educate themselves at their own pace and convenience even in times of crises when life seems full of darkness because of the ongoing genocidal war and total siege imposed on the people of Tigray” – Dr. Helen Tesfay.
The students are also trained to build mental and community resilience. This helps them to address issues such as violence, suicide, and parenting problems.
The DISH platform was established with 12 partners in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Netherlands to implement two projects funded under the Orange Knowledge Programme managed by Nuffic and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The DISH range from Universities to civil society organizations. They include East Africa University and Eastern College in Somalia; the Sudanese Organisation for Research and Development (SORD) in Sudan; Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO) in South Sudan; Mekelle University, Aksum University, Admas University, Addis Ababa University, and Adwa Pan-African University in Ethiopia; Kampala International University in Uganda; and the NGO Action Africa Help International. Tilburg University in the Netherlands assists the partnership.
The projects contribute to peacebuilding, employment for vulnerable youth and women, and strengthening resilience. Through building capacity on e-learning and developing 11 low-threshold skill-based courses, the projects will graduate around 13.000 youth/women in employable areas enhanced with digital innovation and increase the capacities of authorities to utilize new opportunities of digitalization and data sharing.