Project Description

Country Context

Ethiopia is a country rich in culture, history, and landscape. It struggles, however, with poverty and remains ranked toward the bottom in many human development indices, despite having one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The state not only controls the economy but also national politics, repressing political opposition and forbidding human rights and domestic NGO and INGO work that even implicitly has a human rights agenda. The population, Africa’s second largest, had for years largely bought into this government agenda to reach “middle-income status,” however the last two years has seen much political and social unrest.

Ethiopia has long been an “aid darling”  of international aid and development donors, who, in sponsoring a significant portion of the national budget, have to overlook the repression and human rights abuses. But overlook it they do, making the country the world’s third-largest aid recipient, and active host for most inter-governmental, governmental, non-governmental and national organizations working on development programs typical throughout the world.

Aside from these issues, Ethiopia, one of the world’s oldest civilizations and most distinctive cultures, the birthplace of coffee, is a captivating place. It is also an ideal learning site for students of international affairs.

IMG_3695Project Work Focus

The Ethiopia IFP is organized around project work with client organizations involved with poverty and development, education, and environment and climate change. While it is possible to work with an inter-governmental UN agency or international NGO, most of our client organizations are grassroots, national, small NGOs that can actually use the work we contribute.

Many projects will be developing tools for Monitoring and Evaluation, such as data collection, data visualization, data analysis and reporting.

Sector focus includes economic development, gendered development, and the environment. Regions of Ethiopia have always been drought prone, and global climate change and recent severe droughts have intensified the problem, as well as killing tens of thousands. The Ethiopian government takes this seriously and is working with national and international organizations on projects to remediate and affected populations.

We will be based in Addis Ababa, though we may also travel for work.

Specific Project Work and Client Organizations

Consortium of Self-help group Approach Promoters (CoSAP) – CoSAP works with women’s microsavings groups, of which 15 are current members of the Consortium.

  • Finish previous IFP work with Monitoring and Evaluation protocols, data collection and timetables. Deliverable: Full M&E plan
  • Resiliency project data collection and analysis. Deliverable: Mid-term Evaluation
  • Project “pre-evaluation” of Environment and Natural Resource Management with SHGs project. Deliverable: Baseline Report
  • Develop a database and database management system, convert a database to Google Drive, staff training in google drive. Deliverable: Digital database
  • Document best practices for new Environment and Natural Resource Management with Women’s Self-Help Groups project. Deliverable: Best Practices Report
  • Produce proposal and research funding for CoSAP Training and Research Center. Deliverable: Grant Proposal

Wide Horizons for Children – Child welfare agency that works with impoverished families in Tigray, Addis Ababa and Sidama on education, income generation, and microenterprise.

  • Data collection, analysis and reporting on School Feeding and Education programs. Deliverable: Midterm Eval
  • Develop a database and database management system, convert the database to Google Drive, staff training in google drive. Deliverable: Digital database

Enat Bank – Bank created to empower women, supporting women to make deposits, access credit, and trade services, and better manage finances.

  • Internship for students interested in finance.

Yom Institute of Economic Development– University and think-tank that studies and teaches economics, environment and resources, and agriculture.

  • Research and internship opportunity for students interested in the above sectors.


We will study Amharic as a means of negotiating the basics of daily life, and for the social and cultural inroads, one can make by showing its people the respect of learning – or trying to – the language. In Spring, Amharic class will be held Fridays at noon, and intensively during the first weeks in-country.

Living in Ethiopia

Students will live together in rented flats in Addis Ababa, a pleasant city with decentralized hubs. High elevation (7,800 feet) means cool weather, and the rainy season will be upon us. The internet is slower than you will be used to, so if you are a person who needs fast internet or has difficulty being unplugged, you should choose another IFP. The food and restaurants are of course wonderful. Besides the magnificent local cuisine, Italy’s five-year occupation left a legacy of excellent Italian food. The coffee is quite simply the best in the world.

Program Info and Requirements