Redefining Opportunities in Humanitarian Tech in Ethiopia through an immersive internship program

iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia and Addis Ababa University have initiated a six-month internship program to provide hands-on experience in humanitarian data and Information Management (IM) for university graduates.

iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia, in partnership with Addis Ababa University (AAU), rolled out its inaugural internship program. This six-month internship, which kicked off in June, offers a unique platform for university graduates to acquire hands-on experience in humanitarian data and Information Management (IM).  

Since 2017, iMMAP Ethiopia has been instrumental in improving Information Management and analysis for decision-making in collaboration with the government and humanitarian partners. iMMAP Ethiopia places a strong emphasis on Humanitarian Information Support and Capacity Building." 

A report by the United Nations noted how women in Ethiopia face numerous challenges in pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). These challenges encompass deep-rooted societal norms that discourage women from pursuing careers in the scientific domains. 

In the ever-evolving global landscape of STEM fields women's representation remains below 30%. However, iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia is determined to bridge this divide in the country grappling with a high rate in school dropout, particularly prevalent among young women who often face societal pressures.  

Masters of Science in Remote sensing and Geoinformatics, School of Earth Sciences, Addis Ababa University, Masresha Anwar and Tsion Taye, attend iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia’s first internship program.  

The early departure of many students from formal education in Ethiopia, combined with insufficient support systems for those aspiring to pursue STEM fields, exacerbates the gender gap within these domains. This makes initiatives like the iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia internship program even more relevant.  Women are extremely underrepresented in the within Ethiopia’s humanitarian sector, even more so in the IM domain.  

“Women in IM sector is few in Ethiopia. We’re very happy to shortlist two recent graduates in Remote Sensing and GIS from the Addis Ababa University to join iMMAP Ethiopia as interns”Nuredin Abdella Mahemmud, iMMAP Inc. Program Coordinator

Affirming Mahemmud, Abdelsemed Kedir, the iMMAP Inc. Technical Advisor and Internship Focal Point, emphasizes the effectiveness of internship programs in bridging the gap in the information management sector in Ethiopia. 

The internship program offers a unique platform for students interested in pursuing a career in humanitarian IM and analysis. With a commitment to provide practical experience, the program equips interns with the necessary skills to contribute meaningfully to the field of humanitarian tech.  

Under the supervision of the Head of the Humanitarian Information Support Team (HIST), interns are actively engaged in data collection, analysis, visualization, and the development of IM tools and databases. At the end of the program, interns will be equipped with practical skills, foster their professional growth, and opens doors to career opportunities in STEM and the humanitarian sector.  

In the context of promoting gender equality and inclusivity in the field of Humanitarian IM, Gashaw Bekele Mekuria, iMMAP Inc. 's Senior IM Officer and Head of HIST, underscores the crucial significance of increasing the representation of women. Recognizing the prevailing gender disparity within the profession, he highlights the United Nations' commitment to bridging the gender gap and achieving a balanced workforce where women contribute equally alongside their male counterparts.  

“Women’s contribution is scarce to nil in the IM domain in the country. iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia, therefore, wants to support women involvement and increase their participation in this field.” Gashaw Bekele Mekuria, Head of HIST and Senior IMO at iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia

In the pursuit of an internship opportunity, Masresha Anwar, a Master graduate in Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics, discovered the internship pathway through her alma mater. Expressing her excitement, she joined the HIST project at iMMAP Inc., emphasizing the valuable immersive opportunity working with data and conducting analysis. 

“This internship allows me to interact with different types of data and analytical methodologies. And learn more about Information Management issues.” Masresha Anwar, iMMAP Ethiopia Intern, MSc. in Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics

Another Remote Sensing and GIS graduate from AAU, Tsion Taye, shares her enthusiasm for her internship at iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia. She looks forward to developing her data management and presentation skills, gaining insights into humanitarian organizations' operations, and applying her theoretical knowledge in a practical setting. 

Dr. Binyam Tesfaw Hailu, Associate Professor of Remote Sensing & Geoinformatics at Addis Ababa University, endorses the program and emphasizes the significant benefits it offers to the AAU graduates.  

“We are grateful for having an internship opportunity to our graduated students (specifically, female graduates) from iMMAP Inc. that helps them to gain practical experience, give access to the industry, and build a professional network in geo-information management.” Dr. Binyam Tesfaw Hailu, Associate professor, Remote Sensing & Geoinformatics, Addis Ababa University

Through empowering women in STEM and fostering their participation in the field, iMMAP Inc. Ethiopia's initiatives actively addressed the stark gender disparity, while driving positive change in the region’s humanitarian setting.