Ethiopian Global Initiative

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Template:Infobox organization

The Ethiopian Global Initiative (EGI) is an international non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Founded in 2006, it harnesses the collective social and intellectual capital of students and professionals to undertake sustainable projects in Ethiopia.


Samuel Gebru founded EGI on October 22, 2006 in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a 14-year-old student.[1][2] Founded initially as the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative, EGI launched its international operations and changed its name in June 2010.

After watching the December 2004 Oprah Winfrey Show program on fistula in Ethiopia and the work of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, then-8th grade student, Samuel Gebru, who was 13-years-old at the time, was motivated to organize youth and raise funds for the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.[3] He called for a meeting where 13 Ethiopian American youth in Boston discussed how they could support the hospital. The group was known as the Ethiopian Team and many Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians alike supported their Fistula Project.[4][5]

The project’s 13 members, the youngest in 6th grade and the oldest in 12th grade, were able to raise enough funds to sponsor 11 women for treatment. On October 22, 2006 the Ethiopian American Youth Initiative was formed as a successor to the Ethiopian Team. It was established to create a network of students to promote Ethiopian culture in the United States, fundraise for developmental projects in Ethiopia and facilitate youth leadership and networking.

The Ethiopian American Youth Initiative embarked on a national expansion on August 16, 2007, recruiting members throughout the country. On February 12, 2010 the organization opened its headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts to expand its operations. After the 2010 Ethiopian American Youth Initiative Conference in Washington, D.C., the organization changed its name to the Ethiopian Global Initiative and launched operations internationally.[6]


EGI is involved in various efforts that help Ethiopia and Ethiopians. Working on development projects in Ethiopia and supporting community-based initiatives, EGI partners with public and private sector organizations to realize its vision of sustaining economic prosperity and increasing community engagement.

U.S. College Students For Ethiopia

The Initiative runs U.S. College Students for Ethiopia, which is a project that sends college students from the United States to Ethiopia for volunteer and intern opportunities over the summer, semester or year, allowing students to work in a field related to their studies.[7] U.S. College Students For Ethiopia aims to tackle the shortage of a skilled and educated workforce in Ethiopia by bridging the communication and access gap between U.S. college students and Ethiopian organizations.[8]

During the summer of 2011, U.S. College Students for Ethiopia interns worked for organizations in the fields of Public Health, Micro-finance, and International Relations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They also took part in the Youth Community Dialogue, a six-week project designed to help Ethiopian high school students collaborate and communicate effectively with their peers and within their community as a whole.[9]

EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund

The EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund is a project that funds the full cost of attendance for 8 students in the Bachelors of Science program at the Hamlin College of Midwives in Ethiopia.[10] EGI recognizes that Ethiopia shows a high prevalence of maternal and child deaths, disabilities, and other complications during labor due to the lack of skilled attendants during birth.[11]

EGI aims to help provide these midwives with an advanced education, so that they can in turn deliver critical knowledge to rural communities and families and provide guidance to mothers with obstetric fistula in Ethiopia.[12]

BuildEthiopia Conference

EGI's BuildEthiopia Conference is the annual convergence of a cross-section of students and professionals that share and discuss solutions and opportunities for transforming Ethiopia.[13] BuildEthiopia develops solutions to the challenges facing Ethiopia by providing a forum for participants to discuss their experiences, ideas, research, and observations on ways to improve Ethiopia and by also highlighting aspects of Ethiopia's development that have been successful.[14]

The 2011 BuildEthiopia Conference was held at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[15] The Conference featured expert speakers and interactive panels on such topics as Social Entrepreneurship, Economic Development, and Civic Engagement.[16]

Partner Organizations

EGI has partnered with Africans in Boston and the National Center of Afro-American Artists (NCAAA) to promote Ethiopian culture, communication, and history in the United States NCAAA's Director, Edmund Barry Gaither, sits on EGI's International Board of Advisors. EGI has a partnership with Boston University's African Studies Center.[17] It also has partnerships with Ethiopian-led organizations, and is part of the U.S. College Students for Ethiopia program, and with organizations such as the Ethiopian Public Health Association, Wisdom Microfinance Institution, and Africa Humanitarian Action to provide internship experiences to U.S. college students in Ethiopia.[18]


  1. History, Who We Are, Ethiopian Global Initiative website, 2010 Template:WebCite
  2. A Youth Ambassador?, Lissan Ethiopian Magazine, 3 February 2008
  3. Oprah Goes to Ethiopia, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 1 December 2005 Template:WebCite
  4. Buzzle Interview with EAYI Founder Samuel M. Gebru, A Walk to Beautiful Documentary – A Walk to Hope and Dignity, Irena Knehtl, 23 June 2008 Template:WebCite
  5. Boston Walks to Beautiful in A Walk to Beautiful, A Walk to Beautiful, Lissan Ethiopian Magazine, 24 April 2008
  6. June 2010 Washington, D.C. Trip Report, President Samuel M. Gebru's Trip Report, Ethiopian Global Initiative Blog, 30 June 2010 Template:WebCite
  7. Travel Abroad Opportunity for American Students in Ethiopia, U.S. College Students for Ethiopia, Ethiopian Global Initiative Blog, 23 October 2010 Template:WebCite
  8. U.S. College Students For Ethiopia, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 November 2011
  9. - 2011 Executive Summary, Project Manager Yordanos Eyoel, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 November 2011
  10. EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 December 2011
  11. About MSF, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 December 2011
  12. EGI Midwives Scholarship Fund, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 December 2011
  13. New Partners/New Projects - The EGI Conference Hangover, Research Associate Maxwell MacCarthy, Ethiopian Global Initiative Blog, 3 July 2010 Template:WebCite
  14. Venture Capital For Africa, Interview with Samuel Gebru, a young promoter of Economic Development in Ethiopia, Helen Ngoh, 20 October 2011
  15. BuildEthiopia Conference - About, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 October 2011
  16. BuildEthiopia Conference - Program, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 1 October 2011
  17. Our Partners, Who We Are, Ethiopian Global Initiative website, 2010 Template:WebCite
  18. 2011 USCSE Intern Blogs, 2011 USCSE Intern Blogs, Ethiopian Global Initiative, 2011

External links