Battling the “brain drain”

Posted by hct16 at Oct 16, 2012 12:40 PM |
University of Leicester students travel to Ethiopia to help stimulate entrepreneurship and social innovation
Battling the “brain drain”

University of Leicester and Gondar students together in Ethiopia.

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 16 October 2012

Photographs from Ethiopia trip available from

Students from the University of Leicester travelled to Africa to help Ethiopian students develop entrepreneurship and charity causes.

Four students who are part of the University of Leicester’s Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) society returned from a 17-day-trip to the University of Gondar in Ethiopia funded by a £1,500 grant from the University’s Leicester-Gondar University Link.

SIFE is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to helping students become business leaders and help their communities.

The trip aimed to tackle the issue of “brain drain” - the emigration of those with knowledge or technical abilities to places with better conditions.

This has been seen as a particular problem in Ethiopia, which is one of the poorest countries in the world and sees high proportions of graduates and skilled professionals leave the country to find work elsewhere.

As part of their Inspire Ethiopia project, the students worked with Gondar students to develop links between the student body and local charities, researched agriculture and natural resources and investigated the various needs and struggles of the local area.

SIFE President Lynsey Atkin, operations leader Rikesh Shah and project leaders Whitney Afram and Beatrice Othol delivered entrepreneurship workshops and are now in regular contact to develop social impact project.

Rikesh Shah, 21, who studies Banking and Finance, said: “I found the trip to be an enjoyable and an eye-opening experience. We got a good reaction from the Gondar students - they were much more enthusiastic and participative then we could have imagined. The number of students involved also exceeded our anticipation, which was great!

“The plan is that I and other new members of the project will go again next year to help assist the project to the next stage.”

Beatrice Othol, 21, who studies Financial Economics, said: “This project is seeking to inspire our generation about the importance of self-sustaining and innovative local business start-ups. To inspire a continent is our dream."

In addition to the enterprise work taking place during this trip, SIFE Leicester ultimately hopes to create a stronger, sustainable link with Gondar University to allow further developments of SIFE projects, which seek to find enduring solutions for empowering communities in Ethiopia, helping with economy development.

The students arranged the trip with help the support of the Leicester – Gondar University Link that the University of Leicester already has, SIFE Leicester and resources from Careers Development Service at the University of Leicester.

In preparation for the trip, the Inspire Ethiopia team organised several events in order to fundraise for the project. Partnering with Leicester's Raising and Giving Society, they hosted a successful student-led fashion show and raised over £200 in one evening by holding a raffle during the Leicester-Gondar University Link project. 

They have also been supported by their university advisor Rajinder Bhuhi from the Careers Development Service and the Leicester-Gondar University Link Project's Mike Silverman and Nichole Bruce.

To donate to the project and support the team in their work in Gondar, please go to


Notes for Editors:

  1. SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. For more information about SIFE, visit: http://www.sife.organd
  2. To get in touch with SIFE Leicester, contact: Siddique Khan

  3. For more information about The University of Leicester Careers Service or enterprise activities contact Rajinder Bhuhi: 0116 229 7697 or email

  4. Find out more about the Careers Development Service at


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