The Work

Promoting successful
development, one
project at a time.

Thanks to generous financial support from our donors, AWB’s projects have taken our volunteers around the world, from Africa to Asia to South America. They devote their time, energy, and expertise to short- and long-term projects that foster the skills and knowledge needed in areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and business—the building blocks of successful societies and countries.

The projects take place in all areas in which universities and colleges are engaged, including teaching, research, and back-office operations


In response to demand from partner institutions in low and middle-income countries, AWB has created new programs in areas that build on our experience and deepen our engagement. While our methods are evolving, we remain dedicated to building academic capacity and research excellence.

Engineers are change-makers, addressing some of the biggest challenges facing our world. In many countries however, universities do not have sufficiently trained faculty to prepare graduates for the evolving demands of the profession.

AWB’s Strengthening Engineering Research program aims to enhance research training capacity in low and middle-income settings through training and mentorship of university faculty. The program involves instruction on research methodology and proposal development, provides mentorship by highly experienced faculty, and offers modest funding to promising project proposals to facilitate hands-on training.

The program launched in partnership with Uganda’s Mbarara University of Science and Technology in February 2021, and was followed by a second project in partnership with Bahir Dar University’s Institute of Technology in Ethiopia.

Over a 12-week online workshop led by our volunteer team of faculty from Canada, Australia, India, United States, Nigeria, and Uganda, faculty enhanced their ability to identify research topics and questions, develop a research plan, and prepare a grant proposal.

Promising training research projects were offered a small grant from AWB for implementation under the mentorship of AWB volunteer senior faculty advisors.

The Strengthening Engineering Research program seeks to ensure that participants will not only be more effective instructors and researchers, but also be equipped to pass on their knowledge and skills to their students – the next generation of engineers.

Program co-leads: Prof. Thomas Marlin, McMaster University, and Dr. Rahim Rezaie

Program administrator: Nabila Kara-Haji, AWB Project Coordinator

If your university is interested in finding out more about this program, contact Nabila Kara-Haji.

Aga Khan University (AKU) has developed a solid foundational set of courses to promote and strengthen an educator’s competencies in blended and online education.

AKU’s Online Teaching in Higher Education Faculty Development Program is made up of four courses: Assessment in Online Courses, Facilitating Online Courses, Inclusive Online Teaching, and Reconceptualizing Online Teaching and Learning.

AWB has recognized the relevance of AKU’s strategy and instructional content to many learning communities in low and middle-income countries. A team of AWB volunteers, working in collaboration with AKU, is now able to offer this online teaching and learning curriculum to interested institutions in these countries. Each program offering will be tailored to a given partner institution’s particular needs.

The AWB-AKU Blended & Distance Learning program is aimed at higher education educators, learning designers, educational technologists, faculty developers, and administrators who are interested in enhancing their knowledge and skills of blended and online learning. It will help educators improve their blended and online teaching practices and develop the necessary competencies to incorporate an appropriate blend of asynchronous and synchronous pedagogies that adhere to quality standards.

Our pilot project for the program is being offered in partnership with Amref International University in Nairobi, Kenya.

Program administrator: Corrie Young, AWB’s Associate Executive Director, Projects and Network

If your university is interested in finding out more about this program, contact Corrie Young.

Featured Projects

Recent Projects

Graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are in high demand, especially if they are ready to be leaders in their profession. With the Industry Immersion Program, AWB is working with partners to adapt a successful online training program for candidates who want to work in the emerging markets of sub-Saharan Africa.

The Industry Immersion Program is an employment readiness program offered by our Cape Town-based partner, iiAfrica. The program was developed by Berlin-based European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) and the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). The program prepares STEM graduates with the additional skills and knowledge necessary to be leaders in local industry and business enterprises.

The initial five-week course is delivered online by faculty from ESMT and other European and Canadian business schools. Participants learn the principles of management, including data analytics, finance, marketing, negotiations, and organizational behaviour. Then, they spend three to six months interning with an industry partner and refining their skills in the workplace.

AWB expert volunteers work with iiAfrica and the partner university, mentoring local staff and faculty so that they are eventually able to deliver and administer the employment readiness program independently. Working with our partner university so that they are able to offer the program themselves is the key feature of this new AWB program.

The program was successfully extended to Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2021, and will be offered to additional locations in future years.

Date: Ongoing

Lead Volunteer: David Dunne, author & 3M National Teaching Fellow; Professor, Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria

In Guyana, at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, AWB is working to build capacity in both primary care and research methods in the family medicine residency program. The volunteers are working with the Master of Public Health program in Georgetown to develop modules in research methods and public health for medical residents, and deliver the modules in a training program. Four of four working visits for this project have been completed with the last one ending in mid April.

Date: 2016-2018


  • David Ponka, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Basia Siedlecki, Global Health Coordinator, Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Thunder Bay, Ontario

In The Philippines, at the University of San Carlos, AWB is working with some of the faculty in its Science and Mathematics Education Department to upgrade their ability to teach and run workshops for school teachers in statistics and probability, which have just been added to the school curriculum in the Philippines. The project extends over 5 years. The first posting for the project was completed on May 10, 2015. The volunteer returned to USC in April 2016 for a four-week working visit to continue working with the teachers in workshops. The most recent working visit took place in 2019.

Date: 2015-2019


  • Lionel Pereira-Mendoza, former Associate Dean (Educational Research), Graduate Programmes and Research Office, National Institute of Education, Singapore

In Uganda, at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), MicroResearch and AWB ran a research methodology workshop for health care workers in various disciplines. The first level result of the project was to develop the capacity of health care professionals in Uganda at MUST to propose, conduct and write local community based research projects. The training resulted in three locally-based research projects focusing on specific questions related to child and maternal health concerns in the region.

Date: 2017


  • Noni MacDonald, MD, Professor, IWK Health Centre, Department of Pediatrics, Dalhousie University and Co-Director of MicroResearch International, Halifax, Nova Scotia

In Indonesia, at Syiah Kuala University, AWB helped to develop an educational obstetrical program to teach obstetrical and neonatal care to provide emergency obstetric skills in the rural areas of Sumatra. During her nine-week posting, the volunteer led training at multiple rural sites during nine weeks working with faculty at the medical school.

Date: 2017


  • Keyna Bracken, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario & Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation Fellow

How is a Project Chosen?

Every project begins with a request for help.

Higher education in developing countries is key to improving the lives of all citizens, including the most disadvantaged. Often the quality of their educational programs and their research capacity limit the contributions they can make to their country’s development.

We believe that the best way to assist developing countries is to share academic expertise with their universities so they can develop their own leaders, experts and professionals. Educating people at home rather than abroad strengthens the ties to local culture and communities and makes it more likely that graduates will remain in their home countries.


Project Proposal

A university or college in the developing world submits a proposal identifying what it hopes to achieve and what help it needs to implement the proposal.

The projects vary from single courses to system overhauls.


Recruit & Send Volunteers

After AWB recruits suitable volunteers, the university or college selects the one best matched to its project. The volunteer is then sent to the institution to carry out the project activities.

AWB and the local partner institution cover the volunteer’s expenses.


Long-lasting Impact

We work to build sustainable systems for lasting impact.

Through the train-the-trainer model we use, each project builds local capacity and expertise so that the benefits of AWB’s involvement are multiplied and persist long after its volunteers return home.

Are you a university or college in the developing world with a project proposal to improve your institution?

We welcome proposals for new projects from universities, colleges, and ministries of higher education in the developing world.

Since 2009, our projects have been mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, but also in South America, Central Asia, the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.

Where We Work

Our work concentrates on the most economically disadvantaged countries.

Years of global investment in primary and secondary education has increased demand for university-level learning, with informed estimates predicting that the number of students attending university in these countries will double in less than a decade.

Unfortunately, many universities lack the expertise and experience to respond adequately to the challenges of increasing numbers of students. That’s why they need help, and that’s why AWB’s involvement is so important.

AWB supports projects and institutions in the world’s least developed countries – those identified as low or medium in the United Nations Development Program‘s Human Development Index. In exceptional cases, AWB considers projects in countries that are not in this list but are included in the UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index. For these projects, a compelling case must be made that, although the country is not among the world’s least developed, support is justified because of regional economic inequalities within the country.

To date we have partnered on projects with…

Abomey-Calavi University, Benin
Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
Adigrat University, Ethiopia
African Development University, Niger
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Senegal & Rwanda
Aga Khan University, Kenya, Tanzania & Uganda
Ambo University, Ethiopia
Amref International University, Kenya
Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
Catholic University of Ghana, Ghana
Chitwan Medical Training College, Nepal
Debre Markos University, Ethiopia
Ecole Inter-Etats des Sciences et Médecine Vétérinaires de Dakar, Senegal
Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan
Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, Guyana
Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, Kenya
Haiphong University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Vietnam
Hawassa University, Ethiopia
Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, India
Injibara University, Ethiopia
Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire de Rabat-Maroc, Morocco
Jamia Millia Islamia Central University, India
Kabarak University, Kenya
Karatina University, Kenya
Kenyatta University, Kenya
Kerala Veterinary & Animal Sciences University, India
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University, Tanzania
King George’s Medical University, India
Kwara State University, Nigeria

Kyambogo University, Uganda
Lviv Polytechnic National University, Ukraine
Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa
Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda
Mekelle University, Ethiopia
Meru University of Science and Technology, Kenya
Mildmay Health Centre, Uganda
Mkwawa University College of Education, Tanzania
Muteesa|Royal University, Uganda
Nairobi Hospital, Kenya
National University of Rwanda
National University of Science & Technology, Zimbabwe
Nelson Mandela African University of Science & Technology, Tanzania
Nirma University, India
Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal
Patandi Teachers College, Tanzania
Royal University of Bhutan
Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Shakarim University, Kazakhstan
Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Pakistan
Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business & Integrated Development Studies, Ghana
SRM Institute of Science and Technology, India
State Islamic University Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Strathmore University, Kenya
Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia
Tanzanian Training Centre for International Health, Tanzania
United States International University-Africa, Kenya
Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Universidad de Caldas, Colombia
Universidad de Ciencias Aplicadas y Ambientales, Colombia
Universidad del Bío-Bío, Chile
Universidad Tecnica de Ambato, Ecuador
Universidade Federal do Acre, Brazil
Universidade Federal do Norte do Tocantins, Brazil
University of Bahri, Sudan
University of Cape Coast, Ghana
University of Central Asia, Kyrgyz Republic
University of Development Studies, Ghana
University of Dongola, Sudan
University of Eswatini
University of Ghana
University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda
University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana
University of Liberia
University of Makeni, Sierra Leone
University of Malawi
University of Nairobi, Kenya
University of Namibia
University of Nepal (proposed)
University of Novi Sad, Serbia
University of Peshawar, Pakistan
University of Rwanda
University of the Sacred Heart Gulu, Uganda
University of Saint Joseph Mbarara, Uganda
University of San Carlos, Philippines
University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam
University of Timor Lorosa’e, Timor Leste
University Teaching Hospital of Kigali, Rwanda
University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences, Zimbabwe