I came to the U.S. in 1995 to pursue my dream of becoming a neurologist, enrolling at the University of Kentucky. When I was wrapping up my residency in 1999, I founded People to People (P2P), a nonprofit organization that has been improving the healthcare system in Ethiopia and reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS throughout Africa. I’m very pleased to see what we have achieved over the years and the lives we touched. In order to sustain our success, we have to tap into the next generation Ethiopian diaspora — not just in the medical field, but across different industries to foster the growth and development of Ethiopia. That’s why we established Jegna.
A signature program of P2P, Jegna uses the power of technology and ingenuity to empower local organizations and individuals to bring true change. I have always believed the younger generation is the hope for the future. The cradle of humanity deserves better health, better education, and better life. The talent of the next generation Ethiopian diaspora around the world can be part of the solution. No country has developed without quality human resources. Through Jegna, we’re establishing an organic relationship with different sectors in Ethiopia. Health, education, and economic empowerment are the antidote of poverty.
In a survey we conducted, we found that 80% of the Ethiopian diaspora is interested in working in Ethiopia, and 44% of the respondents are interested in moving back to Ethiopia. Our programs allow this yearning and talented pool of diaspora to volunteer or work in Ethiopia. For those who can’t travel due to family, work, or other circumstances, we offer virtual programs so that they can play their part in knowledge transfer and capacity building.
Jegna believes in everyone’s ability to make a difference in their own way. That’s why we don’t have a cookie-cutter approach. We customize every project to the expertise of the diaspora and the needs of our partner organizations.
I’m proud of the team of volunteers we assembled. They are sacrificing their time and energy to bring Jegna to life and mobilize the next generation of the Ethiopian diaspora to give back to a country in desperate need of skilled human capital.
Read more about Dr. Enawgaw Mehari.