IFI researcher Michael Gusenbauer was able to gain immediate insights into what entrepreneurship in a challenging environment looks like. As a three-week participant observation at the Barbara May Maternity Hospital in the Afar region Ethiopia he conducted interviews and experienced first-hand which unique difficulties this setting provided. The research was conducted as part of a work program led by Ludwig Mülleder, a passionate development aid worker, to improve the electric and IT infrastructure regarding self-sufficiency, operational reliability and functionality. For Dr. Gusenbauer it was interesting to experience how work, entrepreneurship and innovation have a very different logic in Ethiopia.
Dr. Gusenbauer was hosted by Dr. Margaret McDougald, doctor at the hospital and Valerie Browning, head of the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA). Both work in one of Ethiopia’s most difficult regions that is home to the Afar people, a minority that lives nomadic had only limited access to medical services. As a consequence one in 12 Afar women died because of pregnancy problems. The hospital, servicing a region with 500,000 Afar women, helps to overcome both child and maternal mortality.