The AMIU Story: Using lessons learned from 65 years in the NGO community to build a university with global partnerships – Amref

Frequently asked question

Host Organisation


The Amref International University (AMIU) is a Pan-African health training and research institution that focuses on developing primary healthcare health workforce leaders and service providers. The university is founded in the premise that health problems know no borders and health policies and guidelines are globally developed and so health institutions must train health workers who think globally, are connected across borders but are able to work locally with their communities. The unique model of AMIU has organically developed over the last 65 years as Amref Health Africa, the largest indigenous African health NGO, implemented programs over the years.

In this session we will discuss the AMIU model including how partnerships with communities can lead to development of fit for purpose graduates; how locally led context specific research agenda can be developed and how institutions of higher learning can challenge colonial legacies in education and still maintain mutually beneficial global partnerships.

Session details

1. Understanding the AMIU model
This will be a 15 minutes presentation providing a framework for developing knowledge hubs and learning institutions in partnership with communities. A historical perspective of how the university has developed over the years will be presented. Further, the presentation will discuss how the university has continued to remain connected globally despite being a community co-created institution based on local needs.

2. Brainstorm
This will take 45 minutes. Participants will be put in 3 groups and will discuss the main challenges around equitable partnerships in the AMIU model:
–   As AMIU enters the league of universities with all the mandatory regulations and accreditations will it maintain its community-driven approach? How have other universities maintained their local niche and still achieved global excellence?
–   As student numbers grow, how do you ensure knowledge and practice are interlinked? How do you make sure that students do not lose touch with community needs and that they have the right culture to serve, i.e. being fit for purpose?
–   As universities develop their unique approaches and try to delink from colonial legacies including attempts to decolonize research – how do we ensure that they maintain mutually beneficial global partnerships?

3.  Plenary discussions
This will take 20 minutes. Groups will present their report in plenary and give recommendations.

4. Wrap up – The last 10 minutes will be used to summarize the key messages to guide future partnerships.

Session Facilitators

1.  Prof Joachim Osur, Vice Chancellor, Amref International University (AMIU)
2.  Prof Tammary Esho, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, AMIU
3.  Aletta Jansen, Portfolio Manager, Amref Flying Doctors, Netherlands