In December of 2014, KIT (Royal Tropical Institute), MDF Training & Consultancy, and the National Institute of Training in Health Sciences (l’Institut National de Formation en Sciences de la Santé, INFSS) in Bamako, Mali, launched the “Projet d’Appui au Renforcement et l’Accréditation Durable de l’INFSS en matière de la Santé Sexuelle et de la Reproduction (PARADISS)”.
The project is funded by NUFFIC through the cooperation programme of the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity development in Higher Education (NICHE). This programme supports post-secondary education institutions on policy priorities identified in the Dutch bilateral cooperation, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
PARADISS is a partnership between KIT, MDF, and INFSS. Collaboration is also made with the Athena Institute (Free University Amsterdam). The main aim of PARADISS is to contribute to better reproductive health of the Malian population by strengthening the technical and higher education in the area of reproductive health. This will be achieved through three main objectives:
Developing and launching a new Master in reproductive health
The content of this new competency-based MSc program at INFSS will be based on a thorough analysis of the labour market in Mali, in order to find out what the key competencies, knowledge and attitudes are that employers need from these new Master students. Furthermore, the programme will ensure the development of a strong network for internship placements, training of teachers, and support to INFSS’ research department in conducting research that is relevant to enhancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Mali. Within the project, INFSS will develop a programme of short courses to be offered to its clients. Depending on the outcome of the labour market and demand analysis, the short courses or stand-alone modules can focus for example on the areas of gender; sexual and reproductive health; health systems research; competency-based training; or working towards accreditation.
Supporting INFSS in obtaining national and international accreditation
The project will strengthen INFSS’ institutional management and quality assurance mechanisms in order to meet the national (National Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation) and regional (West-African Health Organization) accreditation standards.
Strengthening institutional capacity and educational infrastructure
The above mentioned two objectives will be realised through strengthening and supporting the institutional capacity of INFSS, including improving the educational infrastructure, human resource management, financial management, and communication.
As per the first of December 2014, this four-year project officially started. Half December, KIT advisors Marjolein Dieleman, Christel Jansen, and Natalie Vinkeles Melchers have travelled to Bamako, together with Kees van der Zanden from partner organisation MDF, to facilitate the inception meeting. During the 3-day meeting, the team met with management and staff from INFSS, as well as the Steering Committee members, to discuss the project planning. The meeting was successful; INFSS, KIT, MDF and partners have set the trend for a fruitful collaboration for the coming four years.