ADDIS ABABA, 10 January (IRIN) -
The UN announced on Friday that it is launching a scheme aimed at using
volunteers to tackle the country's massive shortage of professionals.
The project, called the National UN Volunteer Scheme, will target skilled Ethiopians to try and get them involved in development work in the country.
It will allow organisations such as aid agencies and government departments to tap into a massive pool of professionals registered with the UN.
The scheme, run by the UN's Development Programme (UNDP), has won plaudits within the Ethiopian government.
'This is to respond to one of the development challenges that government currently faces in the area of capacity development,' UNDP said. 'The use of national UN Volunteers also enhances human resource development by strengthening the pool of expertise and knowledge which remains in the country.'
UNDP said that it was widely recognised in Ethiopia that a widespread lack of skilled manpower hampered effective development. Using volunteers as a way of retaining skills within a country came to the fore in the early 1990s, it added.
The scheme is open to Ethiopian nationals who live in the country or abroad. They will be paid an allowance for the work, slightly higher than government salaries. At present graduates working within the government sector are paid less than US $100 a month.
The scheme already operates in other East African countries such as Kenya where it has been hailed as a great success.
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