top of page

Elisa Genovesi

Promoting the Inclusion of Children with Developmental Disabilities in Regular Schools in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Education services for children with developmental disabilities are a key part of the multisectoral integrated care model that SPARK aims to develop. Eli Genovesi’s PhD project has led to the co-development of MIDDLE, “Mainstreaming and Inclusion for children with Developmental Disabilities in Learning in Ethiopia”. MIDDLE is centred around a teacher-training programme and aims to promote effective inclusion and support of children with developmental disabilities in mainstream primary schools and kindergartens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. MIDDLE was developed in collaboration with over 80 local stakeholders, and subsequently piloted and evaluated. Results indicated that it was overall feasible, acceptable, appropriate, and perceived as effective.


Project Phases

Phase 1: Synthesis of inclusive education strategies

We synthesised 32 qualitative studies selected through a systematic review in order to understand teachers, pupils and caregivers’ perspectives and experiences of strategies used to include children with developmental disabilities in mainstream school classrooms in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Team (Phase 1): Dr Rosa Hoekstra (Co-investigator, PhD supervisor), Prof Charlotte Hanlon (Co-investigator, PhD supervisor), Dr Judith McKenzie (Co-investigator), Akhina Gaches (Research Assistant)

Click to see team

Phase 2: Review of existing resources

Phase 3: Exploratory study

Phase 4: Programme development

Phase 5: Pilot study


Public Engagement

A public engagement half-day event for parents at two primary schools was held at Addis Ababa University on 22nd December 2022 and facilitated by Dr Tsegereda Haile Kifle. The event was attended by around 40 caregivers of children with and without developmental disabilities, accompanied by two special education teachers.

In the workshop:

  • We presented study findings from phases 3 and 4

  • We invited caregivers to give further input on needs for achieving inclusion

  • We facilitated the sharing of values and expectations among caregivers

  • We facilitated collaborative problem-solving relative to inclusion in their schools

Participants greatly appreciated being given a platform to discuss their needs and called for further opportunities for collaborative work towards improving the education of children with disabilities.

View of a University room, with white ceilings and walls and green and beige seats. The picture is taken from behind part of the audience, of around 25 people, some of whom are wearing bright pink, green, blue veils and sweaters. They are facing the facilitator, wearing a dark suit and yellow blouse, who is listening intently while the slide projected behind her says “Reflection and Discussion”.
Public Engagement Event, 22nd December 2022


About Eli

PhD supervisors: Dr Rosa Hoekstra & Prof Charlotte Hanlon

See funding information

1 Comment

Elisa Genovesi
Elisa Genovesi
Nov 09, 2022

Hello everyone, this is Eli, thank you for your interest in this project. I will be in Ethiopia for fieldwork over the next six weeks, stay tuned for updates!

And please leave a comment right here with feedback or fill in this super-brief feedback survey:

You can also contact me for questions at

bottom of page