Innovative Practice 2017 on Employment, Work and Vocational Education and Training

Alternative ways for successful job applications

The Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD) is an NGO and registered charity. Since 2013, the organization has been collaborating with public vocational training colleges in Ethiopia on the Inclusive Skills Training and Employment Programme for and by Persons with Disabilities (ISTEP). ISTEP facilitates inclusive vocational skills training opportunities for people with disabilities, including with intellectual disabilities. To date, ISTEP has assisted more than 1,500 beneficiaries.

“My old self would not have been able to imagine where I am now. I have started writing a better story for myself and my family – with a new vision to be productive in leather production. I will be a model for others with disabilities.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Alternative ways for successful job applications
Organisation:Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD)
of Implementation


From 2013 to 2016 ISTEP has:

    • Trained 297 persons with disabilities, 88 of whom have obtained jobs. Sixty per cent of the total number of jobs were in the open labour market, and the remaining 40 per cent were created specifically for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) graduates with disabilities
    • Provided access to job information via text messaging to 134 job seekers with disabilities
    • Trained 95 human resource managers in creating inclusive employment practices


Employment opportunities in Ethiopia are very limited for persons with disabilities, especially in the private sector. The limited awareness of companies, lack of exposure of employers on hiring persons with disabilities, and the limited number of skilled persons with disabilities are some of the major barriers.


ECDD collaborates on the ISTEP programme with public TVET institutions and facilitates inclusive vocational training opportunities. It has also collaborated with the company Info Mind Solutions to create a system that delivers job opportunity information to job seekers with disabilities via alternate dissemination methods, such as text messages. In the ISTEP programme, ECDD offers job-hunting training for job seekers with disabilities. Typical jobs for people with disabilities include metalwork, woodwork, welding, food preparation (restaurant), building-block production, tailoring, leather goods production, plumbing, laundry service, and hairdressing. All jobs are available in the open labour market and are paid at least minimum wage. Sixty interns who were placed in private companies through the ECDD ISTEP project were later retained or hired by the host organizations.


ISTEP has been funded by the United States Agency for International Development with US$150,000 per year. Currently, ECDD is also participating in a flagship project known as EmployAble, which is supported by Light for the World and is being implemented in Kenya and Rwanda as well.





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