P2P Portfolio

People to People


P.O. Box 1209, Morehead, KY 40351   | (888) 416-6664 | p2pbridge.org

Improving health

Building bridges

Engaging the Ethiopian diaspora

Who are we?                                        

People to People (P2P) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving healthcare, development, and education in Ethiopia and among the Ethiopian diaspora globally. We are a diaspora-driven organization. Our members are physicians, health specialists, professionals, and non-diaspora “Friends of Ethiopia.” We welcome anyone who is interested in making a difference in the lives of others to join and become a member. We help bridge global institutions with projects in Ethiopia that support local leadership.

P2P was founded in 1999 by Dr. Enawgaw Mehari, and is recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit in the United States. Dr. Mehari is supported by a volunteer board of directors. Our principal office is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We have a strong presence in the USA, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and around the world.  P2P also holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNESCO).

Our philosophy – the triangular partnership

People to People relies on the Ethiopian diaspora to create bridges between institutions. We call this a triangular partnership between Western institutions, developing country institutions, and the worldwide diaspora. P2P facilitates this transfer of resources, knowledge, and technology. 

This model has key benefits to our effectiveness and capacity:

  • Reversing the brain drain / “sharing the brain”
    Developing nations suffer a “brain drain” as educated professionals leave. But the diaspora community wants to give back. P2P helps them “share the brain” by contributing to their home country.
  • Cultural and linguistic competency
    P2P’s membership speak the language, but more importantly also understand Ethiopian cultural norms and institutions. Without this, other programs face an uphill battle.
  • Personal and family relationships
    Our relationships span countries and continents. We have know community leaders and institutions personally. In many cases, they are our family.
  • Enduring commitment beyond particular projects
    We stick around, even between funding cycles. Our commitment to Ethiopia and its people is deeper than any particular project or partnership; it is our homeland.

For more information about this model, request a copy of our book Triangular Partnership: the Power of the Diaspora.

Program Highlights

Our three principal program areas are health, human development, and education. In each area, we work with partner institutions to bring the skills of our members to bear on problems faced in Ethiopian and the diaspora.


Currently, patients diagnosed with cancer in Ethiopia face insurmountable barriers to quality care. The Ministry of Health estimates that of 150,000 patients diagnosed, only 1% receive any kind of treatment. With our partners, we hope to change this reality.

P2P and Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa are working toward building the nation’s first comprehensive cancer treatment facility. Our goal is to house pathology, oncology, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and more under the same roof.

To succeed, we will need to identify additional funding, as well as Western institutions willing to partner on the project.


The Amanuel Girls’ Boarding Care Center serves children whose families have been affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. P2P  established the Care Center in 2004.

We serve around 50 orphan girls who are attending secondary school at traditional public schools, but face financial restrictions. Some (around 15) live full-time at the Care Center and receive comprehensive support services. Other students live at home, but receive food, clothes, educational materials, recreational programming, counseling, and other services from the Care Center.

Many former students of the Care Center have gone on to higher education, including in the medical field. Their individual successes will also continue to power Ethiopia’s growth and development.



In 2005, there were only eight neurologists and two neurosurgeons serving 80 million people in Ethiopia. This spurred P2P to partner with the Mayo Clinic and Addis Ababa University (AAU) to develop a neurology training fellowship. The first Fellows joined the program in 2006 and graduated in 2008. Now, about a dozen medical students participate in the program each year.

P2P volunteers consult with their colleagues on Ethiopia to provide continued support

The neurology program at AAU now offers morning sessions, seminars, clinics, bedside instruction, and continuing medical education (CME). P2P continues to organize experts from around the world to support post-graduate medical education. P2P volunteers continue to support our colleagues in Ethiopia using telemedicine. We see the ongoing high quality education received by neurology fellows as an indicator that our triangular partnership model works.


Experts in emergency medicine from UW and AAU. Photo courtesy AAU.

In March 2009, P2P partnered with the American International Health Alliance, the University of Wisconsin, and the Addis Ababa School of Medicine to develop an emergency medical curriculum. Previously, Ethiopia lacked any unified emergency medicine curriculum or training.

The program began with a residency curriculum developed by Ethiopian doctors and nurses, after visits to the University of Wisconsin. The curriculum responds to unique challenges of the Ethiopian context. American instructors used the curriculum to “train the trainers” at the launch of the Emergency Medicine Training Center. By 2015, Ethiopian instructors lead over 90% of courses.

Eventually, Black Lion Hospital opened the first emergency department in the country. AAU and Black Lion continue to collaborate on an Emergency Medicine residency and a Master’s in Emergency Medicine (roughly equivalent to a Nurse Practitioner program in the USA).

As the involvement of foreign partners has diminished, the success of the program has not. The curriculum remains a resource that can be used across Ethiopia. A new generation of doctors is graduating with experience in emergency medicine, which we believe will jump-start growth of emergency departments around the country.


2018 will mark P2P’s 10th Annual Healthcare and Medical Education Conference in Washington, DC. The Conference provides a reliable venue for participants in the triangular partnership to meet, exchange ideas, and update each other on the state of healthcare in Ethiopia and the developed world.

At the 2017 Conference, we began our focus on increasing cancer care in Ethiopia. This year, we plan to continue that dialogue. We will also mark the Conference’s 10th anniversary by bringing more participants from Ethiopian than ever. By connecting more Ethiopian communities and institutions to the triangular partnership, we can increase the impact of our model. We hope you will join us!


Even in the USA, many people suffer from lack of access to affordable healthcare. P2P founder Dr. Mehari noticed that in his home state of Kentucky, far too many were uninsured.

The clinic building in Morehead, KY

The People’s Clinic was established in 2005 to provide free medical care to those without health insurance or the ability to pay. P2P and St. Claire Regional Medical Center recruited volunteers and other partner organizations to build and staff the Clinic. The Clinic is supported entirely by the generosity of local churches, individuals and organizations who share our belief that health care is a human right. The People’s Clinic receives no state or federal government funding.

Our Partners

We are grateful for the continuing support of many committed partners. Some of our partners include:

  • The World Bank
  • Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Health
  • Ethiopian Air Lines
  • Intercontinental Addis Hotel
  • War Child Canada
  • University of Kentucky
  • Wisconsin University
  • Addis Ababa University
  • Packard Foundation
  • Pfizer Foundation
  • MRC-Holland Foundation
  • Bahir Dar University
  • Mekelle University
  • Debre Markos University
  • Jimma University


Since our founding, P2P has spearheaded major initiatives in Ethiopia and around the world every year. This timeline covers only some of the activities that P2P has lead, co-sponsored, or facilitated.

Early years

1990: People to People Founded: In Kentucky, USA

2000: Schools opened for AIDS orphans in Oromia and Amhara regions of Ethiopia.

2000: First annual Christmas and Eid al-Fitr panel discussion held on AIDS orphans.

2001: Social Work Education in Ethiopia Partnership (SWEEP): A partnership with Addis Ababa University to strengthen social work curriculum and develop a master’s program.

2001: Building the World Community through Media: media and filmmaking trainings for children in Ethiopia.

2002: Anti-AIDS Club Project: A study of the effectiveness of anti-AIDS clubs in Ethiopian high schools.

2002: International Discussion Forum on Health Matters: An online forum to engage diaspora health professionals and social workers.

2002: Fundamentals of HIV Prevention Counseling: Workshops focused on supporting individuals in making behavior changes that will reduce their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.

2003: Online Virtual Clinic opens

2003: Care and Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS: Trainings for hospice professionals on client-centered home health and hospice care.

2003: First edition of Horn of Africa Journal of AIDS published

2003: First People to People Medical Recognition Award

Growing in Ethiopia and the USA

2005: People’s Clinic opens in Morehead, KY, USA

2005: Diflucan Partnership Program: A partnership between the Ethiopian Ministry of Health and the Pfizer Foundation, facilitated by P2P, to increase access to the vital antifungal drug Diflucan.

2006: Neurology Training Program: A P2P-supported neurology fellowship at Addis Ababa University.

2006: CNS Involvement in the HIV Population in Ethiopia: A Post-mortem Forensic Study

2007: Youth Health Program with Diaspora Participation

2008: Monthly Public Health Information Team begins

2008: Diaspora Physicians Database: A network for Ethiopian diaspora medical professionals around the world.


2009: Strengthening Emergency Medical Services project begins

2009: First Annual Health Care and Medical Education Conference

2010: International Neuroinfectious Disease Conference held in Addis Ababa

2011: Ethiopian Diaspora Health and Education Professionals Mobilization Project

2012: Manual of Ethiopian Medical History: The first edition, from diaspora physicians connected through the network. It is now incorporated into educational curriculum in Ethiopia.

2013: International Diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA): US Department of State effort that recognizes P2P’s leadership in diaspora relations.

2016: First phases of project to improve cancer care in Ethiopia

What’s next?

People to People has come a long way since 1999. We have achieved great successes with our partners. We’ve done it all with very limited resources and no paid staff. However, we know that there is a lot more work to be done. For example, we have bold plans to improve cancer care in Ethiopia. We want to grow the impact P2P, because we believe in the triangular partnership model.

You can help us. There are many ways to contribute to P2P’s work:

  • Donate to us to fund our programs
  • Volunteer your time and expertise with us or an institutional partner
  • Spread the word and let others know about our work

To learn more or find out how to plug in, get in touch with us!

Website: p2pbridge.org
Post: P.O. Box 1209, Morehead, KY 40351
Phone: (888) 416-6664