International collaborations and alliances bring great intrinsic value to global programs especially if the mission of the partnering institutions or organisations are closely aligned. This year the Foundation is involved in two international exchange and support programs, which are helping to build capacity within our global optometry development program.
One between Norway and Kenya; called EYE-FX (Eye Education Foreign Exchanges) with the University of South-Eastern Norway (USN) and Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) in Kenya, where our optometry development program has been running since 2012 and trained over 100 Kenyan optometrists. Founded and funded by NOREC with three rounds of professional exchanges of staff aimed at developing faculty or leaders for all involved partners, EYE-FX has a main focus on capacity building in optometric education, in the context of eye health and global blindness prevention.
The second between Australia and Uganda; a collaboration between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Makerere University, Kampala in Uganda where the optometry development program has been supported by the Foundation since 2008. Funded by UNSW and the Foundation, the exchange program involves faculty staff travelling from UNSW to Makerere University to assist and guide the optometric specialty training for the student optometrists. Selected students are also invited to travel between the faculties to broaden knowledge and skill sets enabling greater capacity for the emerging optometry faculty in Uganda.