thumbnail A design for life – helping Ethiopia build for the future

A Newcastle University lecturer is heading to Ethiopia to help the country meet its urgent housing needs.

Dr Peter Kellett, a senior lecturer in architecture, will support local academics and help them strengthen the way they train professionals, so they can address the country’s housing issues.  

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa, with a population of around 90 million people, but its urban areas are struggling to cope with demand for homes.

Peter is going to Africa as a volunteer with VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and will be working in the country’s capital at the University of Addis Ababa’s Ethiopian Institute for Architecture, Building Construction and City Development.

He said: “The Ethiopian Ministry of Education put out a call for experienced academics in the field of architecture and planning.  I saw the VSO advertisement and I really wanted to get involved. I have many years’ experience working and researching overseas and this looked like an ideal opportunity to share some of my expertise.  I’ll be working at the university to help train other professionals so they are better prepared to address housing and related urban problems.

“In the UK the image of Ethiopia many of us still have is a country beset by famine,” he said. “The country has changed since then. However, it is still a very poor nation and there is not enough housing in the urban areas to cope with demand so many people have to live in unhealthy and overcrowded accommodation. By sharing my expertise we can train architects and planners to improve the situation.”

Peter is looking forward to visiting a new country and learning more about it and the people who live there. He’ll also be using his time to carry out field research with Ethiopian colleagues and he plans to forge links between the University of Addis Ababa and Newcastle University.

He said: “This will be an excellent opportunity to build a strong relationship between the two universities. Ethiopia isn’t a country we currently have much connection with and I believe working together can only benefit both institutions.”

Peter has been taking part in a sponsored outdoor swim in the Lake District to raise money for VSO. Find out more and sponsor Peter.


published on: 31st January 2013

Key Facts:

  • Newcastle University is a Russell Group University
  • Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world (QS World University Rankings 2014)
  • Ranked 16th in the UK for global research power (REF 2014)
  • Ranked 22nd in The Sunday Times 2015 Good University Guide
  • Amongst our peers Newcastle is:
    • Joint 6th in the UK for student satisfaction
    • Ranked 1st in the UK for Computing Science research impact, 3rd in the UK for Civil Engineering research power and 11th in the UK for Mathematical Sciences research (REF 2014)
    • Ranked 8th in the UK for Medical and Life Sciences research quality (REF 2014)
    • Ranked 3rd in the UK for English, and in the top 12 for Geography, Architecture and Planning, and Cultural and Media Studies research quality (REF 2014)
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) top 20 strategic partner
  • 93.7% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating
  • We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing, Sustainability, and Social Renewal
  • Newcastle University is the first UK university to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011
  • Our international students put Newcastle University in the world's top 50 (ISB 2013) of global universities.
  • Newcastle University Business School is one of 20 Triple Accredited Business Schools in the UK