The start

In 2011 three of our teachers went to Ethiopia to investigate the possibilities for a long term Aeres-project. Contributors are teachers, students, trainers and (business) partners from the Aeres Group (Groenhorst vocational education, Aeres University AS and training centre PTC+). Aim of the project was to create a place where disadvantaged youth can get an agricultural vocational education and where farmers can gather information on modern agricultural farming. Extra aim is to enlarge the international focus on international relations within Dutch education.
Debre Zeit – Bishoftu is chosen as the location for this project. The most important reason for that choice and success factor is the intensive co-operation with local people and businesses. That co-operation contributes to the education and research which is an important condition for the project to succeed.
To create a safe learning environment for the regularly visiting Dutch students, the Aeres Group started in 2012 with the construction of a guesthouse in Debre Zeit.


The first six visitors are six degree students from Aeres University AS (before CAH Vilentum). They do a base line survey on poultry and research at and with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR). Based on the results of these researches, a group of vocational students of Groenhorst (age 16-20) built the first Poultry building in Debre Zeit. The successful programme that supports these activities is ‘Poultry4Ethiopia’ that works closely together with local partner Passion Agro & Furniture Production PLC (Passion AFP). From the Netherlands are also the Holland Afrika Poultry Partners (HAPP) and Netherlands African Business Council (NABC) involved.

In 2013 a group of 15 Groenhorst students finalized the second part of the chicken building, a broiler house for fattening chickens. They also create a pont and a garden near the quest house.

In 2014 another group of 15 Groenhorst students bought the first chickens for the compound and built another poultry building in co-operation with MKC-RDA, a local organisation in Jeldu. The students also planted potatoes.

Now the stage is set for practical education on the shop floor. Teachers form the Aeres Group have created three modules on Poultry: Nutrition, Health and Poultry Production (management). Based on these themes, in 2014 three BTEC courses are taught by teachers from Groenhorst and PTC+. Their students are 17 teachers who will in their turn educate dozens of young Ethiopian students. These modules have also been given to trainers from Kenia and Rwanda.


At the end of 2014 four students of Aeres University AS (before CAH Vilentum University) have done research on a new agricultural theme: cows and horticulture. The programme that supports these activities is called Cows&Horticulture4Ethiopia. In March 2015 two students of the teacher training institute of the Aeres University AS Wageningen (before Stoas Vilentum University), will continue with a Base Line Survey that in connection with the company Holland Dairy. They are going to research 300 dairy farmers in Debre Zeit. 

Based on the outcome of this survey, in May 2015 a third group of 15 vocational Groenhorst students will travel to Ethiopia to build a stable for cows and a Greenhouse.

Sustainability and future plans

All in all we can conclude that since the start 25 students yearly work in Ethiopia and different teams of Aeres-teachers are teaching practical BTEC Poultry courses.

We will build out this project to several area's in Ethiopia (Gambella, Wukro). Currently, we are investigating a trip for younger pre vocational students from 12 to 16 years. It is exciting to see how we have started in 2011 with the first investigation in Ethiopia and what has been achieved in the past years.

Orange Carpet Award

On the 12th of March 2015, the Ethiopia Plus project of the Aeres Group has won the Orange Carpet Award in the categorie vocational education (Groenhorst). This award by the Dutch NGO EP Nuffic is given yearly to an inspirational initiative that stimulates the internationalisation of Dutch education.

From the nomination text: “The award is meant for innovators in Dutch education. The nomination means that you have brought forth an important contribution to the insertion of new students, the stimulation of external mobility or the innovation of going global in general.”