International Development Award

In the same way that Dr Elizabeth Casson, our founder, was a pioneer of occupational therapy in England, we aim to follow in her footsteps and work to expand the profession in other countries.

Apply for a 2024 award
The Award

In 2016, the entry to occupational therapy practice moved from a Diploma in Occupational Therapy to a Bachelors of Science (BSc) in Occupational Therapy.  While this is a positive development for the profession, in some countries this has brought the challenge of potentially having too few educators appropriately qualified to teach for the next generation of occupational therapists.

The Elizabeth Casson Trust responded to this concern with the introduction of our International Development Award in 2021. The aim of the award is to support occupational therapists developing from a Diploma in Occupational Therapy to a Bachelors of Science (BSc) in Occupational Therapy. Completion of these studies will enable the individual to go on to study at masters level and then to be able to teach in BSc Occupational Therapy programmes in their home countries

Our ambition is that by providing this funding to support the academic progression of occupational therapists, it will be possible to develop an appropriately skilled and qualified workforce for institutions to educate and graduate occupational therapists at BSc level within their own country, giving the profession the capacity and leadership to grow and become self-sustaining into the future.

Apply for an award in 2024
Awards 2021-2023

In  2021, the Elizabeth Casson Trust made our first International Development Awards to a small group of six individuals from Uganda and Tanzania. Several in this cohort of occupational therapists have already completed their programme of study and we would like to offer them sincere congratulations for their commitment to the profession and their own personal development. We would also like to thank their employers who supported their colleagues by providing study leave.

In 2022 and 2023 the award was opened to wider to sub-Saharan countries and awards were made to OTs from Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Kenya, totalling a further 13 occupational therapists. These studies are underway and we are ‘cheering from the sidelines’ as they engage in their programmes.

The Trust is again preparing to offer International Development Awards in 2024. This year, the award is open to Diploma qualified occupational therapists in low to middle income countries.

Our online application submission point will open on 14 May 2024 see link at top of the page. The closing date for applications is strictly 17 June 2024, 17:00 UTC at which point the application link will be deactivated.

The award will be available to occupational therapists registered and working in affected countries who:

  1. hold a diploma in occupational therapy from a WFOT approved education programme
  2. hold an employment contract as a tutor/ academic instructor/ lecturer or are a practice/ fieldwork educator
  3. can demonstrate that they are committed to CPD and development of the profession

To submit an application, you will be asked to answer a series of six (6) questions and to also provide:

  • a transcript of your occupational therapy qualification
  • a letter of support from your line manager confirming they will:
    • offer approved study leave
    • support you in changing your practice on you return, to implement the knowledge and skills you acquired through the BSc
  • a reference letter evidencing your commitment to CPD (for example from your professional organisation or employer)
  • a CV/ resumé

If you meet these requirements and are considering applying, you may want to begin to prepare these documents now.

Looking forward

The Elizabeth Casson Trust is committed to supporting the development of the profession, in line with our Articles, so that individuals and communities can experience the positive benefits and impact of occupational therapy, in much the same way as our founder aspired. While we are proud of this initiative to date, we hope to be able to achieve greater impact in the future by scaling our offer.

Watch this space!



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