Higher education in developing countries face a particular challenge; half of the world's higher education students are found in developing countries, placing great strain on an already under funded system. Whilst the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) health strategy urges countries to embark on massive capacity building, the truth is that the higher education sector in Africa does not have the resources to do so. The NEPAD higher education document (2001) proposes the idea of multi-country partnerships to address the sector's problem and at the same time, address the capacity building needs for improved health care delivery.
This paper reports on pertinent aspects of collaboration between universities on the African continent for the purpose of capacity building in nursing and midwifery. The paper outlines the rationale and context of the Collaboration in Higher Education for Nursing and Midwifery in Africa (CHENMA) project. The discussion focuses on the conditions in Africa that hamper the development of nursing and midwifery. It describes the efforts of the Tau Lambda at-Large Chapter to improve nursing and midwifery, initially in East Africa and later in Francophone Africa through the CHENMA project. The paper articulates the values and underpinning principles, outcomes of and lessons learnt from the project.