Bahir Dar University (BDU) was officially established in 2001 through the combination of two older and smaller academic institutions, Bahir Dar Polytechnic (est. 1963) and the Bahir Dar Teachers College (est. 1972). In just over a decade, the university has become the largest academic centre in the country hosting over 35000 students and offering 57 undergraduate and 39 postgraduate programmes with a variety of faculties, schools and departments.
BDU has a specific unit in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences that specialises in Disaster Risk Management and Sustainable Development (DRMS) whose focus has been in the field of environmental risk and food security. The DRMS was established in 2005 through a joint partnership between the university, Save the Children Canada and the Ethiopian governments Disaster Risk Management and Food Security section. It was DRMS was formed to meet the identified need to build the resilience of communities in Ethiopia to a range of hazards through strengthened capacity and sustainable development.