building schools in ethiopia

Literacy rates in Ethiopia average well below 50%.  With half of the population under 16 and school enrollment consistently below 70%, access to high-quality education is an obvious need.  Children need schools; they need skilled teachers and librarians; and they need materials.  Ethiopia Reads has strategies to address each need.

Kindergarten and Early Grades

At the beginning of this decade, only 5% of kindergarten-age children in Ethiopia were in school. A child attending government schools started her education at age seven. That is late in a child's development, especially in the case of children from households that cannot afford books. A lot of our education work is focused on early-grade access.

Early Grades in Government Schools

In 2010, the Ethiopian government announced its intention to provide kindergarten education in government schools. This will be a long process, and it is the intention of Ethiopia Reads to work beside the government in making the education provided the best possible.

Most schools charged with providing kindergarten education don't have the space, the furniture, the trained personnel, or the teaching materials necessary to implement early childhood education properly. Ethiopia Reads offers school support packages in which we partner with a government or NGO-run school, offering training and mentoring for teachers, furniture and teaching materials for the classrooms.

As part of our school support, we offer after-school and family-centered reading tutorials for the earliest grades. We know how important a strong foundation in literacy is to academic success.


azedabo & fundame schools

Two of our newest schools, located in Kembata-Tembaro Zone of SNNPR, serve over 400 children annually. These schools are part of our Kembata-Tembaro initiative to strengthen educational access in rural communities. Both Azedabo and Fundame Schools utilize a non-formal approach to education, allowing students to support their families during harvest without disrupting their education.

Click here to see more info about the Azedabo and Fundame Schools.


Kololo School

Kololo Non-Formal School was created by Ethiopia Reads for children living in hard-to-reach farming villages in the Kembata Tembaro Region, South West Ethiopia. Situated on a site only accessible from a dirt track road - to a point - and then by foot, the success of the project is due to perseverance and an ethic of team work between Ethiopia Reads staff and Kololo villagers.

Click here to see more info about the Kololo School.


The Old Sarum Project

For five years, Ethiopia Reads operated the ‘Old Sarum’ Kindergarten in the Mercato District of Addis Ababa, so named in honor of the couple from Salisbury, England, whose wedding donations paid for the founding of the school. The school served hundreds of children in its time with model early childhood education.

Click here to see more info about the Old Sarum Project.

Ekodaga School

This is a kindergarten and nonformal early grades primary school built in 2010 in the small farming village of Ekodaga, located in the Oromo region of central Ethiopia. Until 2010, children in Ekodaga had to walk half an hour to the nearest school – those children who weren't kept home to herd the family's livestock. The school in Ekodaga was our first to operate according to a 'nonformal' format, adapted to the needs of farmers' families.

Click here to see more info about the Ekodaga School.



There are still pockets of Ethiopia in which children have no access to school. Often schools are long, impractical distances away.  In the Kembata-Tembaro Zone (SNNPR) in southern Ethiopia, Ethiopia Reads has committed to building five schools focusing on early childhood education.

Click here to see more info about the Kembata-Tembaro Initiative.