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.

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.

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.

Ekodaga School
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Ekodaga School
Built in 2010, Ekodaga School focuses on early childhood education, a great need in this small farming village in the Oromia Region. Until 2010, children in Ekodaga had to walk half an hour each way to the nearest school – a distance too far for the youngest and for those who also have to help their families by herding livestock and fetching water. The school in Ekodaga was our first to operate according to a 'nonformal' format, adapted to the needs of farmers' families without disrupting the children's education.

Currently there are about 200 children attending the Ekodaga School. Their classrooms feature innovative and unique lighting solutions, bright colors and are well supplied thanks to the generous support of our donors.

All teachers in the school are hired locally. Teachers participate in regular Ethiopia Reads in-house training, including those delivered by experts in literacy and libraries from the U.S. They are all studying in an independent four-year teaching diploma program, arranged for by Ethiopia Reads.

The Parents Committee is working closely with the school. They asked for help with water supply. School staff was fetching water for the school manually from nearly a mile away. Ethiopia Reads was able to facilitate the installation of water tap at the school, linked to a line from nearby villages. The Parents Committee’s is now helping with land negotiations and raising funds for a compound fence.

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