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Books for Eritrea Campaign Update (November 2008)

posted 29 Jan 2012, 06:25 by D Woldeab

We write to thank our members, members of the Eritrean Youth Association and other friends who assisted us over the last couple of weeks in listing, packing and loading books which were sent to Eritrea by a generous Eritrean at his own expenses.  We also thank all those who donated books.

 It is known that education is the gateway to prosperity and sustainable development.  It is in this regard and in line with our objectives that AGE has put a lot of effort in collecting and sending books, computers and other educational materials to Eritrea over the last couple of years in conjunction with our partners. 

 Many libraries and other institutions have become beneficiaries of our donations in the past.   This year we were involved in the shipment of books to the Nursing College in Asmara in collaboration with the Eritrean Relief Association in the UK (ERA-UK).  The nursing books were donated by Thames Valley University through our Eritrean brother Mohammed who secured the donation and helped with the collection.  ERA not only sorted, listed and packed the books, but also covered the cost of freight in full and ensured the books were cleared at Customs and received by the Nursing School in Asmara.  We use this opportunity to thank ERA for their support and generous donations. 

 In recognition of our contribution, we have received letters from the Minister of Education and the various institutions that we supported.  Recently we received a feedback from the President of the Library and Information Association of Eritrea for a consignment sent last year containing books, computers, printers, and fax machines.

In the statement, the President expressed her appreciation for the support and advised that the material sent were distributed to 31 libraries located in all corners of the country and a number of institutions.  For the full contents of the feedback letter please use this link: http://www.eritrea.co.uk/books-for-eritrea/Feedback_from_LIAE.pdf.  You may also find the outcome of the national library survey conducted by LIAE and presented on the 6th annual conference of LIAE in June 2008 at:


 It is indeed heart-warming to note that our efforts have been appreciated and that the materials sent are put to good use.      

 As can be seen from the feedback letter from LIAE, the authorities in Eritrea have requested that, in the future, we provide them with packing list to aid with the customs clearance.  The packing list would have to include detailed list of the books donated including title, author and estimated price.  They have indicated that one of the reasons for the delayed clearance at Customs was due to the fact that we did not provide a detailed list with the last shipment; it therefore took some time to clear the cargo from the Port.  Although the request is understandable, all those who were involved in carrying out the work required in the last two to three weeks and over the last couple of years would appreciate that collecting 20,000 books is not an easy task by its own, let alone sorting and listing it.  One needs a large storage area and an army of volunteers to be able to do the work requested in full.  Considering our meagre resources and number of volunteers, the task requested is well beyond our capacity and we are considering other ways of continuing our support.

 In this regard, we have been in discussion with Book Aid International (BAI) with the aim of helping them to increase the quality and quantity of books that they plan to send to Eritrea.  The meetings so far have been productive.  This year, AGE has made a £500 contribution towards their cost of sending books to Eritrea.   We have received the following letter of acknowledgment from BAI: http://www.eritrea.co.uk/books-for-eritrea/Letter_Book_Aid_International.pdf

 Book Aid International has already donated large collection of books.  BAI will continue to donate books to Eritrea and their contribution will no doubt greatly ease the shortage of books in Eritrea.   BAI’s contribution aims to match the type of books in demand and that the books are new. BAI has secured a donation to provide support to two libraries in Eritrea. 

 AGE would again like to thank all those who supported us and made the project so successful