By 2016

more than half of the libraries

in the program will have held activities to promote girls’ reading and participation.

In 2015

over 14,000

of more than 130 titles have been procured.

By 2016


will have been distributed to community libraries in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with more than 33 million potential students under the age of 15. Through recent efforts, access to primary education has increased and the rate of children who have completed up to grade five has risen to 69.5% (UNESCO 2015).

However, a majority of children are still not completing a second cycle of education past grade five due to high repetition and drop-out (UNESCO). For those who are attending school, a UN study found that on average, there are 72 students per teacher (UNESCO). With such high numbers of potential students in Ethiopia, there is significant pressure on the education system to provide enough teachers, adequate training, and high quality learning resources to keep students motivated and in school.


An adaptation of Reading CODE, Reading Ethiopia is a comprehensive readership initiative that aims to improve the learning outcomes of children and youth in underserved communities of Ethiopia. Together with its long-time partner CODE-Ethiopia, CODE works to establish reading rooms and libraries in rural communities across the country.

As a library based program, Reading Ethiopia establishes vibrant community libraries staffed with Reading CODE certified librarians that carry out outreach activities with schools and communities to promote a culture of reading, and to ensure access to good quality, culturally relevant reading materials. CODE is currently working with 35 community libraries and are actively promoting reading in the surrounding schools.

Beyond Access

Beyond Access tablet trainingPromoting early grade reading through technology

From March 2016 to May 2017 CODE is engaged in a special partnership with Beyond Access, CODE-Ethiopia, the National Archive and Library Agency, and Ethiopia Reads to provide young readers and their families with an opportunity to have access to technology (tablets) through community libraries.

The lack of books, in local languages, is one of the main challenges facing Ethiopia’s schools. This program is using technology to develop e-books, reading apps, and games, which provides communities access to a variety of reading tools and materials to support the development of new skills and advance learning. With access to technology, these libraries in Ethiopia are able to fill a void in education that schools alone cannot address.

Through this partnership, 25 libraries in Ethiopia will benefit from modern resources and spaces for children and communities to pursue lifelong learning.


Map of Ethiopia, Africa

Country Stats

Capital: Addis Ababa

Population: 94.1 million

Area: 1,104,300 km2

GDP (per capita): $145.1 billion

Languages: The official language is Amharic, spoken by 29% of Ethiopians. A few of the other spoken languages include Oromo, Somali, Tigrigna, Sidamo, Wolaytta, and Gurage. 

Literacy Rate:  69.5%

Literacy Rate for Women: 67.8%

Literacy Rate for Men: 71.1%

Out-of-school Rate: 13.5% of school-aged children do not attend school. 

Where We Work: Harar, Oromia, Dire Dawa, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s, Amhara and Tigray regions.

Did you Know?

Since 1999, primary school enrollment in Ethiopia has more than doubled. Children in regions where local language instruction extends through to upper primary school performed better in grade 8 subject than pupils taught only in English.

Recent News and Stories

Announcing the 2017 All-Stars ShortlistSep 08, 2017CODE is delighted to announce its Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature shortlist. This first regional competition is dubbed the All-Stars edition because all of the first prize winners of CODE’s Burt Award in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, and full article...
CODE Ethiopia Community LibrariesApr 19, 2017Karen Sharkey, CODE's Program Manager recently returned from a visit to eight community libraries in the Amhara and Oromia regions of Ethiopia with our country partner CODE Ethiopia. full article...
CODE Announces New Burt Award for African Young Adult LiteratureMar 27, 2017CODE is pleased to announce the details and call for submissions for a new multi-country literary prize called CODE’s Burt Award for African Young Adult Literature. The multi-country grand prize to launch with a special “all stars” competition for full article...
International Development WeekFeb 06, 2017It’s #IDW2017! Time to reflect on why education is so vital and how we must work harder to ensure that ALL children get the opportunity — and the right — to learn. From Feb 5-11 celebrate Canada's contributions to int'l development & encourage full article...


Our Programs

Reading Ethiopia logo

Our Partners

CODE-Ethiopia logo


Recent Burt Award Winners

Waiting for the Sun

20141st PlaceElshadai Tesfaye

Pashke on Deathbed

20142nd PlaceKebere Mala

The End of the Tunnel

20143rd PlaceDaniel Getachew

Photos From the Field

Our work takes us around the globe and close to home. We love to share photos of the faces and places where your contributions are making a real difference.