The emergency announcement on the Boeing 787 from Lusaka to Addis Ababa was a little more formal than the one we heard previously. Two days before in Ndola on route to Lusaka, the pilot turned around to the seven passengers to tell us where the exits were, oh, and by the way can you close the back door!
A few hours before boarding, word came through from Addis that we finally got charity status in the country. This was the final step in the registration process complicated by Camara Ethiopia (I can say it now) being the first NGO to go through new legisliation aimed at reducing the proliferation of charities in the country. Signficant effort went into establishing agreements with the Ministry of Education, the Addis Education Bureau and Education Multimedia Agency (EMA). The EMA (now Centre of Education and ICT) broadcast educational content via audio and audio visual channels to schools around the country and are hungry to be involved in this new generation of technology enabled education. We visited the space where the hub will be housed and didn’t leave without some ceremonial photos (some refurbishment to be done as you can see).
Patience and persistence in equal part by our Country Director Gina Killikelly and great support from the Irish Embassy were the key in the end. A few St. Georges (local beer) were had to celebrate the achievement. However the work starts here. With 18 schools already signed up and the first of five containers ordered (2,500 Pcs), not to mention the expansion out of Addis, 2011 is going to be busy.
Next stop Kigali, Rwanda where operations are constrained due to the refurbished computer ban. Through ‘friend of Camara’ ex British PM Gordon Brown, we have a meeting in president’s office. Let’s see if we can keep on this roll….