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World Bank Partnership in Ethiopia

Late last year, Camara Education Ethiopia signed an agreement with the World Bank to become a partner in their project entitled ‘Response – Recovery – Resilience for Conflict-Affected Communities in Ethiopia’. The recent conflicts in various regions of Ethiopia, on top of the grave human suffering that they caused, resulted in the destruction of countless schools and their infrastructure. As a result, many children were deprived of an adequate education for years. Through this new partnership, Camara Ethiopia is being funded by the World Bank to assist in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools affected by conflict. The highlights of our participation are: 

  • Digital Learning Centres to be established in 100 schools
  • 3,500 computers to be installed
  • 550 teachers to be trained in the use of IT in education.

Here, some of the equipment is being checked and despatched from our offices in Addis Ababa.


Coding and Machine Learning workshop

We recently organized a remarkable training workshop in Ethiopia, the first of its kind for our schools. In conjunction with Dr Solomon Gizaw, an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science at Addis Ababa University, who trained at and retains links with the University of Limerick in Ireland, Train the Trainer workshops were held on October 9 and 10 at the Addis Ababa University 4 Kilo campus. 40 IT teachers from 20 Camara supported schools, as well as Camara volunteers and staff, participated in the training.

The workshop covered coding, concentrating on the free Scratch programming language, and Machine Learning, featuring TinyML. Dr Solomon and his colleague delivered the Machine Learning components and Camara’s head trainer delivered the Scratch sessions as part of our Africa Code Week initiative. The training was hands-on and engaging, and the teachers were very excited about it.

Dr Solomon Gizaw explaining machine learning

Almost all of the teachers who took part were new to TinyML, so the workshop covered everything from the basics to its potential applications in various sectors, including education. This initiative is just one of the ways in which Camara seeks to impact the country’s education sector and empower teachers and students with the knowledge and skills they need to effect change for the better.

Crosspoint School – practical results

One of the teachers who took part in the October workshop was Mr. Hayleyesus, an IT teacher at Crosspoint School in Dukem, some 37km southeast of Addis Ababa. He wasted no time in passing on his enhanced coding skills to some of his students, who are preparing to take part in the 2023 AfriCAN Code Challenge. The AfriCAN Code Challenge is a coding contest open to 8-16-year-olds across Africa, in which they have to develop an original game using the Scratch programming language. Camara Ethiopia is the organiser of the ACC in Ethiopia.

These pictures show students at Crosspoint taking part in their own coding workshop. The eLearning centre at Crosspoint is sponsored by one of our local partners, Edify.


Progress in Tigray

Some great news from our colleagues in Ethiopia, as our first rehabilitation project in the Tigray region following the conflict there has been completed. The fighting between Tigrayan forces and the Ethiopian government began in November 2020 and dragged on for more than two years – during which time around 85% of the 253 government high schools in the region suffered significant damage. Now, things are slowly returning to normal.

Having transported a lorry-load of computers north, the first of the new networked eLearning Centres was established at Kallamino High School in the Tigrayan capital, Mekele.

The school’s teachers were trained in the use of ICT in education with a special focus on encouraging girls’ active and continuing participation – a project in partnership with British Council Ethiopia.

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Turning Roses into Computers

Sher High School in Ziway, Ethiopia, has received not one but two brand-new e-learning centres, thanks to generous funding from the Dutch Flower Foundation and Afriflora.

Afriflora/Sher Ethiopia grows, harvests, grades and packs roses at three farms, the largest of them on the shores of Lake Dembel just outside Ziway. Between 2.5 and 4 million roses are processed every day and transported to Europe for further distribution. This makes Afriflora/Sher Ethiopia the largest rose grower in the world and the biggest supplier of roses in Europe, as well as a major foreign currency earner for Ethiopia. Around half of the students at the Ziway Sher High School are children of Sher employees.  

Camara installed 50 computers and two servers in the two centres, and our trainers spent a week training 26 teachers on how best to use the computers to deliver the curriculum and giving advice on basic maintenance.  We’ll also provide ongoing support. Camara’s computers run on the Ubuntu open-source operating system. They are pre-loaded with a range of educational software, from simple games to specialized Camara Learning Studio resources for maths and science. All computers are also loaded with an offline version of Wikipedia, creating an extraordinary learning resource for schools with limited internet connections. And most important of all, the computers are installed with PDFs of Ministry of Education textbooks covering the entire school curriculum. Textbooks are in very short supply in many of Ethiopia’s 40,000 schools, so this alone is a crucial resource.

The Dutch Flower Foundation (DFF) aims to improve the living conditions and well-being of people in need and in particular children. They focus on countries where Dutch Flower Group (DFG) companies are active with an emphasis on connected community projects. Through the activities of DFF, DFG gives substance to its responsibility for the world in which we live.

Hundreds of students will benefit from the new computers according to Sher School director Mr Negusse Aga: ‘Computer-skills are extremely important for our students. Sher schools have an excellent reputation in Ethiopia. Almost all the students qualify to attend universities. New computers enable us to uphold our reputation and open the digital world to our students. On behalf of the students and teachers we would like to sincerely thank DFF and Camara for their highly appreciated contribution in this project.’

Camara BC Semera 15.6.23 3 small

Aiming for Leadership

Meyram sits with her friends in the bustling e-learning lab in Semera Girls’ Boarding School. Outside the morning temperature is reaching 40 degrees, but inside the lab the air is cooled by fans and air conditioning. To protect the computers from dust all the students leave their shoes outside.

The lab is part of a project in which Camara Education Ethiopia has been collaborating with British Council Ethiopia. Computers were funded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, while Camara Education supplied the hardware, networking and technical support, and the British Council provided educational resources.

“I started using the computers one month ago”. Meyram explained. “It’s difficult to get hard copies of books so the computers make it easy to find the relevant content. The teachers have the real books, but we don’t.”

Not only has the e-learning lab provided students with textbooks, but it also helps understanding. Meyram finds that “the videos on the computers help me a lot.” If she doesn’t understand something her teacher is trying to explain, she can come to the lab after class and learn more.

Meyram uses the lab every day for an hour or so. Her ICT teacher is always there to help (she was trained by Camara Education). Meyram feels “excited to learn new things so I listen carefully to my e-learning lab teacher. I am proud of what I have learnt so far.”

As an ICT club member Meyram has the responsibility to show her friends how to use the computers. “I feel well trained and this makes me happy to share my knowledge and teach my friends”, she explained. Next she aims to teach her family too. Though she lives in the boarding school, every time she talks to her family she tells them about her e-learning, “My family know I am learning how to use computers and they are proud of me. In the future I want to share my knowledge with them too.”

Meyram has high ambitions for her future and uses e-learning to help her journey towards achieving them. “Using these computers, especially experimenting on Wikipedia, helps me to know more about the outside world and I am exploring more. This helps me get different information about other countries.“

“Because, when I grow up, I want to be the prime minister of Ethiopia.”

The interview with Meyram was conducted in Amharic and has been translated into English.

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Christmas Challenge Update

Our Christmas Challenge campaign at the end of 2022 raised almost £55,000 to help rehabilitate schools that had been devastated by the conflict in northern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Ministry of Education undertook any necessary reconstruction, and Camara Ethiopia is busy installing or re-installing computer labs and providing training for teachers.

This is the story of just one school. Kutaber Secondary is located in the small, rural town of Kutaber, in the South Wollo zone of Amhara region, about 420 km north of Addis Ababa. A government school established in 1947, it currently has more than 1745 students, just under half of whom are girls.

Before the fighting, the school had two fully-fledged e-learning centres, but sadly these were destroyed during the conflict around two years ago, along with some of the school’s classrooms.

Thanks to funds raised by our supporters through the Christmas Challenge campaign, Camara Ethiopia has fitted out an entirely new computer lab with 25 desktop computers and trained (or re-trained) some of the school’s teachers in their use, and how best to incorporate digital learning into their everyday practice.

Thanks to the funds we raised through the Christmas Challenge, we’re in the process of rehabilitating ten more schools like Kutaber Secondary, but there are many others that are equally desperate for help. If you could fund a school like this, or would like more information, please contact us.


Dell Technologies Partnership update

The second phase of our latest project in partnership with Dell Technologies in Ethiopia was completed in April, as the tenth school was connected to the server at Camara Ethiopia’s offices. This project allows us to remotely monitor the eLearning centres at these ten schools, in addition to the five that were beneficiaries of the first stage of the project.

Each school has been furnished with a networked eLearning centre equipped with 25 desktop computers. In addition, Camara provides teacher and leadership training to promote stakeholder engagement, as well as access to Camara Learning Studio via the server, supplying curriculum-aligned content for maths and science classes for students in grades 9 through 12. Our technicians provide support and use the server to track and evaluate learning outcomes by analysing usage data on the Dell server.  

The principal aims of the project are two-fold: to improve teaching quality through training; and to enhance students’ experience, academic results and life chances with digital education.

Each school has been furnished with a networked eLearning centre equipped with 25 desktop computers. In addition, Camara provides teacher and leadership training to promote stakeholder engagement, and access to Camara Learning Studio via the server, supplying curriculum-aligned content for maths and science classes for students in grades 9 through 12. Our technicians provide support and use the server to track and evaluate learning outcomes by analysing usage data on the Dell server.  

Students in the lab at Don Bosco School

The principal aims of the project are two-fold: to improve teaching quality through training; and to enhance students’ experience, academic results and life chances with digital education.

Teachers’ Professional Development will lead to:

  • Improved teachers’ capacity (both contents and pedagogy) in teaching Science, Mathematics and English subjects with IT
  • Improved teacher motivation and interest in the teaching profession

Provision of the networked lab and usage monitoring will lead to:

  •  Increased classroom interaction in the teaching and learning process
  •  Decrease in student dropout rate
  •  More efficient management of the ICT infrastructure and resources resulting in more effective eLearning centre utilization

The schools involved in the second phase are:


While we continue to offer support to the five schools from the first phase:


Teacher Andualem Tsegaye praised the scheme:

Andulem Tsegaye, ICT teacher at Don Bosco School

“I have been an ICT teacher at Dilla Don Bosco Secondary School since 2005. Now that we are using the new eLearning center based on a timetable, we are noticing a gradual improvement in academic results and students are happier to learn thanks to the Camara computers. They are also more motivated in enhancing their education.”

Semera Girls' leader

Empowering Female Students through Digital Literacy

Camara Education Ethiopia in partnership with British Council Ethiopia

Camara Education Ethiopia has been collaborating with the British Council in Ethiopia on a project involving six secondary schools in the Afar region and fourteen in Amhara. Both areas are in northern Ethiopia and were impacted by the recent conflict there.

In each school the project set up a fully functioning e-Learning centre designed specifically for the school’s individual climate and context. Computers were funded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, while Camara Education supplied the hardware, networking and technical support, ensuring that equipment was protected from power surges, heat and dust. The schools provided the rooms, furniture and their own dedication, committing to maintain the labs in the long term.

To support the use of the centres, the British Council and Camara Education provided initial and follow-up hardware support and software training. Each computer is loaded with educational resources and programmes working both on- and off-line. As well as British Council materials, these include resources from the Ministry of Education and Camara Education Ethiopia.

Empowering Girls

The centres aim to build skills and confidence specifically for female students. Gender and girls club members will be prioritised for using the labs and take on the responsibility to teach their peers. Two students per club will lead the training, which will cascade across all the students and staff at the school. This prioritisation aims to improve achievement levels for girls and gender club members, giving them status in the school and society and raising their ability, capacity and motivation to learn.

In Afar, training for teachers, club leaders, directors and education officers took place in the new e-Learning centre at Semera Girls’ Boarding School. The school is situated on the edge of Semera city, almost 600km northeast of Addis Ababa. The e-Learning centre is a clean, well-organized room at the heart of the school, now lined with desktop computers, with fans to cool them in Afar’s hot climate.

Putting Training into Action

Alem Tsehai, who works in another school in the project, explained the need for these e-Learning centres, “There are lots of challenges in my school”, she said, “there are only a few books and resources. This is a big opportunity to use this training and resources to improve my students’ learning outcomes. We used to have no computers in my school. Now Camara and the Ministry of Education have supplied more than 40”.

Another participant at the training talked about how labs can motivate teachers’ support for female students, “After this training I will have more resources for girls’ education and I will focus on girls’ education”.

Implementing Change

The training considered how to ensure this initiative is accepted and promoted across communities. Engaging the community will increase the impact on girls’ education.

As one of the teachers put it: “We need to work with religious leaders. We need to encourage them to send their girls to school. Once in school we need to support girls to engage more with school and with technology.”

Once back at their schools the teachers’ work must be two-fold, as one participant explained, “I will cascade this training for other teachers when I return to my school and focus on girls’ education”. Another recognised the project aims as sitting firmly within their own hopes for education: “If I was made the Minister of Education I would raise teachers’ professional competency. I would implement policies and improve learning outcomes.”

Empty completed lab, Bole Kale Heywet Secondary


Our Ethiopian hub faced a host of problems delivering services in 2021, chief among them the ongoing problems caused by Covid 19 and the country’s internal conflict. Despite these issues, Camara Ethiopia achieved or surpassed its targets for the year in almost every area. Our ongoing project in co-operation with the Ministry of Education to set up e-Learning centres in schools across the country continued, with 301 new centres established during the year. This was the one metric on which we fell just short of our ambitions (see table below), but we installed more desktop computers than targeted – 8,152 – trained 2,022 teachers, also above target, and impacted the lives of almost 303,000 students, again surpassing our objectives.

Our thanks and congratulations go to all the team in Ethiopia! 

TargetAchieved% Achieved
Desktops dispatched8,0008,152102%
e-Learning centres set up32030194%
Educators trained1,9202,022105%
Learners Impacted231,670302,972130%
Biniam ACW


Camara Ethiopia’s country manager, Biniam Yayehyirad Kitaw, has recently completed a prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This is the flagship program of the US State Department’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The Fellows are accomplished leaders and have established records of promoting innovation and positive impact in their communities and countries. Of more than 35,000 applications for this year’s Fellowship, just 700 were selected to participate.

As a result of Covid19, this year’s Fellowship was virtual. Biniam participated in six-week Leadership Institutes studying Public Management hosted by Bridgewater State University, with other fellows from all over Africa. His Ignite Talk on “The Power of Education” was selected to feature at the Fellowship Summit, alongside other distinguished guest speakers. You can see that talk here.