A Glance at Dire Dawa University Book Projects

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Posted on: Mar 03,2016

Being one of the newly established Universities of Ethiopia, Dire Dawa University has had a few linkages with overseas co institutions, and it has long been dependant on government’s budget which was in fact a major challenge to operate as per the mission it stipulates.

However, a new University-wide effort hopes to create a solidarity strategy. Over the past few years, the University has been collaborating with different national and international institutes so as to provide best customer service and to meet the needs of its colleges, staffs and students both on campus and surrounding communities in Dire Dawa City at a distance.

In the process of creating a self-reliant Dire Dawa University in all aspects, some of its strong and committed staffs are now bringing themselves in the forefronts to shade light on the growth and development of the University. 

Here an exemplary staff like Mr. Firew Girma can be referred as to support the aforementioned idea.  Serving as lecturer of Linguistics at Addis Ababa University English Department for some time, Mr. Firew Girma joined Dire Dawa University at the end of November 2014 and started teaching undergraduate linguistics courses in English Department. After a week stay at DDU, he observed that there were very few teaching texts not only in his discipline but also latest edition texts in other disciplines. It took him just a week to notice the shortages of textbooks and discuss with the university presidents.

After a year, when he explains the good cooperation habit that DDU has built, said, ‘‘My discussion with DDU’ presidents finally come to fruition and only in 2015 and 2016 the university has successfully secured a donation of more than 30,000 literacy texts worth of 640,000 USD from different international partners: International Book Project, Inc. (USA), McGraw Hill-Higher Education (USA), Books for International Goodwill (USA), and The Abdu Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics- Marie Curie Library (Italy)’’.

Mentioning about DDU’s support to these successful projects, Firew states “look today, knowledge is increasingly shared across national boundaries, and challenges must be understood in their broadest geographic context. DDU cannot skip out of this phenomenon. Therefore, me as an individual and DDU as a collective, should support these kind of projects and initiatives if we really need to participate in an ever more connected world. At the same time we have no alternatives other than using our teaching staff and students’ intellectual capacity if we really prefer to strengthen the university’s facilities through our current multidirectional collaboration strategies of engagement and ensure the highest quality and impact for our teaching and research in the decades to come.”

Loading the 20 pallets: International Book Project, Inc. & McGraw Hill-Higher Education (USA)



Moreover, the university has also acknowledged the following individuals and organizations for the fruition of the recent book donation project with the International Book Project, Inc. and McGraw Hill- Higher Education Division, USA.


Mr. Matthew Jellick is an English Language Fellow at DDU, College of Social Science and Humanities. Over the past few months he has been helping to facilitate the recent book donation project in which DDU was able to receive $485,000 worth of texts.  Regarding the successfulness of the project Matthew says “Finally coming to fruition this past week, I am happy to announce that we received nearly 14,600 brand-new textbooks from International Book Project, working in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and Dire Dawa University!   With a list price of nearly half a million dollars, the books were supplied by McGraw Hill Higher Education and encompass a wide array of disciplines from Medicine to Education and from Law to Business.”

Right to Left: Dr. Yitbarek Getachew (Vice President for Academic & Research Affairs at DDU), Mr.  Matthew Jellick (English Language Fellow at CSSH, DDU), and Dr. Girma Goro (President of DDU)

 Matthew also found this project was a challenging one, stating, “With daily emails across the country and globe, and with weekly telephone calls to all parties involved, I can say that it has certainly been an interesting learning experience.  Totally different in nature from the Nike Football Donation Project I am organizing, this Book Donation Project was more challenging in that it encompassed sea transport between the U.S. and Djibouti and then land transport between Djibouti and Ethiopia.  Customs clearances, tariff billings and language barriers created a climate where it was actually easier and cheaper to move across 8,000 kilometers of Ocean than it was to transport over 400 kilometers of land.  Nonetheless, last month we received the books at the University with the President and Vice President presiding over a small ceremony, happy that one part of the process had ended and encouraged about the next steps of utilization’’.

                                                                                                                                                                  Unloading the Text books


From International Book Project was Merritt, who worked tirelessly from his end, updating us on the sea transit and alerting us to the arrival dates in Port.  He is an expert who has done this before with many other countries, he helped guide us through the logistical side of things, including the packing lists, price points, and impending deadlines.

For its part, the Public Affairs Section at the U.S Embassy in Addis helped out with all of the shipping costs ($ 8,000).

Finally, Firew has also acknowledged the management of DDU, Tadesse Customs and Transit Agent (Dire Dawa), DDU staffs: Ephrem Belete, Eman Mohammed, Eyob Nega, Anwar Adem, Takele Bekele, Markos Medhin, Woretaw Chale, Mesfin Tsegaye, Yonas Abera, Gizate Gete, Zerah Wolde, Abdulkerim Adem, and Getnet Tolessa, and, all staffs of the English Language and Literature Department.

Currently the nearly 14,600 books are in the process of being cataloged through the university’s system, with smaller donations going to the local libraries and schools as deemed necessary by content and level. Moreover, members of the Front Office have plans to visit the university and hold a ceremony celebrating the donation while recognizing it as a truly beneficial endeavor for the larger community of Dire Dawa.