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News and Events

Why did I Take the Training?

English Language Classes for UNMEE

Women Empowerment

Conference Participation

Visit from BookAid

Computers for Libraries

Photo Exhibition

Learn English

Library Training



Why Did I Take the Training?

British Council Eritrea, in partnership with British Council Teaching Centre Kenya organises Special Skills courses in Eritrea. The British Council Kenya provides highly qualified trainers and awards certificates to trainees.

"When I was asked to give this speech on behalf of my fellow trainees I said 'I can't do it!' When I was asked why did I take the training for then? I asked myself 'Why did I?'. Alemtsehay Fesseha stood in front of about 65 audiences at the certification ceremony to give her lively and professional speech.

34 participants from ten Government and Non-Government organisations, UN agencies and Diplomatic missions attended a five-day intensive Report Writing and Oral Presentation skills course from 08 to 19 September 2003 at the conference hall of the Lutheran World Federation. Mrs. Patricia Sharpley, an English language international trainer from Nairobi, Kenya gave the training. Participants were awarded with certificates of participation on Friday the 19th of September 2003. Similar training was organised for the staff of three ministries in July of 2001.

On the same occasion, trainees who completed English language courses on intermediate and advanced levels were awarded certificates.

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English Language Classes for UNMEE

The United Nation's Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) has a large number of local and international staff whose first language is not English. For better improvement and efficiency of the organisation, it is crucial for the staff to communicate easily and clearly in English.

About 89 staff of UNMEE are now ready to take training in English language in four levels. The British Council, as part of its ongoing support in promoting English language has agreed with UNMEE training section to organise a programme that is due to start in November 2003. The course will be prepared in an internationally accepted standard. The programme will cover beginner, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate levels each running for 120 contact hours.

Similar programmes have been organised for Catholic Church development committee, Ministries of Information, Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture staff.

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I Can

'I had always felt that being a leader is men's work and that I might ruin my life and the life of the people I lead if I even think of becoming one. I learned from this training that with leadership skills, confidence and truth, I can!' For Hanna Solomon of Asmara Textile Factory, change had occurred at the end of the two-day workshop on 'Empowering Women through Leadership and Gender Awareness' organised by the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) and supported by British Council Eritrea.

'When you vote for a woman to be a leader for whatsoever purpose, that woman does not feel proud, instead she feels you are putting her in a bad position where she'll be tied up in meetings and extra, 'unfruitful' work when she can use the time for her family and house work. She is totally unaware of her rights and her powers as a change agent. Because of this, she lets others take advantage of her. These were our reasons for organising the workshops." Adhanet Andom, Head of the Women Committee at NCEW and co-ordinator of the workshop explained.

The workshops were a series of two-day events targeted at female trade union members throughout Eritrea in August 2003. 150 participants from the six capital cities of the regions attended. At the end of the series, both the participants and co-ordinators unanimously agreed that the workshops and training should happen more regularly in a bid to strengthen the awareness of women and motivate them to get involved in leadership to make a difference. Women must learn to take action because they can. I can.

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Conference Participation

Sponsored by the British Council, Mr. Basilos Zemo, Media Education Director, from the Ministry of Education, attended the 3rd Pan African Reading for All Conference, held 18-22 August 2003 in Kampala, Uganda.

The five-day conference drawn 600 delegates from over 30 countries and Eritrea was represented for the first time in such an international, wide spectrum conference.

One of the main focuses of the conference was promotion of reading culture, which is quite essential to develop sustainable literacy in Eritrea. Mr. Basilos expressed the value of the conference as "The experiences shared in this conference will enhance and enrich the ongoing activity of the department and I will try my best to disseminate them through adult radio broadcasting & organising training events".

The next 'Pan African Reading for All' conference will happen in Swaziland in 2006.

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Book Aid International Officials Visit to Eritrea

Sara Harrity, Director and Erica Lang, Head of Programmes of Book Aid International will be in Eritrea from 5th-12th October. The purpose of their visit is to discuss key issues with the British Council and the Ministry of Education such as reading promotion, advocating for libraries, the role of libraries in alleviating poverty and ensuring equal access to information among all segments of Eritrean society. They will also be visiting libraries in the country which have benefited from the partnership, so that they can find out what the users of the libraries think of the books available.

Book Aid International is an International NGO based in the UK. It works with partners that ensure books and information are widely accessible. Partners include public library services, community resource centres, universities, colleges, schools and non-governmental organisations. Carefully selected materials are made available to these organisations in over 40 developing countries- 85% of resources are targeted to 13 countries in sub- Saharan Africa including Eritrea.

In partnership with Book Aid International, in the last 5 years, we have managed to distribute over 95,000 books to libraries serving communities in different parts of Eritrea.

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Computers for Libraries in Eritrea

The resounding success of the Computers for Libraries Project has reflected the popularity of computers with Eritreans everywhere. "With the manual work we did, our library was considered obsolete with only old books. Now with the computer and reference materials on CD-ROMs, we are as up-to-date as any good modern library in the world. And users are already showing interest." Hailu Hadera, librarian at the Chamber of commerce commented. The increasingly high demand for computer access by Eritreans was the basis for British Council's involvement with this project. No doubt, the pilot phase project in Eritrea has improved and strengthened the reputation of information technology. In partnership with Computer Aid International-UK, British Council Eritrea brought 50 quality-refurbished computers in June 2003 and distributed them to about 29 organisations by August 2003. These included public and school libraries, youth centres and educational institutions nation wide. The pilot project also packaged a ten-day intensive tailor-made computer training session for 24 librarians involving basic computer usage, Internet browsing, CD-ROM accessing and the use of specialised database programmes to facilitate the work of libraries. The library automation database was especially designed as part of this project to facilitate the work of library management. The successful implementation of the Computer for Libraries Project and the enthusiastic response it received from keen Eritreans have generated optimistic ideas of a possible launching of a project involving a large number of schools throughout Eritrea in the near future.

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Photo Exhibition

The British Council Eritrea sponsored photographer Teklemariam Tekeste in presenting a photo exhibition at the Eritrea Annual Festival. The exhibition presented Eritrea's cultural heritage, historical locations and environment in great photographic images. Teklemariam has 25 years experience of photography.

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Teach Yourself English

We feel happy to announce that we will be opening a new English Language Reference Section starting October 21, which will be part of the Open Learning Zone of the first floor.

This section will have best-selected English language learning resources in the form of books and multimedia. Computers, video and audio-visual players will be in place in a comfortable reading area where you can teach and improve your English language.

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Library Summer Training

In order to foster the Library and Information Services in Eritrea the British Council in-collaboration with the Library and Information Association of Eritrea conducted a librarianship-training workshop at a basic and follow-up levels.

42 participants were trained at a basics level from 14-26 July 2003 and will continue the training next summer and get certified. 43 participants trained at a follow-up level from 28 July- 09 August have been certified. 22 out of the 43 certified participants are from the Ministry of Education.

This summer training workshop was the eighth batch since its start in 1995/96.

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