UNESCO Education UIL

CODE-Ethiopia (CE)

CODE-Ethiopia (CE) is a registered, non–profit non-governmental organization, established in 1994, working in the area of library development in rural areas of Ethiopia. CE has so far established 97 community libraries and trained more than 200 community librarians in Ethiopia, all connected in a library network.

CODE-Ethiopia has been increasing literacy in rural Ethiopian communities by establishing community libraries that draw schools, teachers, librarians and citizens together to achieve results. Its vision is to contribute to the creation of literate environments throughout Ethiopia, among both school-children and society more broadly. In the next five years its mission is to increase the rate of literacy and to establish additional community libraries in underserved areas.

CODE-Ethiopia´s success lies in the strength of community involvement, use, and value of its community libraries. Students, especially girls, who use CODE-Ethiopia´s libraries fare better at school and adults benefit from books on education, health, better farming, business and childcare. CODE-Ethiopia´s strong relationship with the Ministry of Education ensures that its work strengthens and supports national education goals.

CODE-Ethiopia supports the entire culture of reading and writing, from the author through the publisher through the community library and the teacher to the reader. It develops authentic reading materials that take local culture into consideration, and has published hundreds of thousands of books, more than 500 unique titles in six national languages.

CODE-Ethiopia has established 82 community libraries spread across the country, each containing some 5000 books, and together servicing more than 700 academic institutions at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels. It has established additional 15 community libraries under its 2012-2016 project period.

CODE-Ethiopia works with stakeholders in seven regions. Its financial and material support comes from Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE) with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

Areas of Specialization:

Adult education, Adult literacy , Basic education, Community development, Family education, Librarianship, Life skills, Lifelong learning, Literacy

User Profile:

Adults, students, children

Contact Information


P.O. Box 9443
Addis Ababa

Contact person:
Mr. Alemu Abebe

Basic Institutional Data:

Founded in:
Parent Organisation:
CODE Canada
Mr. Yalew Zeleke
Information staff:
Countries Served:
Working Languages:
Amharic, English


Books and Documents:
about 388.000 (about 5000 in each community library)

Services and Special Activities

Information Services Provided

Reference services; Acquisitions lists

Every year CODE-Ethiopia purchases books from local markets and distributes them to its community libraries.

CODE-Ethiopia implements programs in key areas:
1. Free distribution of donated, purchased and published books.
2. Establishment of community libraries.
3. Capacity development.
4. Development of supplementary books for primary levels in local languages.
5. Literary contest under the Burt Award for African Literature.

Publications Produced

Development and printing of books and other reading materials in indigenous languages.

CODE-Ethiopia publishes books and magazines in local languages to satisfy the needs of its readers. Local stories and articles are printed at seven educational newsletter production centers and are distributed to community libraries and adjacent schools.

To share experiences and innovative activities implemented in some of the community libraries, CODE-Ethiopia publishes and distributes a semi-annual magazine called "Sutafe".

Special Activities

Family literacy and librarian training materials can be found on https://codelibraries.wordpress.com and https://codeethiopiadigitalbooks.wordpress.com

Every year a "Reading week" is observed in all the community libraries for using the resources and to encourage sustainable support to the libraries. This is a promotional activity that already has helped to sustain the community libraries as hubs to local development.


Currently CODE-Ethiopia has also devised a system to use lead librarians drawn fro each region to facilitate the network of community libraries in their respective regions and beyond.

Other material

Challenges and Obstacles in Carrying out the Work

Currently there is not sufficient online access to materials. Once online access is established it will be easier to share documents and other materials for the common use of the members.