Dignitaries from Ethiopia Visit SILS to Learn About Widernet and the School

June 15, 2014

Guests from Oromia State, the largest of nine regions of Ethiopia, visited the School of Information and Library Science (SILS) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 to learn more about the WiderNet @ UNC and SILS.

The visitors included Mr. Daba Debele, the head of the Oromia State Bureau of Education, which manages over 800 schools from primary to post-secondary institutions, and Dr. Mitiku Tesso, the president of Ambo University, a university specializing in science and technology programs.

The guests explored the possibilities of large scale installations of the eGranary Digital Library in Oromia State's schools and linkages between universities in Oromia State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science.
Founded in 2000 by Cliff Missen, clinical associate professor at SILS, WiderNet @ UNC provides training and develops low-cost uses of information technology in developing countries. To date, through training programs and technology donations, WiderNet @ UNC has made information and education more accessible to millions of people in underserved areas of the world.

WiderNet @ UNC also develops the eGranary Digital Library, a “plug-and-play server” that provides access to millions of digital documents – over 2,700 mirrored Web sites - without requiring an Internet connection.

This digital library contains over 30 million documents, each fully indexed and searchable using a built-in search engine. So far, eGranary is used by more than 2.5 million people and has been installed at over 700 institutions worldwide.

“This has been a timely visit,” says Missen.  “The Oromia Bureau of Education is preparing to deploy hundreds of our eGranary Digital libraries to preparatory schools across Ethiopia. We want to make sure we have a plan to train teachers and librarians to make the best possible use of their new resources.”

Photo at the top left includes from left to right, Danny Arnold, UNC graduate student and WiderNet Partnerships coordinator; Dr. Mitiku Tesso, the president of Ambo University; Cliff Missen, WiderNet @ UNC director; and Daba Debele, the head of the Oromia State Bureau of Education. Photo by Lara Markovits.