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Somali Students Get US$200,000 Worth Of Books From Australia

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Somali Students Get US$200,000 Worth Of Books From Australia

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Berbera, August 26, 2006 – Over six thousand students at six Somali tertiary institutions will benefit from books and learning equipment donated from Western Australia universities.

The ‘UniAid Somalia Book and Computer Drive’ came out of discussions between Curtin Business School (CBS) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last year on the dire need for educational resources in Somali universities. In cooperation with Thomson Learning (book publishers) and four Western Australian universities (University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan University), CBS garnered nearly 10,000 new and recycled books and 28 personal computers from institutions and the general public in and around Perth. UNDP supported the shipment of the container that arrived at Berbera Port this week.

The nine institutions that will benefit from this initiative are Amoud University (Borama), University of Hargeysa, the Civil Service Institute (Hargeysa), University of Burao, Puntland Institute for Development Administration and Management - PIDAM (Bossaso), East Africa University (Bossaso), Puntland State University (Garowe), Mogadishu University and the Somali Institute for Management and Development – SIMAD (Mogadishu). As agreed in advance, University of Hargeysa received the shipment and is responsible for onward distribution to the other institutions. The shipment also includes some hospital supplies for Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Hargeysa donated by Australian Doctors for Africa, who had recently visited the hospital.

The President of University of Hargeysa, Prof. Abdi Haybe Ilmi said: “We are grateful to the good people in Perth who responded to this appeal and UNDP for facilitating the shipment of learning materials. This will go a long way in improving access to ideas and knowledge that our students need to be global citizens. It has also been an excellent way for the academic institutions here to work together and build stronger links.”

The six Somali universities mentioned offer education, business/public administration, computer science, engineering, law, medicine and social sciences. Amoud and Mogadishu Universities also have agriculture faculties.

“Curtin already has distance learning partnerships with universities in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, and this was a way to develop a relationship with Somalis,” said CBS coordinator of the UniAid Somalia initiative, Dr Victor Egan. “It is our intention to develop this further, and see how we can do our part in bridging the global knowledge gap.”

To ensure usability, the donated books are predominantly post-1990 publications. They cover the disciplines of business, computer science, humanities (history and social sciences), nursing, law, biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, education, medicine and engineering.

The online distance learning project is sponsored by the UNDP under the World Bank LICUS initiative.

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