Ethiopian Section of IBBY

Open Hearts Big Dreams Fund

Akaki Kaliti Sub City 498/10

P.O. Box 8327

8327 Addis Ababa

Tel. [+251] 965 696 969 / [+251] 911 227 650



Facebook: IBBY Ethiopia


Liaison Officers

Yoseph Ayelew


(address of the section)


Alex Regassa


(address of the section)


Ellenore Angelidis


(address of the section)


Bookbird Correspondent

Ellenore Angelidis


(address of the section)


IBBY Ethiopia is a new National Section which joined in July 2023.

Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country. Literacy is only realized by around half of the population (less for women and girls), leaving tens of millions without this critical ability. Recent nationwide literacy tests show few students are learning to read well in any language. In Ethiopia, 70-90 first languages are spoken, and there is a lack of quality culturally-appropriate children and youth books in the local languages. The median age in Ethiopia is under 20 with only a small percentage of the youth getting to pursue higher education. Ethiopia has made great strides toward educational goals but still struggles with adequate teacher training and getting materials into the hands of students.

The challenge is significant, but so is the opportunity. When Jane Kurtz won the IBBY-iRead Outstanding Reading Promoter Award because of her work as the creative lead for Open Hearts Big Dreams (OHBD) and decades of work supporting reading in Ethiopia, it became clear that Ethiopia could benefit from having a national chapter of IBBY.  Ellenore Angelidis, who founded OHBD, discussed the possibility with Ethiopian team members, and there was enthusiastic support.

The Ethiopian National Section will build on the limited but growing activities focused on increasing access to quality books and creating a love of reading. It has a long history of oral story telling but limited children’s book publishing given economic and other challenges. Sharing quality books from Ethiopia will benefit both the children of Ethiopia as well as the children of the world.

IBBY Ethiopia’s mission and objectives are to support:

  • creating a reading and writing culture in Ethiopia;
  • promoting Ethiopian children’s and youth literature in Ethiopia and internationally;
  • reading projects to increase Ethiopian children and youth’s access to quality books and to develop a love of reading;
  • distributing quality books to children across Ethiopia;
  • increasing the number of quality children and youth books and languages available in Ethiopia;
  • creating an economic model with authors, illustrators, and educators to support quality book creation and distribution.

Main projects

OHBD has created and published over 160 unique titles, in 20 languages so far, and printed and distributed directly or through license agreements over 350,000 copies in seven – and soon to be 10 – languages across Ethiopia.  There is a new read aloud weekly program at the national library in the capital, as well as writers’ workshops for writers and illustrators.  OHBD hosted writing workshops to increase the knowledge concerning the creation of quality books. Organizations in Southern Ethiopia are working on reading rooms using OHBD books.

OHBD Bilingual Books featuring Ethiopian stories and languages

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