Friday 07 December 2018

 The British Council has scored a number of ‘Goals’ over the years in Ethiopia in the areas of Education, Arts, Society and English and Exams.

One of the most fruitful partnerships over the years was the one with the Ministry of Education. For the entire 76 years of the British Council's existence in Ethiopia, we have been actively working to increase the quality of education in the country. We established and managed of the General Wingate school, which was a Centre of Excellence, from 1946–1977, provided a School’s Television programme and supplied lecturers to Haile Selassie I University, set up the first ICT centre and used multimedia, such as 13 mm films, projectors, audio cassettes, and the likes, for educational purposes. 

Some other achievements include:

  • We also organised plays, films and musical events that saw the attendance of both Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians
  • We formed the Anglo-Ethiopian Club
  • We established and ran a library in Addis Ababa which was a popular point of contact with the public until it closed 8 years ago
  •  We established a very strong Society wing, especially after the fall of the military dictatorship in 1991. One such programme, Civil Society Support Programme phase I, which ran from 2012-2017, reached 3.2 million people and supported close to 600 NGOs. Some commented that it saved the NGO sector in the country
  • We are and we’ve been providing IELTS and other exam services in three centres in Ethiopia for the past 15 years
  •  We are operating the best English Teaching Centre in the country.

But it would be crazy to try to summarise our 76 years of achievements in just one page especially as there are so many golden nuggets in the history books that can fill, exaggerating a bit, an encyclopedia.

But let’s add four notable accomplishments before closing off today.

Upon the request of Emperor Hailesellasie, we engaged a famous architect, D.H. Matthews, to restore Debra Damo Monastery.

The General Wingate school, during the 31 years that we ran the school, nurtured so many famous personalities. The list includes

- The late PM, Meles Zenawi

- The late Bealu Girma

- The late Tsegaye Gebremedhin

- Dr. Aklilu Lemma (found the cure for Bilharzia)

Speaking of famous personalities, one of our staff members, some years back, met former President Girma Woldegiorgis who told him that his first job was as a translator in the British Council.

Even though we can’t provide any evidence, it’s claimed by our former colleagues, that we established the first internet Café in the country.

This is enough for this episode. But we will browse through our history books and provide you with other interesting stories and achievements in the next e-newsletter.