EKTTS was established in 2002 with the mission of mobilizing resources from overseas, local organizations and individuals for transferring knowledge and technology to bring about meaningful and sizeable impact predominantly on the economic development of Ethiopia in order to catch up with the fast growing economies in the world. EKTTS is a non-profit indigenous NGO registered (0618) as an Ethiopian Residents Charity under Proclamation No. 113/2011. The General Assembly of EKTTS is the supreme body responsible for providing policy guidelines, the Executive Board made up of 7-9 elected persons for a period of 2 years and for a maximum of 2 periods, and the Secretariat made up of the General Manager and technical staff. The secretariat is a group of technical experts hired by the Executive Board.
EKTTS works with partner organizations worldwide to tackle critical problems of shortage of books and computers, along with competent librarians,to help particularly the rural people lift themselves out of hunger for knowledge and technology. Basically, to date EKTTS has successfully implemented various projects in all regions and two city governments of Ethiopia. It developed an extensive network of collaborative partnerships with national and regional governments of the country, especially the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ministry of Education, Regional Education Bureaus, regional bureaus of culture and tourism, and national CSOs including CCRDA, Tigray Development Association (TDA), Amhara Development Association (ADA), Oromia Development Association (ODA), Hope Ethiopia, and international organization and donors such as BFA,BAI, US embassy, Text Books For Change(Canada),Creative Associates &EDC as well as public and private higher educational institutions including government universities.
EKTTS has identified five sector areas as its main areas of intervention. Accordingly the organization has initiated and successfully implemented a number of projects in each of these programs during the past 18 years of which the ‘Education Support Program’ is the biggest and by far the most impactful of all in terms of area coverage, number of beneficiaries, resources and allocated. As part of this project EKTTS mobilized and distributed more than 3,500,000 (three million five hundred) books to both private and state run primary and secondary schools colleges and universities, donated more than 1,000,000 medical books for state owned and private medical schools as well as hospital libraries, mobilized and distributed more than 16,000 computers for libraries, donated millions of digital E-books for colleges, universities and public libraries throughout Ethiopia. In addition EKTTS organized 37 digital public libraries in Assosa, Bahir Dar, Harrar, Dire Dawa, Jimma, Mekele, Semara, Debre, Tabor, Addis Ababa, Debre Berhan, Adama, Gambella, Dilla, Wolkite, Arba Minch, Wolaita, Werabe, Alaba, Bonga, Tepi, Jinka, Hawassa 2, Debremarkos, Desse,Woldya Degahabur, Kebridahr, Gode, Jigiga, Borena, Ambo, Asela, Axum, Adigrat, Shire, Nekemt, Adwa, and Hosana tow
Historical Background and Formation of the Organization
The idea was initiated by two old-time friends, Berhane Abate, a civil engineer and Syioum Gebeyehou, an electrical engineer and Ethiopian American. EKTTS was first formed in the State of California (USA) in on July 2001 as a Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It was soon re-established in February 26, 2002 in Addis Ababa as a non-profit local NGO under as an indigenous NGO under the Provision of Civil Code of Ethiopia of 1960 and the Association Registration Regulations Legal Notice # 321 of 1966.
The objective was to organize and coordinate knowledge and technology support from national and international organizations overseas in support of its development endeavors. This was a time when the new EPRDF Government launched a National Rehabilitation and Reconstruction program to recover from the economic crisis following the 17 years of military regime.
Knowledge and technology transfer as a concept is a recent development that has been gaining increasing popularity in recent years. Today, the subject has become an important point of discussion in major international, regional and national forums and among experts, scholars and politicians all over the world.
Knowledge and/or technology transfer is often discussed in association with brain drain and third world developing countries but it has also become a matter of interest to the developed nations as well as they are the main beneficiaries of brain drain.
Factors Facilitating Rapid Knowledge and Technology Transfer
The world is shrinking into a small village of nations and peoples thanks to development witnessed in communication technology.
Unlike the conventional methods of education and training, modern knowledge and/or technology transfer connotes the use of much easier, faster, inexpensive but effective ways and means of receiving, giving and sharing new ideas, know-how’s, experiences and technologies between and among nations, organizations, groups and individuals.
Ethiopia has been one of the victims of brain drain in the African continent with over 1.5 million people (40% of which are considered knowledge workers) living in the industrial countries.
Continued drainage of the limited human power resource for such an extended period of time has created huge deficit of qualified manpower in the country retarding national economic and social development.
There has been growing interest among the government and in the diaspora in recent years to work together and collaborate in national development. The government has taking a number of important policy measures to make the come back of the Diasporas very easy and attractive.
As an organization, EKTTS has tried over the years to establish contact and engage the diaspora in the knowledge and technology transfer initiative. The outcome of such efforts has been generally encouraging although much more remains to be done in terms of identifying how, where and how diaspora organizations could be located and where they can fit in the national development agenda. Thanks to the combined efforts of the media, press and organizations like EKTTS, who took the lead in trying to create a network with the diaspora and initiated the idea “Knowledge and Technology Transfer Initiative”, the two have become major issues of discussion. The number of national NGOs working on Diaspora issues has been on the rise over the past few years.