Volunteer educational trip to Somaliland

Somaliland is a country recovering from two decades of civil war; this has significantly impacted on the healthcare system and higher education in the country. Education in Somaliland is regarded as a privilege and therefore, it is not something that is taken for granted. Both men and women are equally encouraged to educate themselves and develop their knowledge and understanding in various disciplines including healthcare.

Volunteering here can be rather challenging mainly due to the lack of security. Often, volunteers have to adhere to strict curfew in some regions. I did, however; feel somewhat safe as a Somaliland Diaspora.

I spent three weeks teaching in Hargeisa [Capital] and Borama. I taught sexual health and screening, record keeping and documentation as well as time management. Students found my teaching materials and activities “exciting” and “different” as expressed in feedback forms completed. I tried to engage them using various teaching styles. One of the things I taught students was how to employ critical thinking to their practice. I wanted them to think outside the box and to effectively link theory to practice. I also gave students an insight into Forensic Medicine. This session went down very well. Students were taught how to care for victims of rape and sexual assault, how to assess a victim, what immediate aftercare is needed and the importance of forensic medical examination as part of the evidence gathering process.

Most of the students I taught were women. Somaliland regards education as a right for both the sexes; ‘females have the same chance to gain a place a university as their male counterparts’. The classes I taught were full of bright and enthusiastic young women. These young women were outspoken and keen to make a difference to their communities.

Books2Africa provided essential teaching resources for my voluntary trip. I was given books, a poster and a camcorder to utilise. I made use of all the resources especially the Royal Marsden Manual book. I used this book in the clinical learning environment to support students in developing their practical skills. I wanted to improve standards and the students I taught were more than willing to participate and learn skills to enable this change.

As Books2Africa Somaliland Country Coordinator I hope to provide essential resources and motivate others to educate themselves and their communities in Somaliland.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates

A quick update about what Books2Africa is doing in response to these uncertain times caused by the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our top priority is the health and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and supporters. Key to this is following government recommendations closely. Thankfully no suspected cases of COVID-19 have been reported amongst our staff and volunteers. Our Processing Centre in Canterbury is still operational and well stocked with the enough books and resources to ship to Africa.

Please read our updates below on steps taken to minimise the risk to staff, volunteers and supporters.

  • Public Book Collections Suspended: Effective today, we are suspending our collection service for book donations by members of the public in the UK. Although this will affect our book donation numbers, it would reduce the workload on our paid staff who continue to work during this difficult period to ensure the charity remains operational. This will be reviewed at the end of Easter on 14th April 2020.

  • Warehouse Volunteering Suspended: Effective today, we are suspending all volunteering work at the Processing Centre in Canterbury. This means all our UK and International Volunteers are no longer allowed to come into the Canterbury site. Although this will affect our processing and sorting capacity, it makes it easier for us to enforce government advise on social distancing and minimise the risk to paid staff who continue to work normal hours, ensuring our charity shop remains operational and shipments to Africa are dispatched. This will be reviewed at the end of Easter on 14th April 2020.

  • Online Volunteering: During this suspension of warehouse volunteering, we will be assigning all our volunteers to our Education Team to work on a variety of fundraising tasks online. To this end, all our International Volunteers are required to attend an online Skype meeting with our Director of Education on Wednesday 25th March at 9:30 am. UK volunteers who would like to join in can also email [email protected] to indicate their interest in order to receive further instructions on joining the meeting.


Finally a word of encouragement – Do not be afraid, stay safe and continue to have faith that this will soon pass. 
  • The strictest hygiene standards are being followed at our Processing Centre, with hand sanitisers, disinfectant sprays, plastic gloves and posters reminding staff, volunteers and supporters to wash their hands regularly and wipe their work surfaces.


  • No contact deliveries: Couriers delivering boxes to the Processing Centre will no longer require you to sign by hand on delivery. Rather, they are advised to enter your initials.


  • Drop-offs and tours suspended: From next week, drop-off appointments by members of the public will be suspended until further notice. Until then, staff and volunteers are advised to receive deliveries without contact and avoid giving members of the public tours of the Processing Centre.


We appreciate your understanding as the situation evolves and reassure you that we will take necessary steps to ensure your safety whilst trying to also fulfil our charitable objectives. If you need any support or advice, you can send us an email [email protected]

Thank you for your continued support and do subscribe to our coronavirus updates if you want to be remain updated.
Books2Africa UK Team

Shipping and delivering 1 million books every year
involves the following:

  • 20,000 books fit in 1 x 20ft container
  • 1,000,000 books fit in 50 x 20ft containers
  • 4 x 20ft containers shipped monthly
  • £5,000 to process, ship and clear each container of 20,000 books
  • £20,000 delivers 4 containers monthly
Fundraising Target
  • 2,000 individuals giving £10 or more monthly, or 50 corporate partners sponsoring 1 container per year. Thank you.


Processing in the UK


Freight from the UK


Clearing and haulage in Africa

Books2Africa is a UK registered charity number 1152599