Philip Alabi is a Nigerian who graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and is filling shelves in African universities with much-needed textbooks donated by faculty and students around the world.
The initiative he set up is called Efiwe, which is the Yoruba word for “bookworm." Philip Alabi’s fervor for equipping West African post-secondary students with badly-needed textbooks and related resources led to the formation of this wonderful organization.
The story goes that when Alabi first arrived in the US to begin his Master of Science in chemistry at SIUE, he saw that university-level textbooks were more affordable compared to Nigeria.
He also saw stacks of still-relevant textbooks in good condition that were being discarded.
He said: “Even for university instructors, textbooks and relevant resource materials are extremely expensive and difficult to come by in West Africa.
“In the US, there’s the university bookstore, online academic resources and online vendors such as Amazon.com through which students can access the latest versions of textbooks required for their university courses.
"Sadly, this is not the situation in Nigeria, even at the university level. Hard-copy books for courses are typically outdated and there are not enough to go around. If they are attainable, it is generally only the instructors who have a copy of the text, not the students.
“Our aim through Efiwe is to collect relevant textbooks across U.S. colleges and universities and send the books to university and community college libraries in Western Africa.
"Our organizational mission is to send more than one million textbooks to African universities by the year 2030.”
Alabi who will pursue a doctorate degree in chemistry from Brown University in August, said:
“We thought maybe we’d receive a couple hundred donated textbooks at our initial book drop-off sites on campus at SIUE.
“That initial donation topped 1,000 textbooks in only la few months. We also raised funds to pay for the cost of transporting the books by ship to my home university, Tai Solarin University of Education in Nigeria.
"We are absolutely confident that we can continue the momentum and tap into the generosity of teachers and learners in the U.S.”
Jasiliu Kadiri the Tai Solarin Deputy University Librarian said the donated textbooks would add value to teaching, learning and research work at the university.
“We acknowledge with profound thanks the receipt of these volumes of books covering various fields including general and pure sciences, education, social sciences and children’s books.
"We encourage individuals and student associations at community colleges, technical colleges and universities across the Midwestern states to designate a location on their campus as an Efiwe textbook drop-off site.
“We are also widely seeking book drive volunteers who will be responsible for the collection of books in their respective campuses and communities.”
Legit.ng earlier reported that students of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi have been going through hard times.
The school is said to be experiencing shortage of water supply causing the students to take to social media to voice out their concerns.
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The ladies even have to go as far as fetching water from the boy's hostel just to take care of their needs.
Watch this Legit.ng video about students in Nigeria: