Freed Africans from the United States of America (US) founded Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic, in 1847. The country has modeled its system of government, education and finance after that of the US. Since its establishment, Liberia and the US have maintained a very close relationship. There exists a long history of collaboration between educational, religious, civic, and social organizations from within both countries.
The West African nation of Liberia has recently emerged from fourteen years of civil conflict (1989-2003). During the conflict more than 95% of the country’s infrastructure—clinics, hospitals and schools were damaged or destroyed. As a direct result, Oxfam International estimates that at the end of the country’s civil crisis Liberia had an illiteracy rate of 90% among women and more than 75% among men. Oxfam International estimated that more than 80% of Liberia’s 3.6 million people live on less than $1 a day.
In 2005, the people of Liberia went to the polls in the largest numbers in the country’s recent history. Liberians shattered the ceiling on gender equality in Africa by electing Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, as Africa's first elected female head of state. Her election marked a renewed focus on the development of Liberia's ruined education infrastructure and a commitment to achieving the United Nations Development Goals.
The Liberian Literacy Foundation was established to respond directly to the need for educational resources in Liberia. The Detroit, Michigan based Liberian Literacy Foundation partners with organizations throughout the world in the singular mission of supporting literacy in Liberia.
As an immediate address to the need for educational resources in Liberia, the Liberian Literacy Foundation has developed the Liberian Books Project to collect 1.2 million donated used college textbooks to build 1,200 literacy centers in Liberia and educate 1.8 million people. The project’s goals are achieved by partnering with US colleges and universities to collect 1,000 used college textbooks on each campus in support of a partner school in Liberia.
The Liberian Books Project is a sustainable development project for Liberia. Under the project, the programs of recycling books, building libraries, providing educational resources, and delivering renewable energy to Liberia are synchronized into one cohesive effort of sustainable support for Liberian schools.
The Liberian Literacy Foundation adopts the goals of the United Nations Development Challenge of 2030 and seeks to support the accomplishment of these goals in Liberia by creating 1,200 scholarships, supporting 1,200 literacy centers and providing renewable electricity to schools in Liberia by 2030.