Students in the poorest countries of the world do not own laptops, have limited access to books, and often have to take turns reading assigned content at the library.

A map of the 39 Country Initiative's locations around the world

The 39 Country Initiative makes educational materials more accessible in the least developed countries (photo credit: Ivey Business School)

Advancing its role as a global citizen, Michigan State University has partnered with the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to donate gently used educational material as part of the 39 Country Initiative.

“Instructors often find themselves having to assign significantly dated reference material, because the newer version of the book is simply not available at the library for the students to use,” says Tunga Kiyak, managing director at the Academy of International Business in the Eli Broad College of Business.

The Ivey Business School at Western University in Ontario started the 39 Country Initiative to make educational materials more accessible to 39 of the least developed countries in the world. These are countries with per capita GDP of less than $2,000 a year.

Ivey’s initiative sparked a campaign, which establishes “collection nodes” at universities around the world. These nodes include collections for textbooks, school supplies, and other materials to send to partnering universities in these 39 countries.

Broad is calling on all Spartans to join the cause and help African students receive a better education. Each department in the Broad College has a collection box labeled “collection point,” where students, faculty, and staff can donate unwanted business-related textbooks, journals, course packs, and case studies that are no more than 10 years old and still in reasonable condition.

“Our hope is that with this effort, we are able to have a tangible impact on the quality of education at African universities,” says Kiyak.