Friends of African VIllage Libraries Nov 2013 newsletter
Friends of African Village Libraries Newsletter
Popular Book Series Enlivens FAVL Libraries
The 6-volume series of the best-selling
graphic novel Aya of Yopougon, written
by Marguerite Abouet (from Ivory
Coast) and illustrated by Clément
Oubrerie, has drawn an enthusiastic
response from readers throughout West
Africa. The books have been highly
popular among FAVL readers and librarians.
Thanks to the generosity of numerous
donors, FAVL raised $1500 to purchase
a complete set of the books for each of
the thirteen libraries in Burkina Faso.
Generous donors have enabled FAVL
to establish and continuously manage 18
libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda. FAVL also supports
the Uganda Community Library Association, with 64 member libraries.
Current fundraising priorities:
Building an endowment for each of the
FAVL-managed community libraries
Renewing stock of locally-purchased
books by African authors
Producing more micro-books in local
languages and each country’s language
of instruction to encourage a culture of
Friends of African Village Libraries is a
501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit.
West Africa Director
Associate Professor of Economics
Santa Clara University
East Africa Director
Professor of English
City University of New York
The series depicts the daily life of Aya,
a compassionate, opinionated and ambitious young woman who prefers to
study at home rather than go out partying with her girlfriends.
Recently, a new movie based on the
books was screened in Burkina’s
capital city, Ouagadougou. FAVL took
the opportunity to hold a mini workshop
with a group of FAVL librarians. They
collaboratively drafted a guide for librarians to lead discussion groups.
The FAVL-Burkina librarians have
been promoting the books and hosting
discussion groups with village teens.
Many teens reflected on how they might
make better choices, in order to avoid
some of the challenging situations that
Aya's friends find themselves in.
Souleymane Tingueri (above right), FAVL’s
newest Librarian at Kiembara, writes in his review that many of the problems woven into the
plot are caused by poor communication between
young people and their parents. He believes that
this book can be a catalyst for greater awareness
and more open dialogue.
Alou Koundaba (at right), FAVL Librarian in
Béléhédé concludes his own review with these
words: Dear readers, reading this book enables
you to make behavior changes and a better tomorrow. Thank you to GlobalGiving for the Aya
de Yopougon books!
Address: P.O. Box 90533, San Jose, CA 95109-3533 website: www.favl.org email: email@example.com
Project Transforms Twenty Libraries in Uganda
From Kate Parry, FAVL Co-Director for East Africa and
the Director of UgCLA, FAVL’s partner organization in
Since 2011, the Uganda Community Libraries Association
(UgCLA) has been collaborating with the British charity
Book Aid International in a project called “Transforming
Community Libraries.” Each of the twenty participating
libraries received several hundred books and an award of
1000 British pounds. UgCLA’s role was to select the libraries through a proposal-writing competition, train the librarians on how to use and account for the money, and carry out
field visits to make sure that the grants are used responsibly.
In each of the twenty libraries, the effects have been truly
transformative. Some highlights: The Six Community Library at Busia, which started as virtually nothing, has become a building well-stocked with books; the shabby little
room used by the Christian Community Foundation at Bududa is now a furnished, brightly-painted library full of activity; the Busolwe Public Library’s new tent can accommodate children without disturbing older students who are looking for a quiet place to
study. All the librarians have gained experience and UgCLA’s capacity and prestige have been greatly enhanced.
Book Aid International is now seeking funds to set up children’s corners in 60 libraries in 60 countries, including Uganda. If that
project is funded, UgCLA will have the opportunity to work more closely with Uganda’s public library network and will receive
valuable training for its librarians. So wish Book Aid success in their fundraising!
Summer Reading Camps Celebrate 6 Years of Success
A total of 175 children participated with enthusiasm in the sixth edition of FAVL’s ever- popular reading camps at the libraries of
Béréba, Dimikuy, Koumbia, Pobé and Béléhédé. The campers spent a week immersed in reading activities, games and art projects.
One of the many benefits is that improving reading and writing skills helps the students succeed in the upcoming middle-school
entrance exam, which determines whether they will be able to continue with their education.
The librarians ran the camps for the first time this year. To prepare them for this challenge, the Regional Coordinator and the Regional Activities Facilitator, Dounko
Sanou and Alidou Boué, organized a “training camp” where each librarian led sessions under their close supervision. The librarians definitely stepped up as camp coordinators, and Dounko and Alidou noticed a remarkable difference in their selfassurance and skills.
Big thanks to former Peace Corps volunteers Emilie Crofton and Alison Wallace, and
also Lynn Dunn, who helped fund the reading camps. Alison and Lynn created the
“Love of Learning” scholarship program for 20 high school girls in Béréba and Dimikuy villages. The girls serve as library interns, working closely with the librarians to
organize regular activities for primary school children. As Reading Camp Assistants
(photo at left), they tutored the weakest readers and helped the kids create and perform skits about hand washing, HIV/AIDS and female circumcision.
Help us keep all of these programs going!
Read the easy and creative ideas on the green insert in this newsletter.
Ghana After-School Programs
Help Students Break Through Barriers
Kitengesa Library Awarded for
Innovative Work with Deaf Students
Teachers and librarians report that students in the After-School
programs at FAVL’s three community libraries in Ghana are becoming much better readers and devoted library users. Some have
even been inspired to make different plans for their futures.
The “Innovation Award for Social Inclusion” from Electronic
Information for Libraries (EIFL) was awarded in April to the
Kitengesa Community Library in Uganda for its work with the
children at the neighboring Good Samaritan School for the Deaf.
The programs at Sumbrungu, Gowrie-Kunkua and Sherigu are
funded by the Chen-Yet Sen Family Foundation based in Hong
Kong. Fifteen primary and junior high students at each library
worked with a teacher and librarian four afternoons a week for a
full month, reading together and doing skill-building activities
targeted to their needs, as well as a variety of fun and challenging
word games. The program will last eight months.
The award included a grant of $1500, which the library used to
buy Sign Language Dictionaries, host a sign language workshop
for parents of the deaf students, and initiate a Library Scholarship for one student from the Good Samaritan School for the
Deaf. The deaf Library Scholar will help run the library’s sign
language club (which already has 20 members!) and will join
the team of other Library Scholars from the nearby secondary
school whose tasks
include helping keep
the library clean and
The Coordinator of FAVL’s Ghana libraries, Cletus Yine, said,
"At first, some of the kids were shy and afraid to read in front of
their fellow students, but now most of them can stand boldly in
front of the group and read aloud without fear.”
The Good Samaritan
students are now
frequent library visitors. At right: two
deaf students reading
a poem painted on
the library wall.
Newest Library Opens in Kiembara
The Jackie Quesada-Kiembara Village Library in Burkina Faso
opened its doors to the community in September. What once
was an abandoned building with a leaky roof has been revitalized into an attractive, welcoming reading space. A courtyard
with a tin roof provides much-needed shade for outdoor reading
Pictured above are Rejoice Salifu and Blessing Atiah Atampoka,
in the after-school program in Gowrie.
Blessing says she’d never visited the library because she feared
she’d be kicked out for not knowing how to use the materials.
Relieved to discover that the librarian is in fact very helpful, and
newly confident in her skills, she continues to be a regular visitor
even after completing the program.
Rejoice reports that her favorite book during the program was
Folaké and Her Four Brothers, about a young girl who dreams of
going to the university. She admires Foulaké’s determination to
pursue her education before marriage, and to get a job so she
won’t have to depend on her husband for everything.
Both girls say that they’re now planning to have careers as English teachers when they grow up.
The library was brought to life through the united efforts of the
community of Kiembara and the generosity of the family and
friends of Jackie Quesada, a Peace Corps volunteer in Kiembara
from 2006 to 2008. When she suddenly passed away in 2012,
her family wanted to honor her memory and her love for the
people of Kiembara. They made a proposal to FAVL, and organized efforts to raise $15,000 for the building renovation, purchase of books and furniture, and provide a 5-year
The new librarian, Souleymane Tingueri (at right)
traveled to Dohoun for a
two-week training with
FAVL librarians. Very impressed
with FAVL’s approach
and training, Souleymane
says, “I take my hat off to
FAVL and its donors, in
great appreciation for the experience this gives me.”
Friends of African Village Libraries
P.O. Box 90533
San Jose, CA 95109-3533
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
The graphic novel series
Aya of Yopougon has taken
West Africa by storm! The
six-volume set is now in
all thirteen FAVL libraries
in Burkina Faso — to the
delight of teen and adult
readers alike, including
this secondary school
reader at the Dimikuy
Author Marguerite Abouet
and illustrator Clément
Oubrerie recently visited
Ouagadougou, and met
with FAVL librarians.
SAN JOSE, CA
PERMIT NO. 1014