Favl annual report 2010 v2
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  • 1. Friends of African Village Libraries Annual Report, 2010 Friends of African Village Libraries P.O. Box 90533 San Jose, CA 95109 www.favl.org Contact Person: Michael Kevane Director for West Africa 408-554-6888 (work) mkevane@scu.edu Studentsin Sumbrungu participate in group reading during Summer Reading Camps funded byChen Yat-Sen Foundation, August 2010.
  • 2. IntroductionFriends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) had a successful year in 2010. Generous donorsenabled FAVL to support fifteen libraries in Burkina Faso (10), Ghana (3), Tanzania (1), andUganda (1). FAVL also continued to support the Uganda Community Library Association,which added 28 members and totaled 72 members at the end of 2010. UgCLA implemented achildren’s book distribution program and training workshop with funds from Pockets of Change.FAVL inaugurated two new libraries in Burkina Faso, in Pobe-Mengao and in Bougounam,.Summer reading camps were implemented in the libraries of northern Ghana thanks to a grantfrom the Chen Yat-Sen Foundation. Liisle, Inc. supported reading camps in Burkina Faso insummer 2010. FAVL implemented the second year of the Santa Clara University Reading WestAfrica study abroad program that brought nine university students to Burkina Faso for fourmonths in fall of 2010. The 2009 and 2010 cohorts of the RWA program have published 55micro-books that combine text and photography to produce engaging reading material for villagereaders.The continuing fundraising priorities of FAVL include: build an endowment for each of theFAVL-managed community libraries; host summer reading camps in each library; produce moremicro-books in local languages and language of school instruction; and continue to build staffcapacity for expansion.This annual report is organized by country. Each section contains information about activities ineach country. Appendix 1 provides general information about FAVL. Appendix 2 providesbreakdowns of visits and look borrowing in the Burkina Faso libraries. Appendix 3 provides anoverall income and expense report for FAVL.Burkina FasoThe philosophy of the Burkina Faso team is to promote equal social development by givingchildren and students from disadvantaged rural areas the opportunity to learn via village libraries.We strive to make these libraries sustainable through the villagers’ involvement in librarycommittees and the work of our regional supervisors who ensure the proper management andfunctioning of the libraries. Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) was recognized inBurkina Faso under Order No. 2007-13/MATD/SG/DGLPAP/DOASOC on February 15, 2007.Always concerned about the quality of library service, FAVL makes every effort to ensure thatthe libraries function as needed and provide the service for which they were created: to makeavailable a quality of books managed by a regularly trained librarian. Activities are typically heldonce or twice a week during which the librarian runs various educational and recreationalactivities with children, individually or in small groups. The activities can range anywhere fromstorytelling and peer tutoring to singing songs and arts and crafts.Gender is often taken into consideration when we conduct activities in the FAVL libraries. Insome of our libraries like Dimikuy and Boni—both built with the focus of encouraging the 2
  • 3. education of young girls in village—discussions are held and activities are organized with younggirls and women. These are done in order to encourage young girls to study and continue theireducation and the women to participate whole-heartedly in their child’s education and beinvolved in their communities. Discussion are typically held on topics such as reproductivehealth, family planning, HIV / AIDS, hygiene, nutrition etc.. Sometimes the discussions are ledby specialized agents including nurses or teachers.Monthly meetings are held the first Thursday of each month and consist of open discussionsbetween FAVL’s managing staff and the FAVL librarians. The discussions address all issues andconcerns regarding proper library function. These meetings have also become a platform toexchange experiences and to hold trainings via small workshop, particularly ones focusing onleadership skills and library management. At times FAVL meetings include professionals liketeachers or health workers, who come to share their knowledge and answer questions relating totheir area of expertise. With the opening of the Pobé-Mengao library in April 2010, FAVL’s library network has spread to northern Burkina Faso. We therefore had to find a way to involve librarians from up north in the monthly meetings. The decision was made to hold meetings, at least one per trimester, up north with the librarians in order to encourage collaboration and keep them updated on FAVL activities. The first meeting took place at the CELPAC in Ouahigouya on October 25, 2010. During the year 2010, two new libraries were created in the villages of Pobé-Mengao and Bougounam. Both libraries were initiated by Peace Corps volunteers with technical support from FAVL and the help of the communities. The Pobé-Mengao library is FAVL’s first library project in northern Burkina Faso. The project was initiated by Emilie Crofton, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in the village. Emilie collaborated with FAVL for more than one year to ensure the establishment andproper function of the village library. The Pobé-Mengao library officially opened its doorsduring an opening ceremony on April 6, 2010. In attendance were all of Pobé’s administrativeauthorities, villagers, students and special guest Kathy Knowles, director of OSU Children’sLibrary Fund and author of several childrens books.Bougounam is a village located 25 kilometers from the city of Ouahigouya. The BougounamLibrary was initiated by Jen Lazuta, also a Peace Corps volunteer living in the village. Jenfinished her two year service but extended for a third year to continue living in the village and 3
  • 4. finish the projects she took to heart, including the library.The library is equipped with electricity, allowing it to remain open at night. This is the onlyFAVL library equipped with electricity other than solar. The Library officially opened onOctober 10, 2010. Village authorities, other Peace Corps volunteers and students from theReading West Africa program were all in attendance.FAVL also worked in 2010 to open the Béléhédé library, a project initiated by Charles Casler, aPeace Corps volunteer, who saw the urgency of establishing a library in the village. He iscurrently working with FAVL and the Béléhédé community to carry out the library project,which is planned to open in May, 2011.Libraries continued to see lots of visitors and borrowing of books. The summary statistics are inthe table below.Table: Summary Statistics of Libraries in Burkina Faso Library Number of Number of Library Visits Number of subscribers books checked books in out stock Béréba 196 3,477 13,858 2,156 Boni 133 980 8,094 992 Bougounam 131 495 3,016 756 Dimikuy 38 676 7,228 390 Dohoun 253 1,996 7,302 1,852 Karaba 211 3,143 6,230 1,387 Koumbia 95 512 7,653 986 Pobe-Mengao 249 1,558 8,408 734 Sara 79 975 4,871 1,852 TOTAL 1,385 13,812 66,660 11,105The year 2010 saw increased collaboration with Peace Corps.1 Two Peace Corps volunteersjoined the FAVL team in Burkina Faso. Charles Casler and Emilie Crofton began 2010-2011working as volunteers for FAVL in the main office in Ouagadougou. Three (3) libraries havebeen created with the initiatives and support of Peace Corps volunteers: The Pobé Mengao1 Collaboration between FAVL and Peace Corps volunteers began in 2008 with Meghan Coughlin, who at the timewas a volunteer in Niakorodougou and established a library in the village. Throughout 2009, numerous volunteerscame to the FAVL office to get information on establishing a village library. This led to the Peace Corps invitingMr. Elisée SARE, FAVL’s national coordinator in Burkina Faso, to make a presentation on FAVL and its activitiesat the Peace Corps Office on March 31st, 2009. 4
  • 5. Library, initiated by Emilie Crofton; the Library of Bougounam, initiated by Jen Lazuta and ayouth center established in the town of Leo, initiated by Casey Kean. And let’s not forget theBéléhédé Library, initiated by Charles Casler, hoping to open its doors in May 2011.FAVL is a nonprofit organization which functions not only on grants and donations but on thecommunities with FAVL libraries. We work with these communities in order to promotedevelopment and education by providing access to knowledge via libraries. In this sense, havingPeace Corps volunteers who know enough about the rural ommunities, having lived therethemselves for two years, is a major asset for us. Charley and Emilie’s collaboration beganimmediately as they actively and confidently participated in FAVL activities. Some of theprojects that Emilie and Charley have worked on:- Participated in Boni’s reading camp in September 2010- Assisted in the organization and participation of FILO- Participated in a project researching the impact of reading on primary school students, conducted in three FAVL libraries in the northern region of Ghana- Raised funds for FAVL’s upcoming 2011 reading camps- Created several FAVL projects now posted on Global Giving’s website- Created page presentations for FAVL’s libraries on the website in French and English.- Organized a fundraising event to raise funds in the local park in OuagadougouFAVL continued to organize summer reading camps. In 2010 these camps were funded by agenerous grant from Lisle, Inc. The camps were organized by FAVL staff, FAVL librarians andseveral primary school teachers. Students participating in the camps were chosen at random,given the limited number of spots available. Each camp occurred at the library and lasted oneweek. Camp facilitators organizedvarious activities organizedaround reading. Each childreceived breakfast, lunch and acamp tee-shirt. A number ofvolunteers helped out at differentreading camps. Emilie andCharley started their work atFAVL by helping run the summerreading camp in Boni. Studentsfrom the Reading West Africastudy abroad program also tookpart in running the reading campin Dimikuy. Their presence was agreat experience for both partiesand very beneficial in theorganization of future camps.The reading camps are highly anticipated events in villages with FAVL libraries. It is fair to saythat the summer reading camp is a library’s most important annual event. The year 2010 was nodifferent. The objectives of the camps are to provide a sound framework for reading and 5
  • 6. learning to students during their summer vacation.For the second consecutive year, FAVL collaborated with Santa Clara University in California toorganize a study abroad program for American students called Reading West Africa. Theprogram was held in Burkina Faso and the students undertook a number of activities in theFAVL libraries. Students in Reading West Africa stayed for a month in the villages of Béréba,Dimikuy, Sara and Dohoun andworked part of the time as assistantlibrarians. This allowed them tounderstand the basics of managinga library in village, to exchangeexperiences with the librarians andreaders and, most importantly, toorganize activities with thechildren.Each Reading West Africa studenthad to produce three books ofphotographs with simple text foryoung readers and newly literateadults. These books are verypopular in the FAVL libraries andour desire is to make the books available to the general public of Burkina Faso. Reading WestAfrica will continue every year, which means more and more books will be produced by thestudents. We want to work with authorities in charge of education to introduce and popularizethese books – which could greatly benefit students throughout Burkina Faso. FAVL was able tointroduce this concept at the International Book Fair of Ouagadougou, and present the books atour stand.This year, for the very first time, FAVL participated at the International Book Fair ofOuagadougou (FILO). It is an annual event that brings together all those involved in books andliterature. We participated in FILO for three major reasons. (1) FAVL has existed in BurkinaFaso for several years now. While the organization is fairly popular in rural areas and within theinstitutional spheres of Burkina, it is still unknown to much of the urban public. With ourparticipation at this year’s FILO, FAVL was able to present itself to the public as a major playerin Burkina Faso; from the multiple libraries established throughout Africa to our recent projectproducing culturally appropriate books for beginning readers. (2) FAVL, through the RWAprogram, published twenty (20) books which we wanted to present to Burkina’s general public.(3) FAVL wanted - for the first time – for all their librarians to get together to experience andparticipate in FILO.FILO theme for 2010 was "Introduction of Burkinabe Produced Literature in EducationalPrograms,” making this year’s FILO the ideal platform to introduce our edited and co-editedbooks. The books were created by Kathy Knowles, Chelsea Rangel and by students fromReading West Africa. The books deal with everyday life in rural Burkina Faso and are verysuitable for readers. FAVL’s long term goal is to have the books used in primary schools across 6
  • 7. the country.Our participation in FILO was a great opportunity for us to involve all FAVL librarians andlibrary affiliates. The new librarians from northern Burkina Faso were able to get acquaintedwith the older librarians from the western region. The librarians were also able to meet culturedindividuals including writers and storytellers and to participate in some of the activities that wereorganized. FAVL staff took advantage of having all FAVL librarians in one place and organizeda meeting, running several small workshops on library activities and management.FILO was a great success for us, as nearly 6,000 visitors passed through our stand and severalhundred people, including authorities, expressed much interest and wanted more information onour organization. The books made by Reading West Africa students were incredibly popular.They were only out for display but literally hundreds of people wanted to buy them and askedwhy more were not produced in order to sell.FAVL has a full agenda for 2011 in Burkina Faso. FAVL has plans to gradually surrender themanagement of its village libraries to the communities in which the libraries are located. Ourgoal is for communities to accept and integrate the library as part of a public service of themunicipality. This will require taking over the payment of the librarian’s salary, maintenance ofthe library building and minor operating expenses. FAVL’s role will be to oversee the librarians’work, to help increase the number of library books and support the continued training of thelibrarians. A training is planned for the mayors in May 2011, in order to introduce this idea anddiscuss methods of implementation for effective management of the libraries.Also programmed for 2011, a solar lamp project is a research study to be conducted amongstudents and readers at the FAVL libraries. The goal is to research the impact that having a solarlamp has on the reading habits and school work of students. The vast majority of villages withFAVL libraries do not have electricity. Families generally have a single kerosene lamp used forlighting and doing household chores at night. Students who wish to read or study at night mustbe patient and wait until the lamp is free. Researchers leading the project would like to know ifthe students improve their reading level and grades by having a solar lamp at their disposal.FAVL is committed to gender issues. Our organization decided to produce a book about the lifeof a professional working woman. The book titled “Professional Woman, I am a Mechanic” wascreated to encourage young girls to follow the profession of mechanics, which is stereotypicallymasculine. FAVL hopes to create a series on different type of professional women. The firstbook is expected to be published in 2011 and several copies will be distributed throughout theFAVL libraries.GhanaAn important accomplishment of 2010 was the Sherigu Library renovation. FAVL supportersmay recall that the previous Sherigu library was destroyed by a strong storm that blew off theroof of the building. The neighboring Catholic Church was kind enough to provide a temporaryfacilty, and then donated an older building to be renovated with a combination of FAVL funds,community funds, and support from the Municipal Assembly. In September 2010, the whole 7
  • 8. library (ie. books, shelves, etc) moved into the new building. The library committee and thecommunity members are very happy that finally the library has moved into the new structurewhich is said to be permanent place of the library.During the months of August and September 2010, FAVL hosted reading camps in Sumbrungu,Sherigu, and Gowrie-Kunkua libraries. Each village had three two-week camps, nine campstotal, with 20-27 5th form students participating in each. There were 200 participants in total.Funding for the camps was generously provided by the Chen Yat-Sen Foundation.The camps ran from Monday to Fridaybeginning at 8:00 am with breakfast andsigning in, and continued until 3:00 pmwith a pause for lunch. The camps weremanaged by a staff of four counselorswhich consisted of one teacher, thelibrarian for the local community library,one researcher and one coordinator.Camp staff organized all camp activitieswhich centered on improving students’reading abilities, stimulating inquisitivelearning and helping students to interactwith their peers in a productive manner.A locally hired food preparer, from eachvillage, prepared breakfast and lunch forthe students every day. All children were given a camp T-shirt. These were highly prized, as thedesign on the front of the shirt showed children reading and had a slogan about the importance ofreading.FAVL’s summer reading camps addressed a serious issue facing Ghana: extremely low levels ofliteracy, especially in rural areas. With a low literacy level and a school system that isovercrowded and understaffed, Ghana struggles to teach its children how to read. FAVL’s 2010reading camps enabled 200 school students to spend a week of their summer break practicing thereading skills that are not sufficiently nurtured at school. While educating the students was ofprimary importance, making sure the kids had fun was another important goal, in order to showthem that reading and writing are not just chores to be done at school but valuable skills that theywill be able to enjoy for life.Each camp was similarly run and consisted of numerous activities revolved around reading,writing, educational formations, verbal discussions, song, dance, arts and crafts, and games.Improving the reading and comprehension levels of students is one of the camps’ main goals;therefore, reading activities took up a large percentage of camp time. This included a core ofthree designated 45 minute reading periods per day and other reading enhancement activitiessuch as workshops, phonic exercises and reading games in between designated reading periods.In addition to reading and writing activities, numerous educational formations and discussionswere held, focusing on proper hygiene, malaria prevention, properly caring for the library and itsbooks, keeping latrines clean, succeeding in school and respecting others. The children actively 8
  • 9. participated and exchanged their thoughts and ideas with their peers. Creativity and imaginationare not reinforced by teachers in Ghana’s schools, so camp facilitators used arts and crafts tohelp develop these concepts. At the beginning, students would all draw the same things as theirpeers. However, as the camps progressed more and more of the students became comfortable andconfident to draw other things.With the money received from the Chen Yat-Sen Foundation, FAVL was also able to create acamp manual, reading camp workbooks and strategies for reading booklets for all campparticipants. These booklets were of great help to campers not only in improving their reading skills but helping them to track their progress throughout the camps. In addition, more than 250 books (150 by African authors from bookstores and suppliers in Accra) were purchased as reading materials for the students and then given to the FAVL libraries once the camps were over. The 2010 reading camps benefited from the help and experience of two volunteers from America. The volunteers showed the students and facilitators new activities and games, such as engaging reading activities, crossword puzzles, how to make and write a book from scratch, and creating paper necklaces. The volunteers sharedwith local teachers new techniques and learning tools for enhancing literacy learning in theclassroom. “Pupils and teachers have acquired accurate and required skills in reading, writing,listening and speaking,” said Felix, a teacher who helped at Sherigu’s camp. “Differentmethodologies were adopted in the reading program that helped intensify the student’sunderstanding and interest.”Unfortunately, Ghana’s already low literacy percentage drops even more at the village level.Overcrowded classrooms and a lack of resources make it difficult for teachers to work withstudents who are struggling to read and they therefore fall behind. This was evident at thecamps. The vast majority of the campers read at below average reading levels while others werecompletely illiterate. With a small camp size of 20 to 27 students, camp facilitators were able towork one on one with the students, working on each of their strengths and weaknesses. Thefacilitators and volunteers on-site said they witnessed firsthand improvements with the campers.They saw not only improvement in the reading levels of the campers but an increase inconfidence and self-esteem, especially among the young girls.This year’s presence of both Ghanaian and American camp facilitators had a positive impact on 9
  • 10. the camps. All parties benefited: the Ghanaian camp leaders learning new activities andtechniques and the Americans learning about an entirely different culture and way of life. Ofcourse, the greatest benefit was toward the campers, who were given an educational, fun anddiversified learning experience.A research study measuring the effect that different treatments have on reading behavior wascarried out by two FAVL volunteers throughout the course of the reading camps. To test this,they randomly assigned different reading treatments across camp days for each location andcamp order to see the impact they had on the students’ reading output during their in classreading periods and take home reading. They implemented two different treatments types; thefirst being what types of books encourage students to read and the second being what types ofreading activities encourage students to read. They measured the effect of these differenttreatments through recording the total number of books read per child per day controlling forpreviously established reading ability, book level, age and gender. The results of the study arecurrently being analyzed.The participation and discussion that occurred at the end of the camps gave many ideas ofimprovement for next year. One idea is to bring in literacy teachers to help reinforce the basicfoundations of reading. Ideas such as this would help further maximize the productivity,efficiency and improvement of reading levels of students at the camps.In other news, Gowrie – Kunkua library saw some active support by the community in 2010. Onthe 23rd on December, 2010 the youth which include the student of Gowrie – Kunkua came out ingreat numbers to clean the surrounding of the community library to show how much they loveand cherish the library in their community. This was witnessed by the Regional Coordinator whowas going for his usual visit and to his surprise met the community cleaning the library. Thecleaning last 2 hours and it include dusting of the books, shelves, clearing the surrounding etc.Community members sent a delegation to CESRUD Director and FAVL board members toexpress their sincere thanks to board for the establishing a library in the Gowrie – Kunkuacommunity and also organising a Reading Camp during the holidays for the kids. In theirappreciation a goat was given to the Director of CESRUD and two chickens for the RegionalCoordinator for the Christmas and New Year. They pledged their support, commitment, anddedication to FAVL and CESRUD board members.In Sumbrungu, during the Christmas holidays the students of Sumbrungu met to organize theirexecutive election and decided to elect the libraries’ Regional Coordinator as the president of theunion. His duties will among others be: linking up students to the library, Promoting ReadingCulture in the community etc. The Regional Coordinator, AMIKIYA ALIGIRE LUCAS whowas also a past student of Bolgatanga Polytechnic was awarded by the National Secretariat of theAssociation of HND Secretaryship and Management Student (AHSMAS) as the best president ofthe year. Amikiya Aligire Lucas who just completed Higher National Diploma in Secretaryshipand Management Studies was the president of the Bolgatanga Polytechnic Chapter of theAssociation. The award took place at Kumasi in the Asenti Region of Ghana.Amikiya Aligire Lucas also received a book donated by Ghana Library board through the UpperEast Regional Librarian. This was to show the concern the Ghana Library Board have for the 10
  • 11. community libraries in the Region. Lucas was trained by the regional librarian and has sinceworked closely with the librarian.A native of Sumbrungu who is the author of Sumbrungu Survival At All Costs, Mr. AyinibisahAyelah who also lives in United States was at home (Sumbrungu) and took time to visit theSumbrungu library. Ayinibisah was so happy about the effort made to establish a library in thecommunity. He spent some time visiting the library and checking the type of books the libraryhave. He visited the library the second time and donated one of his books to the library. Hepromised to give his support to the library.The Regional Coordinator also travelled to the Volta Region to train and solve some libraryproblems in the community library establish by Marilyn Deer in Jordan Nu.TanzaniaThe Chalula library, in Tanzania, has continued with a partnership with a non-governmentorganization named PEN (Poverty Eradication Network) Trust to help support the Chalulalibrary. The founders of PEN Trust, Andrea Wall and Mugwe ABC Athman have conductedmonthly supervision visits to Chalula. Daily visits to the library range between 20 and 30students. The librarians conduct a weekly story hour session, reading from popular children’sbooks.Uganda Community Library Association (UgCLA)The Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA) was offered a grant by Pockets ofChange for the purpose of (1) promoting children’s literacy in Uganda by making locallypurchased children’s books available through libraries, (2) developing the capacity of memberlibraries to initiate programs for children, and (3) assessing the effectiveness of such anapproach. The grant helped UgCLA to purchase and distribute a packet of 84 books to tendifferent libraries, to run three workshops about ways of using children’s books, and to makevisits to those libraries that applied for books as well as follow-up visits to most of the recipients.All the libraries that received books were asked to make an oral report of their activities in thefinal project workshop, and all were also asked to submit a written report.The first workshop was held on 26th-28th January 2010 at Kabubbu Conference Centre. There is awell established community library at Kabubbu that is a member of UgCLA, so sessions couldbe held in the library and reference made to the books. The workshop was comprised of six 90-minute sessions (two each morning and afternoon), while the final afternoon was devoted to theAnnual General Meeting.During the first session the participants had an opportunity to see and discuss the bookspurchased for the project. Five tables were set up with one of the sub-sets of books and afacilitator appointed by UgCLA at each one. The participants formed groups, which movedaround the tables answering the following questions on each sub-set of books: • Who, in the library setting, would find the books useful? • What could the librarians do to promote their use among the readers? 11
  • 12. • Which item would be discarded from the set, assuming one had to be, and why?The remaining sessions for that day were devoted to reading aloud. The participants watchedwhile an experienced children’s librarian and then an experienced teacher read to children ofdifferent ages and demonstrated ways of encouraging the children to engage with the story thatthey had heard. Then participants read to one another, using books from the set that UgCLA hadpurchased for the Project, and some of them demonstrated to the group as a whole. Finally,participants discussed ways of displaying books to encourage children to read them and of thekinds of program that could be organized in libraries such as reading clubs, reading competitions,and outreach activities which involve taking the books to the community.The first session of the following dayfocused on ways of getting adults involvedin reading with children. A representativefrom Ka Tutandike, an NGO that is closelyaffiliated to UgCLA, described its work ona literacy project called READ (Read EnjoyAnd Discover) with three schools inKampala district. The project involvessetting up READ committees in the schoolsand working with teachers, pupils and theparents to ensure an enabling environmentto improve the reading culture among thestakeholders. Then representatives of threemember libraries, Kabubbu CommunityLibrary, the Kitengesa Community Library near Masaka, and the URLCODA CommunityLibrary at Lokotoro in Arua District, made presentations on projects they had implemented. TheKabubbu library had produced a book comprised of stories that children collected from theirparents and then retold to the librarians, who wrote them down. At Kitengesa the local women’sgroup were learning about activities that they could carry out with their children, includingreading aloud from books that the women themselves translated from English into Luganda. TheURLCODA project was (and is) an intergenerational literacy program attended by generally non-literate adults and children who have had a little schooling but have dropped out of school. TheURLCODA librarians encourage people to come by providing a variety of games and havedeveloped techniques for encouraging the two age groups to exchange knowledge and skills.In the final working session participants received copies of the cover sheet that UgCLA haddevised for the proposals that they were invited to write for the Children’s Book Project. Theywere asked to consider the following questions: • Why does the community need these books? How will the community benefit from them? • How will the library use the books to ensure the community benefits? For instance, regular story time and programmes involving adults. • How will the librarian know that the community has benefited and has changed from having these books? 12
  • 13. It was pointed out that planning with the beneficiaries was important; perhaps the librarian couldorganize focus groups and develop programs in collaboration with them. One possibility wouldbe to take small childrens books and translate them into the local language. Participants weretold that numbers should be given, of library members, for example, and of expected programparticipants, and that methods of evaluating the proposed programs should be included.Workshop participants were told that proposals should be submitted by e-mail on or beforeFebruary 28. In the event, not enough proposals had been received by that date, so UgCLAextended the deadline to March 15. Sixteen proposals came in by then, of which UgCLAforwarded fourteen to Pockets of Change for evaluation; two were eliminated because they wereasking for books that were not actually on offer. Pockets of Change then chose ten libraries toreceive the books, namely: 1. Bugiri Community Library, Bugiri District 2. Bushikori Christian Centre, Mbale District 3. Busolwe Public Library, Butaleja District 4. Busongora Rural Information Centre , Kasese District 5. Gayaza Family Learning Resource Centre, Wakiso District 6. Kitengesa Community Library, Masaka District 7. Kyabutaika Community Library, Nakasongola District 8. Mpolyabigere RC RICED Centre, Namutumba District 9. Queen of Heaven Yumbe, Yumbe District 10. Suubi Community Library, Masaka DistrictAll these libraries, except for Bushikori and Queen of Heaven, had been visited by Kate Parry in2009. She visited Bushikori, together with other libraries in the Eastern Region, on April 20-21,2010, and although she was not able to visit Yumbe before the decision had to be made, she hadmet the leader of the women’s group that runs the library when she visited Arua District inJanuary. Thus UgCLA knew all the ten libraries and could confidently endorse Pockets ofChange’s selection.UgCLA planned to summon the winners to a meeting in April, but in March the US Embassyinvited the organization to nominate up to thirty people to attend a workshop that it itself wasorganizing in April on early childhood literacy. UgCLA decided therefore to nominate arepresentative from every library that had submitted a proposal (including one whose proposalhad arrived too late to be considered) and from a couple of libraries that had recently joined, aswell as individuals who had helped UgCLA by facilitating sessions on working with children.Arrangements were made with the Embassy personnel to announce the winners and distribute thebooks at the end of the day and the additional sets of books were purchased a few days before theworkshop date.The workshop was held at the US Embassy in Kampala on April 28 and was attended by some30 people, including a representative of each library listed above and of all but one of the otherlibraries that had submitted proposals. The facilitator was Valerie Wonder, a consultant andcommunity programming specialist for the Seattle Public Library. Ms Wonder corresponded 13
  • 14. with Kate Parry beforehand so was able to tailor her presentation to UgCLA’s needs. Shefocused on children’s experience before they attend school and emphasized the importance ofbasic activities such as naming, rhyming, telling stories, and playing with books. She gave plentyof opportunities for discussion, using children’s books that she had brought for the purpose.At the end of the workshop, Kate Parry explained how the winners of the Children’s BookProject packages had been selected and announced their names. The books were distributed andthe winners stayed behind for thirty minutes or so for a briefing on what information they wouldneed to keep track of and report on: activities organized, with stories and anecdotes related tothem, and numbers of participants, of general visits to the library, and of books borrowed whererelevant. The librarians were asked particularly to try to assess how things changed as a result ofthe books.Soon after this workshop, Kate Parry was able to visit the Bugiri and Mpolyabigere libraries, aswell as Kitengesa. In June she went to Yumbe, and in July she visited Busongora, Kitengesaagain, Suubi, Gayaza, and Kyabutaika. Visitors from the US visited Molyabigere and Bushikorion UgCLA’s behalf. UgCLA’s coordinator, Grace Musoke, is to visit these libraries andBusolwe as well but has not been able to do so before submission of this report; she has,however, had a meeting with the managers of Mpolyabigere and Busolwe.The second workshop that UgCLA itself organized took place again at Kabubbu on July 11-13.The first two sessions were devoted to reports by the representatives of the Children’s BookProject libraries on what they had done with the books. Then during the next two sessions theparticipants helped to address a deficit that UgCLA had identified when making the purchases:there are few picture books available in Uganda that are appropriate for rural African children.So on this occasion photographs of everyday scenes were provided and the participantssuggested how they could be used to make such books (the suggestions were geared to Uganda’snew thematic curriculum for primary schools so that the books might actually be saleable). Theparticipants also suggested captions to go with the photographs. The photographs and captionshave since been collated, edited, and put into powerpoint presentations, which will be sent toFountain Publishers for consideration.The following day, the librarians at Kabubbu made a presentation on how books, especiallyforeign ones that presented linguistic and cultural difficulties, could be made accessible toUgandan children. They demonstrated the supporting materials that could be made, such as wordcards and story summaries, and called on volunteers among the participants to perform a songand drama based on a story. Participants then discussed in groups the activities that they coulddevelop based on some of the CBP books. The final session of the workshop was spentdiscussing games, and everyone participated in more singing and dancing.Attendance at the workshops was good, with 36 participants at the first one at Kabubbu, 30 at theAmerican Embassy (to which not all UgCLA libraries were invited), and 57 at the secondKabubbu one. Participation in every case was enthusiastic: Valerie Wonder was particularlyimpressed by how well the UgCLA librarians compared with another group of workshopparticipants from NGOs and the Ministry for Education and Sports. Discussion at the twoKabubbu workshops was, if anything, even more lively since there was more group work built 14
  • 15. into the activities. That the workshops were appreciated is indicated by the high attendancefigures, even though all participants had to pay some of their own transport costs, as well as bythe increasing numbers of libraries seeking to join UgCLA (see below). There is clear evidence,too, that the participants took note of what they learned at the workshops and acted on it: twolibraries that Kate Parry visited after the first workshop showed her with pride how they weredisplaying books as suggested during the discussions, and after the second Kabubbu one severalcommented on how valuable the sessions by the Kabubbu librarians had been and howinteresting and inspiring they had found the reports on the Children’s Book Project. A couple oflibraries have also asked for materials on the Family Literacy Project that was described duringthe first workshop.As for the packet of books, all who saw the books were enthusiastic about them, especially aboutthe fact that, being purchased locally, they addressed local interests. When asked in the firstworkshop which should be discarded if necessary, they could not agree on any because, theysaid, all of them were good. There were certain books, however, that emerged as clear favoritesin the session when the participant libraries reported on their project activities: Cheche and Taka Go Away Boys Gum on the Gate How Friends Became Enemies It Has Never Happened Barack ObamaOf these, Cheche and Taka, Gum on the Gate, and How Friends Became Enemies are traditionalAfrican stories presented in English, Go Away Boys is a story about how three girls dealt with theboys who were troubling them, It Has Never Happened is a true story of a Ugandan’s experienceduring the regime of Idi Amin, and Barack Obama is a biography written for children of thepresent US President.The libraries that received CBP packets are different from one another and used the books indifferent ways, so it is necessary to report on each individually. The accounts below are based onthe observations made during visits, the oral reports presented during the July workshop, and thewritten reports that the participating libraries submitted.1. Bugiri Community Library This is a small library established little more than a year ago. Its premises consist of a shop front with a verandah outside, and for furniture it has only one small table, a bookshelf, two benches, and a couple of chairs. It had only about eighty books before the Children’s Book Project, so the project distribution has more than doubled its stock. As soon as the books arrived the library coordinator and the children themselves advertised their presence. The result was a rapid increase in the numbers of children visiting the library: whereas the average attendance before was fewer than twelve children each day, after the books arrived it was more than thirty. 15
  • 16. Children used the books only in the library. They read them on their own, choosing which they wanted; they read them aloud in organized sessions to the whole group; they translated them as they were being read aloud; and they discussed the pictures, naming the objects shown in English. Adults, however, were allowed to borrow the books so that they could take them home and read them with their children. Some adults are doing this regularly, but the coordinator’s report does not give numbers. Children, he claims, “love reading hence the reading culture has improved.” The challenges that the coordinator reports are, first, lack of space and limited seats, which they manage by using the verandah and providing mats for the children to sit on. They also need books in the local language, Lusoga, which is a real problem since not much is published in this language. The most serious challenge is that library lacks funds for staff salaries, so it is relying at present on voluntary labor; the coordinator himself administered this project, taking time from his small business in order to do so.2. Bushikori Christian Centre This is a much better established institution with a clinic, an administrative block, and a library, and there is a primary school called Joshua Primary School next door which is under the same management. The library is in one-room brick building with a corrugated iron roof. It is clean and brightly painted, thanks to the work of a series of US volunteers, including a Peace Corps volunteer who participated in the Children’s Book Project. It looks well stocked, but all the books that were there in mid April were donated from the United States, and though they include some children’s books that are popular, many of them are textbooks, reference books, and English classics that are not at all appropriate. The library also houses textbooks that belong to Joshua Primary School and at the time of this visit already had children from the school coming on a regular basis to listen to stories read aloud. The CBP books were the first that Bushikori had that were purchased in Uganda and intended for African children. They were well advertised by the library management, resulting in much greater interest in the library on the part of the center’s other staff. The director of the center is quoted as saying the books “are very important because the pupils can relate to the characters. These books will greatly support the reading culture we are trying to promote at BCC. I am sure that you will find adults also enjoying these children’s storybooks, for most of us have not seen books such as these. It’s really great.” Her prediction was borne out: many teachers working at the center took to coming to the library at break or lunch time to read the books. The librarian used the books initially for story time with the children from Joshua Primary School. The children responded enthusiastically and began coming to the library not only during the scheduled class period but also during their free time, to the extent that the librarian said she could hardly cope with the numbers. In addition, the librarian with the help of the Peace Corps volunteer initiated a Partner School Program by which they contacted fourteen nearby primary schools and invited them to become members of the library. Two have so far paid their membership fees and have been allocated times when they can send their children to the library. Once five schools have joined, the librarian and her assistant intend to organize a meeting to explain the benefits of library membership. 16
  • 17. They also organized activities based on reading for the children. The first was a “Mango Tree Challenge” that took place during May: 25 students in P4 to P6 were invited to come to the library to read on their own, and for each book that they read they got a “mango” on a paper tree that was posted on the library wall; the name of the one with the most mangoes was to be announced at the end of term and the student would receive a prize of a story book, a pen, and a journal. The second activity was a spelling bee planned for June 28 to July 3, in which 45 students from P4-6 participated. The winner in each class would also receive a prize at the end of the term. The CBP has had a dramatic impact at Bushikori. The first beneficiaries are the children at Joshua Primary School, the number of whom attending the library during their free time has increased from ten to 30-40 every week. The library’s report quotes a couple of children: Janet, who says, “I like coming to the library because the books are interesting and they are helping me understand words,” and Moses, who states, “I am happy that we have a library at school, because I can read books and learn new things. Before I did not like to read, but now I like it.” The key to this enthusiasm is that the CBP has provided books that the children can relate to. The project has also affected the Bushikori Christian Centre as a whole. According to the library’s report, it has “inspired the staff to be more creative and innovative in implementing activities … and … enabled us to change our prospective [sic] from one of deficiency to optimism.” Certainly, its effect on the librarian was evident when she reported on the project at Kabubbu; she was full of excitement and enthusiasm, whereas before the volunteers who worked with her had complained that she lacked initiative. Finally, the wider community is now taking a greater interest in the library: four new individual members have been recruited, besides the two schools already in the partnership program. Given the short time since they have received the books, it is evident that the staff of Bushikori Christian Centre have done remarkable things with them. The challenges that the library faces are directly related to this success. A major one is shortage of space, which the library hopes to address by raising funds to build an extension; and the librarian commented on the fact that it was difficult for her to handle the numbers of children now coming to the library in their free time. The “Mango Tree Challenge” did not work quite as well as hoped since children seemed to be more interested in getting mangoes than in actually reading the books, but the library staff are addressing that by asking children to sign up for the challenge and to present written reports on the books they read. It has proved a little difficult to recruit partnership schools: there were costs involved in travelling to the schools and printing out notices, so it was decided to ask for a subscription fee from each school of 10,000 shillings (about $5). Only two schools had paid up by the time Bushikori’s report was submitted, but, given the limitations on space and the librarian’s time, this slow acquisition of partners may be a benefit rather than otherwise.3. Busolwe Public Library The Busolwe library is older than most UgCLA member libraries, having been founded in the 1990s. It went through a long period of being little used, however, because it was staffed only by volunteers who were not able to keep it open regularly, nor did they initiate outreach programs. The library’s fortunes were turned round in 2008 when UgCLA negotiated a 17
  • 18. partnership for it with two libraries in Greater Vancouver. These libraries raised funds for the Busolwe one to employ a librarian, and he has been much helped in his work by volunteers from the University of British Columbia. Like other CBP libraries, the Busolwe library began by publicizing the books that it had received and then organized four sets of activities around them. First, it made arrangements with three neighboring primary schools to send children in P3 and P4 (equivalent of Grades 3 and 4) to the library for a scheduled story time lasting for 15 to 30 minutes. Teachers were involved in reading and discussing the stories, and any parents who might be interested were invited to participate, while the librarian and UBC volunteers helped by preparing story time planning sheets for the teachers to use. Second, story times were arranged on Fridays and Saturdays for children who were not yet in school. Third, the books were used for a school reading club that meets every Thursday and involves two secondary level institutions as partners; this club organized a competition on July 2 which, besides quizzes based on magazines already in the library and on textbook material, included speeches on books that the students had read. Fourth, the librarian worked with UBC volunteers at TASO (The AIDS Support Organization) in Mbale to provide counseling to students at its partner institutions, using the CBP books on HIV-AIDS. The project has resulted in greater interest in the library on the part of children. Previously about ten children would visit the library per day, but by July the number had increased to 25-30. Of these children, the majority were girls. The secondary school quiz also generated a great deal of enthusiasm, and the librarian reports of the counseling that “it was a very wonderful exercise” for him personally as well as for the students who participated. He also asserts that “now some parents have started bringing their children to the library to read story books,” though he does not give any numbers. The challenges arising from the project have been, as for Bushikori, the library’s limited space and the demands made on the librarian’s time. The library is located in two rooms in a shop building that allows no space for expansion, nor is there any tree nearby that could be used as shade for reading. The librarian is the sole full-time employee, although the UBC volunteers are a great help, and now the grant from the British Vancouver libraries is nearly finished there is a question as to how the librarian is to be paid.4. Busongora Rural Information Centre (BRIC) The Busongora Rural Information Centre is one of the Ruwenzori Information Centre Network (RIC-Net) and joined UgCLA, together with RIC-Net itself, in 2009. Most RIC-Net centers work with farmers’ groups to disseminate information about rural agricultural opportunities and challenges, but the Busongora one is closely affiliated to another organization called ORDISEF which has more interest in working with children. Before taking part in the CBP, the center was already organizing children’s video shows every evening in an attempt to discourage them from watching much less appropriate videos in the nearby town of Kasese. It did not, however, have a collection of children’s books. Thus the CBP has enabled the Busongora center to embark on a completely new range of activities. First, the center’s director has been using the books as a basis for working on 18
  • 19. reading and telling stories with children. He recruits the children each day by going in to the room where the video is shown and asking any who want to come and “study” with him. Most of them come, as Kate Parry and Margaret Baleeta witnessed when they observed one of these sessions in July, and these children are then joined by many others, including very young ones as well as older ones who are on their way home from school. During the session that Kate Parry and Margaret Baleeta saw the children recited and enacted poems, listened to and translated a story (into the two languages spoken in that area, Rutoro and Rukonjo), and told stories themselves. Before the end of the session there were more than thirty children present, which is apparently the norm for a weekday. At weekends about fifty children come. The children are not invited to read the books on their own, but the books are kept in the center’s reading room where adults can access them. The center is trying to maintain a register of these visits, and although it is not kept systematically, for June 25th -30th forty names were written down. Adults were now apparently asking for classes too, based on the books and on what they hear of the children’s activities, so the center is looking to establish a relationship with the government’s Functional Adult Literacy program. The Director of Busongora is immensely enthusiastic about the project and is eager to encourage such activities in other RIC-Net centers. If he succeeds in that, the CBP will have had a dramatic impact on the whole Ruwenzori region. Even if he does not (and it might not be appropriate for other information centers to divert their attention from the work they are doing on agriculture), the CBP has been important for getting one of the RIC-Net group fully involved in UgCLA and in work on children’s literacy. The main challenge that the Director mentioned was the problem of handling very young children during the story times. He has addressed this by forming a partnership with a nursery school from which teachers come to take part in the sessions. Another challenge is that the center has little capacity for maintaining records of its users: the register that they have instituted of people who come to read the books is full of gaps. Nonetheless, the center is doing impressive work, and given that it had no children’s books before, the CBP has evidently had a significant impact.5. Family Learning Resource Centre, Gayaza This center was set up in 2009 by a man who was already involved in UgCLA since he is the librarian of the Kabubbu Community Library (which did not get a CBP award). It consists of one main resource center, located in a house that the organization owns, and five satellite centers which work out of a church, a school, and people’s homes. The organization’s books are kept at the main center and are lent out to the satellites as needed. Sessions for children are held at all the centers (including the main one) at weekends, and the twelve facilitators who work for the organization (on a voluntary basis) meet regularly to help and support one another. The organization receives some support from a small UK charity called Project Hope, and the facilitators are given training by the UK National Institute for Adult Continuing Education. Before receiving the CBP books the center had a collection of about 300, including some primary school textbooks, books on religion, Obama’s Dreams of my father, and some 19
  • 20. children’s books, all of them foreign. These were inadequate for the activities at the centers, so the facilitators spent a lot of time making their own materials, such as posters and flash cards, and had found it difficult to keep up. The significance of the CBP here, then, was that it provided much more material for the facilitators to use. The books are circulated among the centers, where they are read aloud, discussed, and provide a basis for other activities such as drawing, retelling stories, and writing. The director reports that the facilitators have become known in their villages and the children are “on look out” for them “to read books.” When Kate Parry and an American visitor went to the main center in August, it was striking how children began to appear as soon as they realized there was some activity going on—and the facilitator reported that it was difficult to get them to go away again after the visitors had left. At one of the satellite centers they also saw two parents, sixteen children, a secondary school student volunteer, and a primary school teacher, all of whom were reading CBP books. It is clear that the Family Learning Resource Centre still does not have enough books for all the work that it does, even though it has received a further donation from the Osu Children’s Library Fund. Another challenge is that the books are getting worn out quickly, a problem which the organizers are trying to minimize by requiring children to wash and dry their hands before handling the books. Transporting the books to each center every week is a good deal of work, and even the main centre has no furniture, though that can be addressed by providing mats for the children to sit on. Despite these challenges, it seems clear that the Resource Centre has developed a good model for working with young children and their parents and that CBP has played an important role in helping it work effectively.6. Kitengesa Community Library This library is one of the best established in UgCLA, having been initiated as a box of books in 1999, and having acquired its first building and a significantly expanded collection in 2002. By the time that the CBP was initiated the library had a stock of more than 3700 books; but many of these books, especially the locally purchased ones for children, had been worn out with much reading. The library is well staffed, with a librarian, an assistant librarian, and seven Library Scholars, that is, students at the secondary school next door whose fees are paid out of library funds. When the library began its main users were secondary school students, but since 2006 it has been reaching out to children in primary schools. The first method of doing this was to organize Children’s Days on Saturdays and Sundays to which teachers were invited to bring their classes. The receipt of the CBP books provided an occasion for the library to expand this program by making arrangements with two primary schools to send three classes each to the library at different times during school hours; and a third school joined later. The books were displayed on a table near the door of the library and the children were invited to pick them up as they came in. The children read the books by themselves, but some of the Library Scholars and volunteers were always there, together with the children’s teachers, to help them with vocabulary difficulties. Since each class comprises upwards of forty children, this arrangement means that the library 20
  • 21. was serving more than 240 children from the two initial schools. Now, with the third school, the number is much higher. The scheduled library periods are evidently popular: attendance is high, and at the end of the day a number of children stay behind after they are free to go. An average of about fourteen primary school pupils are also coming to the library on their own every day, as opposed to only three or so before the project, and the Children’s Days, which have become general open days for children, are continuing at weekends. Secondary school students, too, especially those in Senior 1 and 2 (equivalent of Grades 8 and 9), are reading the CBP books. Altogether, about 500 children are seeing the books each week. The project has thus had a significant impact in encouraging children to read, even in a library that was already well stocked. The effect on adults, though, may be at least as important. The teachers in the neighboring primary schools are beginning to appreciate the importance of children’s reading, and one has claimed that it has led to improved performance on the part of his P6 pupils. The fact that library time is now on the school timetable for three primary schools constitutes a major breakthrough. Like the other participants in the CBP, the Kitengesa library is experiencing the problems of success. Although the library has a new building, it is not big enough nor does it have enough furniture for all the children that are now coming—although this problem will be alleviated once it completes its present building project. And even though the library got all the books covered with plastic before putting them into use, they are already showing signs of wear and tear. Nonetheless, the CBP has been a valuable contribution to the library’s activities, and the books will continue to provide pleasure to and improve the language skills of several hundred children.7. Kyabutaika Community Library The Kyabutaika Community Library is another of the better established members of UgCLA. The library was founded in 2002 and is housed in a substantial building with good furniture. It also has a good stock of about 4000 books. Many of the books are on agriculture, health, and politics, while others are foreign story books, but another, much smaller, set is locally purchased children’s books similar to those distributed in the CBP. The library did not, it seems, set up any special program in relation to the books, nor was it successful in keeping the CBP books separate from those it already had of the same kind. But the books were made available and their presence was advertised through radio announcements as well as letters to schools and visits to churches and mosques. The books proved very popular, especially It has never happened and Barack Obama, the readers being primary and secondary school children as well as some adults. The challenges reported were that there were too few books for the number of interested readers, that the library had no distinct place in which to keep the books for this project, that it had no appropriate furniture for young children (the tables and chairs are too high for them to use), and students did not have any time during the school day in which to come and read. This library’s response to the project was the least satisfactory in that it did not use the books to initiate a particular activity—the director said that he had tried but the teachers had “let 21
  • 22. him down.” Nonetheless, when Kate Parry visited in August, just after the term had ended, there were many children there. The director reported a plan that he had developed but had not yet implemented for having stories read on the local radio, for which he would use the CBP books. If this program actually comes about it will be a powerful way of popularizing reading.8. Mpolyabigere Community Library Mpolybigere RC RICED Project is a development association that serves and coordinates the efforts of some twenty community groups and also has ties with a number of educational institutions. Among other activities the organization disseminates information about and administers tests for HIV-AIDS; it also organizes entertainment for teenagers. The library serves as the center for all these activities, though as a library it is very modest: prior to the CBP its collection consisted only of about 300 books, and the room in which they were kept was too small for many people to read there. Through UgCLA, however, Mpolyabigere has received a grant that has enabled it to expand its reading space significantly, and the CBP has constituted a significant addition to its book collection. Mpolyabigere used the books as the basis of a “box library”, adding to the CBP collection summaries and translations in Lusoga that the project coordinators wrote themselves. This box library was taken round on a weekly basis to twenty primary schools; since each school has an enrollment of 300-500, the expectation was that the books would reach up to 10000 children. In the event, it proved necessary to keep the number of readers at each venue down to 100 because with larger numbers books were getting lost; but even so the coordinators report that nearly 1000 people were reached in the month of May. The visits with the book box included opportunities for the children to retell and dramatize the stories and were apparently extremely popular. In addition, when the books were not being taken out they were available for people to read at the library. The library was kept open until 10 p.m. for this purpose, and the coordinators estimated that 1500 people lived near enough to take advantage of this. They do not, however, give figures of actual visits to the library. The Mpolyabigere Library has been commendably proactive in giving people access to the books. It has not been so successful in maintaining records of its activities: the report on the project gives full figures of the schools visited and the numbers of people reached during May, but otherwise no hard data are provided. However, the project is ongoing and more information is promised. Meanwhile, our impression is that the library is doing splendid work.9. Suubi Community Library Like Mpolyabigere, the Suubi library is part of a broader development project that includes providing water tanks to primary schools, supporting a range of income-generating activities for adults, and developing and demonstrating good agricultural practices. It is supported by Development Plus Uganda and an Australian organization called Help Us Grow (HUG) and is located in the village of Lubanda, twenty kilometers from Masaka Town in Kisekka Sub- County. The whole organization and the library in particular are new: when Kate Parry visited in July 2009 the library room had only just been built and was completely empty, while work was continuing on the other buildings. A year later, however, the buildings were 22
  • 23. complete, a demonstration garden had been set up, and the library was furnished with a couple of tables, a few chairs, and a bookcase holding some 300 books. The CBP books were kept in this bookcase, separately from the others in plastic magazine holders. They had been divided according to level and their titles had been entered in a register of all the library’s books (they were the first ones in the register, which probably does not mean that they were the first ones the library got but it may mean that getting the books induced the people running the library to initiate the register). As a result of the CBP the project managers invited two primary schools to send fifteen children to the library twice a week. The children were from different classes ranging from P1 to P6 and were grouped in levels according to their reading ability so that they could be given appropriate material. Until the end of June the children were looked after by visiting Australian volunteers, but by July the library had recruited a librarian to take on this responsibility. The children read individually and listened to stories read aloud; they translated the stories that they heard into Luganda and wrote down the English vocabulary with Luganda equivalents. Sometimes they enacted the stories, as in the case of The Decorated Letters, which the librarian said was a favorite. Another favorite was I Will Not Fail, but the librarian did not remember any of the titles mentioned in the reports of the other libraries as being particularly popular. Suubi’s director reports that the selected children gained much more confidence as readers and improved greatly in their ability to understand the reading materials, as assessed by the volunteers. Teachers’ attitudes have also been changed, apparently, by the project: at first they were dubious about the merits of sending children to the library, but now they have become enthusiastic. Parents are likewise happy that their children have opportunities to read: one old man had stopped one of the Centre staff to tell him, with pride, that his daughter in P2 was now reading newspapers. The challenges in administering the project were, first, that the Australian volunteers who worked on it had difficulty communicating with the children and the children tended to be inhibited with them; second, because the books covered a wide range of topics and there was only one copy of each, the volunteers found it hard to keep track of what each child was reading; third, and most difficult, was the fact that sometimes many more children would come than the selected fifteen, making it even harder to maintain the tracking system. The plan now is to invite a different set of schools to participate in the coming term; and the Suubi Centre staff are discussing ways of developing formal partnerships with schools to enable them to borrow books. The prospects for sustaining the project are good since the center already has good relationships with neighboring primary schools and now has a librarian who can administer it. Arrangements have been made through UgCLA for this librarian to go to Kabubbu and Kitengesa for training.10. Queen of Heaven, Yumbe Queen of Heaven is a parish in Yumbe Town in the far northwest of Uganda, and the name was adopted by the women’s group that runs the library together with other projects. It is a new member of UgCLA, having been brought in by URLCODA (see above) which encourages and coordinates all the libraries in the West Nile Region. Of the libraries that 23
  • 24. participated in the CBP it is the only one that has not submitted a report; when asked for it the group’s leader explained that she had been having problems with e-mail. Kate Parry did visit the project, however, and the librarian attended the workshop in July and gave an oral report. When Queen of Heaven was established, it was given a classroom at a private primary school called St Daniel’s where the women held their meetings and kept their property—sewing machines, hairdressing equipment, and cooking utensils. The group, comprising twenty women, meets regularly here to tell stories and develop educational drama performances, but before their participation in the CBP they had hardly any books. The book packet received through the project transformed them into a library—the first one in Yumbe District. On receiving the books, the Queen of Heaven leaders informed the headmaster and teachers of the school and then passed word on to all the women in the group. They set up a timetable for the school classes, including the nursery class, to have story times in the library. The young children had stories read to them, and they developed a “drama” based on one of them, while the older children read more on their own. The story books were in high demand, apparently, and one child had stolen the one on Obama—fortunately it was retrieved. Apart from this case of theft, the library has faced other challenges in administering the project. The story times are managed by a teacher and two students, and they often have difficulty getting the children to leave the room when the allotted time is over. There are not enough books and, in particular, there is great need for more picture books. Queen of Heaven feels that it needs its own library building, rather than just a primary school classroom, so it knows that it must write more proposals to raise the necessary funds. Given the complete absence of such books, not only in the school but in the whole District, the CBP has clearly had a significant impact. Queen of Heaven has provided no figures, but there is now a library where there was none before, and children at St Daniel’s school can have the entirely new experience of reading story books.This account shows great variation among the ten libraries both in terms of their generalcharacteristics and in the specific uses that they made of the books. In every case, however,except possibly in that of Kyabutaika, this rather small set of books has had a significant impact,whether in bringing increasing numbers of children to the libraries or in convincing adults in thecommunity that children’s reading is both important and valuable. The project has also had animpact well beyond the ten libraries that received the books. All those who attended the firstworkshop had a concrete focus and a specific set of books to guide their thinking aboutprogramming for children. Those who attended the second, at the US Embassy, were exposed tonew ideas about early childhood literacy and were rewarded for the interest they had displayed inwriting a proposal. The third workshop (that is the second one directly organized by UgCLA)enabled all the library managers to hear about how the books had been used and thus to see howdiverse programs for children can be and how much potential there is for organizing them.Capacity building of this kind is an essential aspect of UgCLA’s mission, and the Children’sBook Project has been highly successful in that regard. 24
  • 25. This is not to say that there have been no challenges. Chief among these has been the inadequatereporting on the part of the libraries: Queen of Heaven failed to deliver a written report at all,while most of the others were brief and definitely did not do full justice to the activities that thelibraries had carried out; even the reports that were richest in detail did not give the figures thatare necessary for an objective evaluation. UgCLA must continue to work on training its membersin this regard, and it is also essential that projects have built into them methods of evaluation thatdo not depend solely on written reports. In this case, the presentations made at the finalworkshop as well as the visits made to the participating libraries proved invaluable sources ofinformation.A second challenge was to get people to submit proposals in the first place. UgCLA has run twosuch competitions in the past, and those who wrote proposals and did not succeed were easilydiscouraged. Consequently, a number of the representatives at the first workshop confided toUgCLA Board members that they did not think it worthwhile to write a proposal since they knewthey would not win anything. This problem was addressed, first, by extending the deadline forthe proposals and sending out special messages to libraries such as Busongora that had not beenrepresented at the workshop. Second, the opportunity to invite all the applicants to the AmericanEmbassy workshop was extremely valuable—they all received something for their pains so willbe more ready to submit proposals in future. The lessons that UgCLA draws from this aspect ofthe experience are, first, that timetables for competitions should always allow time for extendingthe initial deadline (though of course the libraries should not be informed of this), second, thatsome means should always be sought of rewarding libraries for submitting proposals even whenthe proposals are not good enough to win the specific award in question, and, third, that theassociation should seek more means of teaching proposal writing skills so that library managerscan write them not only more successfully but also more easily.The greatest challenge of all, however, has been the incredibly rapid growth that UgCLA hasexperienced since the CBP was initiated. When plans for the project were finalized in December2009, the association had 42 member libraries; by the time the final reports were submitted inAugust 2010, it had 67. This expansion has made the workshops more expensive than anticipatedbecause there were more participants to support, and it has strained UgCLA’s capacity tosupervise the project because of the need to visit new member libraries and/or to meet with theirmanagers. This challenge is welcome, however, because it is a product of success: theenthusiasm of community leaders in Uganda to set up libraries and to join the associationsuggests strongly that a project such as the CBP, small as it is, is remarkably effective inencouraging people at the local level to initiate and develop community libraries.Everyone involved with UgCLA is pleased with the way the CBP has worked out and is mostgrateful to Pockets of Change for supporting the project. All the libraries hope that POC willconsider taking the project to a second phase from which more of them can benefit. UgCLA’sBoard would also welcome such a second phase, though in order to administer it the associationwould have to appoint someone—probably the librarian of one of the ten first phase libraries—toact as field officer and take on the responsibility of carrying out the visits; and that person wouldhave to be paid. It will also not be possible to run a second series of workshops devotedexclusively to working with children’s books; on the one hand, the association is too big fornational workshops to be efficient, and on the other, UgCLA is moving on to new projects that 25
  • 26. call for training in different areas. Nonetheless, the children’s books that POC has enabledUgCLA to distribute have had a significant impact, and there is every reason to believe that theywould have a comparable impact if distributed to other libraries, especially ones whoserepresentatives participated in the CBP workshops. UgCLA therefore considers that a secondphase of the CBP would be worthwhile if Pockets of Change were interested in moving in thatdirection and would do its utmost to ensure that such a second phase is as successful as the firsthas been. 26
  • 27. Appendix 1: About Friends of African Village LibrariesFriends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) helps villagers in rural Africa set up small librarieswhere children and adults can read stories, novels, newspapers, non-fiction, poetry, and history.Libraries empower people by enabling access to information and fostering habits of reading andcritical thinking. Sustainable and equitable development depends on a well-informed citizenrycapable of using knowledge effectively. Numerous studies suggest that improved literacy iscorrelated with higher incomes and reduced child morbidity and mortality. The dearth of booksin rural Africa means that an effective way to deepen literacy and disseminate information isbeing neglected.FAVL’s mission is to establish small libraries that will serve entire communities – from studentsand teachers at secondary schools through children who have not yet started school to adults whomay have had little education at all. In this way, FAVL hopes to complement the efforts ofgovernments and international organizations in their response to the Education for All initiativesof the Millennium Development Goals. As those efforts provide more opportunities forschooling, FAVL’s activities provide more opportunities for reading; and so the literacy skillsthat are taught and learned in school can develop into literacy practices that both feed theimagination of individuals and address the development needs of their communities.Since our founding as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2001, FAVL has established andsuccessfully operated ten village libraries in Burkina Faso and Ghana. Seven libraries are in theprovince of Tuy in southwestern Burkina Faso, and three libraries are in Upper East region,Ghana. In 2007, FAVL began operating in Uganda and Tanzania by partnering with the newlyfounded Uganda Community Libraries Association, supporting the already well-establishedKitengesa Community Library in Uganda, and assisting in initiating a village library in Mvumi,Tanzania. FAVL typically funds the refurbishment and maintenance of a locally donatedbuilding for use as a library, pays for initial and periodic training of librarians, pays the salary ofthe librarian (equivalent to one-half the salary of a primary school teacher), funds initial andongoing purchases of local books by African authors, and ships appropriate donated books fromthe United States. In some cases FAVL equips libraries with solar panels permitting eveningreading hours. When FAVL establishes a village library, it requests a significant contributionfrom the village community. Usually this means the donation of an old building in the villagecenter that is suitable for conversion for use as a library. Providing this concrete resourceinvolves village residents in negotiations and discussions about the role and importance of alibrary. Village leaders then have a stake in the successful operation of the library, and leadersactive in obtaining the building often become the core of the village library committee. Thiscommittee is entrusted with overall and day-to-day supervision of the library. Libraries andbooks belong to the village where the library is located. FAVL partners, to the extent possible,with local non-profit organizations and village committees, and these oversee day-to-day libraryoperations.The libraries that are managed by FAVL typically make available between 1,000 and 2,000books suitable for pre-school and primary school children, secondary school students, andliterate adults. A paid librarian operates the library for 20 hours or more each week. The librariesare open to the public, and in some cases subscribers have the right to take home books for twoweeks after paying a very modest annual fee. In Burkina Faso the fees are $.20 for children and 27
  • 28. students, $.40 for village residents, and $.60 for government officials per year; librarians havediscretion to give out free memberships to children whom they believe do not have the financialmeans to become subscribers.FAVL retains control over the funds it donates for library operations and construction, andconducts regular monitoring to minimize the risk of misappropriation and waste. FAVL requiresmonthly or quarterly financial reports prepared by the librarian and local library oversightcommittee and conducts regular audits of library accounts and operations. A supervisor visitslibraries regularly (at least once a month) with announced and unannounced visits. FAVLofficers visit the libraries at least once a year, and FAVL coordinates interns (university studentsand graduates from the United States and Europe) to conduct extended residences in villageswith FAVL libraries.Survey research findings from Burkina Faso indicate that reading of books among 10th gradershas doubled (from six to 12 books per year, on average) in villages with FAVL librariescompared with villages without libraries. Ethnographic research in Uganda indicates similarpositive impact of the Kitengesa Community Library.Research results, annual newsletters, and further information about FAVL are available on theFAVL website: http://www.favl.org. 28
  • 29. Appendix 2: Number of subscribers, books checked out and libraryvisits for each library in Burkina Faso 29
  • 30. 30
  • 31. 31
  • 32. 32
  • 33. Appendix 3: Income and expenses for 20090 and 2010FAVL budget for 2009 and 2010 Jan - Dec 09 Jan - Dec 10 Ordinary Incom e/Expense Incom e 4 · Contributed support 4010 · Indiv/business contribution 81,832.36 91,317.47 4012 · Study Abroad RWA program 61,162.00 62,737.00 4013 · Corporate/business grants 50.00 780.00 4014 · Foundation/trust grants 11,300.00 18,610.00 4015 · Nonprofit organization grants 6,586.00 9,836.61 4 · Contributed support - Other 0.00 3,000.00 Total 4 · Contributed support 160,930.36 186,281.08 Total Incom e 160,930.36 186,281.08 33
  • 34. FAVL budget for 2009 and 2010 Jan - Dec 09 Jan - Dec 10 Expense 7200 · Salaries & related expenses 7220 · Salaries & w ages - other 0.00 136.00 Total 7200 · Salaries & related expenses 0.00 136.00 7500 · Other personnel expenses 7550 · Tem porary help - contract 500.00 12,000.00 Total 7500 · Other personnel expenses 500.00 12,000.00 8100 · Non-personnel expenses 8101 · Adm inistrative Expenses in US 8105 · Bank Fees 372.49 784.27 8107 · Paypal fee 139.33 181.36 8110 · Supplies 340.48 177.87 8115 · Office Softw are and Com puter Su 1,458.79 565.33 8130 · Telephone & telecom m unications 102.22 63.07 8140 · Postage, shipping, delivery 949.68 1,063.82 8141 · Postage & shipping books Africa 0.00 250.75 8142 · Postage & ship m tls to Africa 0.00 5.64 8145 · Money Transfer Fees 580.50 305.00 8170 · Printing & copying 3,608.84 1,824.20 8172 · Fundraiser expense (food, etc) 0.00 185.76 8101 · Adm inistrative Expenses in US - Other 60.00 60.00 Total 8101 · Adm inistrative Expenses in US 7,612.33 5,467.07 8100 · Non-personnel expenses - Other 0.00 865.93 Total 8100 · Non-personnel expenses 7,612.33 6,333.00 8193 · Transfer to FAVL Sierra Leone 4,836.40 0.00 8194 · Transfer to FAVL Uganda 11,721.00 16,000.00 8195 · Transfer to FAVL Tanzania 3,200.00 3,892.80 8196 · Transfer to FAVL Burkina 111,733.96 94,641.44 8197 · Transfer to FAVL Ghana 11,900.00 28,100.00 8198 · Transfers to non-FAVL Libraries 6,315.00 5,313.10 8199 · Books & Periodical 4 Libraries 2,627.50 2,650.27 8300 · Travel & m eetings expenses 8310 · Travel 8311 · Airfare 3,449.40 0.00 8314 · Meals 0.00 50.23 8310 · Travel - Other 1,000.00 0.00 Total 8310 · Travel 4,449.40 50.23 8320 · Conference,convention,m eeting 0.00 120.00 Total 8300 · Travel & meetings expenses 4,449.40 170.23 8500 · Misc expenses in Africa 8570 · RWA Program Expense 3,500.00 993.69 Total 8500 · Misc expenses in Africa 3,500.00 993.69 Total Expense 168,395.59 170,230.53 34