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Echos N°89.pdf
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FAVL newsletter 2022

  1. 1. Friends of African Village Libraries Newsletter December 2022 FAVL’s mission is to help create and foster a culture of reading. Generous donors and volunteers enable us to work with local communities and non-profit organizations to support libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda, to develop innovative literacy programs and to provide ongoing library staff training. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, donations to FAVL are tax-deductible. A team of U.S. volunteers supports FAVL activities in Africa. Current fundraising priorities: • Building an endowment for each of the FAVL-supported community li- braries. • Renewing stock of locally-purchased books by African authors. • Producing more micro-books in local languages and languages of instruc- tion. West Africa Director Michael Kevane Professor of Economics Santa Clara University mkevane@scu.edu East Africa Director Kate Parry Professor of English Hunter College City University of New York kateparry@earthlink.net Address: P.O. Box 90533, San Jose, CA 95109 Email: favlafrica@gmail.com Website & Blog: www.favl.org Community libraries surviving in difficult times Pandemics, global recession, and conflict have made the past few years very difficult for public and community libraries. When we launched FAVL in 2001, a sense of optimism about the future of libraries was reasonable. Liter- acy and schooling were increasing rapidly, and governments were looking for ways to deepen the quality of reading. Sadly, governments in many Afri- can countries offer less support for reading programs and libraries now than they did in 2001. Nowhere is this more evident than in Burki- na Faso. The blame lays squarely with the civil conflict that has engulfed the country since 2016. The con- flict pits various Is- lamist-oriented groups (whose first actions are to close schools until they agree to change the language of instruc- tion to Arabic, a lan- guage few people in the country speak) against the Burkinabè military (which in 2022 overthrew the democratic government in January and then carried out a second coup in September, disrupting all layers of government). Twelve of 38 libraries sup- ported by FAVL have closed because of the conflict (Sebba, Pobe-Mengao, Belehede, Kiembara, Pissila, Ouargaye, Nassere, Zimtenga, Barsalogho, Namissiguima, Pensa, and Bourzanga). In many of these villages, the entire population has fled to neighboring towns. More recently, several villages in the heartland of Burkina (Béréba, Boni, and Koumbia) have been threatened by the djihadistes (as they are known locally) and schools and libraries are likely to remain closed until the security situation is improved. The mobile library in Houndé has reduced its services (school readers served by the BMP are pictured above). The FAVL representative in Burkina Faso, Sanou Dounko, continues to visit libraries that remain open, in secure areas. The office has pivoted to production of books written and illustrated by residents of the town of Houndé. In November, the team hit our target of 10,000 cop- ies of 50 titles. We are hoping in 2023 to produce and distribute 50,000 cop- ies, including another 50 titles. Over in Ghana, FAVL’s local partner continues to manage the three libraries of Sumbrungu, Sherigu, and Gowrie-Kunkua. The libraries receive about 4,000 visits every month. In Uganda, Kitengesa Community Library and the Uganda Community Libraries Association are offering regular services. But what is clear is that they continue to be reliant on your donations: the govern- ments of Ghana and Uganda have not prioritized reading promotion and li- braries, and both countries appear to be entering periods of economic crisis, where support is even less likely. We hate pessimism! But better to be realistic that Pollyannaish about the me- dium term. Sometimes the harder road is, well, harder. We hope you will continue to accompany us on the road.
  2. 2. FAVL, in partnership with CESRUD (a local NGO) supports three libraries in the Upper East region of Ghana. CESRUD's library program director is Benedict Akana. • In 2022, opening hours for the libraries returned to normal after the pandemic, and libraries, especially Sumbrungu, see lots of usage, about 4,000 visits per month. The librar- ies are mostly reading rooms, and do not check out books. • Building maintenance was done for Gowrie-Kunkua, with doors and window louvers replaced, and more shelving constructed. Sherigu was repainted. FAVL supported re- construction of part of Sumbrungu library (and the office of the director) which was damaged by an electrical fire. • Sumbrungu library hosted occasional tele-classes organized through the Ghana Ministry of Education. They held a ceremony with over 200 students attending, for World Book Day, with the mayor of Bolgatanga as guest of honor. They hosted reading competitions at several points throughout the year, with hundreds of primary and secondary stu- dents participating. These are organized by CESRUD library coordinator along with local school directors. • The libraries received several hundred books and games purchased with funds from FAVL in November. • The librarians participated in a training course in Bolgatanga Regional Library, and in another training to use comput- ers to type their monthly reports on library usage and activities, which are posted to the FAVL blog. • In 2022, FAVL transferred about $13,000 USD to CESRUD for use in library support. This was exchanged for about 100,000 Ghanaian cedis. Of this, about 35,000 cedis was for salaries and benefits; about 8,000 cedis was for purchase of a new motorcycle for Benedict to be able to visit the three libraries (with another 4,000 cedis for fuel); about 14,000 cedis was for construction and repair work; about 14,000 cedis was for a variety of program expenses; and about 9,000 cedis was used to purchase books and games for the libraries. In 2023, we anticipate spending more funds on books and games for the libraries, and organizing more library activities. Honoring friends Updates from Ghana libraries (Sumbrungu, Sherigu, and Gowrie-Kunkua) Readers in Sumbrungu Community Library in Ghana Donors occasionally want to remember loved ones with their gifts, and this year there were several such donations. Here are a few of the people remembered through gifts to FAVL. Amalia Sottile, a loving sister of a dear friend of the donor. Dr. Hans-Åke Nordström, a superb archeologist and professor at Uppsala, and friend of the donor. Several donors con- tributed to the Béréba Library fund, to honor both Gail Weaver and David Pace, who contributed, in different ways, to support the library. We also want to acknowledge Helene Lafrance, longtime FAVL board member, and herself a profes- sional librarian at Santa Clara University. Helene contributed much to support FAVL, and was always eager to copyedit the books the team in Burkina Faso has been producing. Helene passed away in November of this year. For all of these friends, and others we have forgotten to mention, may their memory be a blessing.
  3. 3. FAVL Director Kate Parry visited Kitengesa Community Library in November, and wrote: “The place was busy: 17 young children were there, reading and looking at storybooks, and 8 teenagers, who were working with the three comput- ers (this is why we want to buy some new ones if we can afford it). Mr. Mayanja, who leads our Library Band was also there and eager to tell me about a project he has for Christmas: a special performance for some of the poorest people in the village, with a small gift to each of them of sugar and other necessities. He’s fundraising for it now, so I’ve promised him a contribution. I will hand it over next Friday, when the Band is putting on a special performance for me to celebrate my recovery from surgery.” The library also held women’s health camps, and hosts “library period” that is part of the school curriculum for neighboring primary and secondary schools. The Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA) held their annual meeting in July. UgCLA director Emmanuel Anguyo regularly visits libraries, and his reports and photos are posted to the FAVL blog. Updates from Burkina Faso • The team’s goal for 2022 was to edit, reformat, and print 200 copies of 50 titles in the CMH series of stories written and illustrated by Houndé residents. In November, a ceremony in the FAVL office in Ouagadougou was held to celebrate the achievement! 3,000 copies were delivered to the director of the na- tional library service for distribu- tion to government-run public li- braries. The remaining 7,000 copies will be distributed to FAVL- supported libraries. The book pro- duction was supported by a multi- year grant from Rotary internation- al, and Rotary Savane Club in Oua- gadougou is the local partner. • The BMP mobile library in Houndé has had trouble retaining the ani- mator. The job has a particular skillset: be a good reader and reading promoter, enjoy doing puzzles and drawing, and also have a license to drive a large motorcycle safely. We hope that in 2023 our partner or- ganization will find a more permanent staff person. • A convention was signed with the mayor of Koumbia to enable hiring of a new librarian for Koumbia library. FAVL will contribute salary support. Béréba and Dimikuy libraries were repainted. The team con- tinued to help manage the Humanitas library in Bobo-Dioulasso and Konkourona library in Houet province. • The team participated in the 5th Biennale des Littératures franco- phones d’Afrique noire in March at the Institut français of Bobo- Dioulasso, and shared a variety of techniques at the regular regional librarian meeting. During the biennale the team also purchased many new books for the libraries. • Functioning libraries in Sanmatenga and Bam provinces received new tables, chairs, and games as part of the continu- ation of the CRS Beeog Biiga program. • Workshops with librarians were held over the year as usual, in Houndé, Kongoussi, and Kaya. The local newsletter, Echos des bibliothèques, was printed and delivered to librarians and partners every month of 2022, and is available on the FAVL website. • The mayor’s offices in Boni and Béréba were attacked and burned by insurgents. Included in the lost paperwork was the contract for the Boni librarian, so the process must resume again. • A generous donor has enabled FAVL to support Koho Library with two new assistant librarians. Alidou Boué contin- ues to serve as regional animator, and visits Koho twice a week. Koho library received 185 books from FAVL, in May. Another 15 young adult books were purchased for Koho in July, and then in August the library received 230 books purchased with funds from Houndé Gold. • The team has been preparing for a transition in January 2023, when all staff will become employees of ABVBF, our local partner organization. Kitengesa Community Library and Uganda Community Libraries Association
  4. 4. NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID SAN JOSE, CA PERMIT NO. 1014 Friends of African Village Libraries P.O. Box 90533 San Jose, CA 95109-3533 Current Resident or Koho Community Library gets two new library assistants! Despite the civil war in Burkina Faso, FAVL continues to sup- port libraries and reading. A generous donor has enabled us to recruit, train, and pay the salaries of two new library assistants. Read more inside!

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