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Friends of African Village Libraries Newsletter December 2023
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.
Continuing 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 Emeritus
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
Why support community libraries?
My philosophy about FAVL and community libraries is simple. Your dona-
tions enable children with a keen interest in reading to have the chance to
read extensively. There might be 30 such kids in every village. There might
also be 10 young adults. And there might be 10 teachers and government
workers. Those 50 people enjoy and benefit from community libraries. Is
that enough to be impactful, given the money spent? Well, remember that
practically all of the money spent is going to librarian salaries and coordina-
tion staff to provide the training and support that keeps the libraries running.
If this were a cash transfer program, like GiveDirectly, then I think that the
librarians and coordination staff are exactly the kinds of people one (as a do-
nor) might want to transfer cash to. They are relatively poor on a global
scale. They put their salaries to good use. They promote reading.
But there is something else. This November, I read Mohamed Mbougar
Sarr’s novel, La plus secrète mémoire des hommes. It won France’s Prix
Goncourt, the country’s top literary prize. Sarr is the first African author to
win the prize, and one of the youngest (he is now 34 years old). The novel is
complex and dense, drawing on global literature. Bolaño, Mallarmé, and
Joyce are quite evident, and at one point, a character remarks about a friend
that he is 'rather Bartelbian.' It is one of the best novels I have ever read!
Now, there is no connection between FAVL and Sarr, who is from Senegal.
But the novel exists because he had opportunities to read fiction, to enroll in
school, to meet other authors. In 2050, when there are 100 million young
people going to college in francophone African countries, their lives are go-
ing to be shaped, for the better, by reading and discussing Sarr’s novel.
FAVL’s mission is help more readers have access to Sarr, and to other writ-
ers, past and present.
Enough philosophizing.
Time for my favorite pic-
ture of the year, kids do-
ing the alphabet puzzle in
Koho library in Burkina
Faso. We try to provide
most libraries with puz-
zles and games. Many of
the libraries have Scrab-
ble games (and Sarr has
said in interviews that he
played a lot of Scrabble
as a kid!).
We hope we have earned
your trust as a low over-
head and effective non-
profit. Thanks for your
continued support of
FAVL and, more im-
portantly, of community
libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda.
Please mention FAVL to friends and family!
Michael Kevane, FAVL Director, West Africa
FAVL, in partnership with CESRUD (a local NGO) supports three libraries in the
Upper East region of Ghana.
• Libraries continue to see very heavy usage. The libraries are used a lot for
studying, especially at night. Up to 30 people might be present in Sumbrungu
library on many evenings.
• In their November meeting, librarians read together a book entitled The Girl
Who Wanted to Go to School by Irene Agyepong Amarteyfio. The librarians
and library coordinator have resolved to read more of the books in the librar-
ies, in order to better serve young readers.
• Gowrie-Kunkua library planted trees around the library to eventually provide
shade for readers and protection from the wind.
• All three libraries now have electricity and night lighting. October saw an
electricity upgrade in Sumbrungu. Gowrie-Kunkua was electrified in July at a
cost of about $400 (photos and invoice at the FAVL blog).
• FAVL supported carpentry work in Sumbrungu for the maintenance of tables
and chairs.
• Outgoing coordinator Benedict Akana trained and turned over responsibilities
to the new CESRUD library coordinator Clement Amii Nsoh. Congratulations
Benedict and welcome Clement! (Clement is the tall man in both photos at
right.)
Honoring colleagues, friends, and loved ones, and some special thanks
Updates from Ghana libraries (Sumbrungu, Sherigu, and Gowrie-Kunkua)
The Community Libraries Association of Uganda (CoLAU) and coordi-
nator Emmanuel Anguyo carried out activities to further the vision of A
Library in Every Village of Uganda. In 2023, CoLAU assisted Art of a
Child Community Library which established book clubs in ten schools
through a mobile library and teacher led activities, St. Jude Media and
Information Center which created a community library in Osupa Primary
School, and Monica Memorial Resource Center which implemented mo-
bile bicycle libraries with about 150 books each. In partnership with Ro-
tary D9213, about 30 CoLAU members conducted reading activities dur-
ing the Drop Everything and Read week. CoLAU currently has five
members benefitting from a project to improve access to digital resources
(Nagongera Public Library and Resource Centre, Nyungu Streams Com-
munity Resource Centre, Art of a Child Library, Nambi Sseppuuya Com-
munity Resource Centre, Centre For Youth Driven Development Initia-
tives). Over 2023, COLAU distributed 12,000 books to 40 libraries. Final-
ly, site visits were conducted in Canon Esau Library, Kawempe Youth
Centre Library, Marko Lukooya Memorial Community Library (to support braille resources), and Pefo Community li-
brary.
Kitengesa Community Library has improved people’s access to and use of the Internet. The librarians have organized
Learning Circles in which participants learn how to find information online about how to make useful and salable goods,
and then they make the products themselves. A recent project has been making and selling liquid soap. The Kitengesa Li-
brary Band continues to perform at a variety of events, including performing traditional Kiganda music for the community
at Christmas, accompanied by gifts for poorer residents of the village. It is all making the library increasingly popular.
Community Libraries Association of
Uganda board members
Kitengesa Library and Community Libraries Association of Uganda
Donors sometimes let us know their gift is a remembrance for loved ones, or a way to honor friends and colleagues.
Some donors also bring FAVL to the attention of grant-makers and partner organizations. Several donors this year re-
membered our former board member and colleague, Helene Lafrance, and others honored the memory of FAVL friends
David Pace and Steve Cisler. Other donors wanted to honor FAVL co-director Kate Parry, who retired last year. A dona-
tion was made to honor the Greeley family, who helped to establish the Sebba Library (sadly, now closed because of the
war), and another to remember Marilyn Russell. We want to especially thank some large donors who have been gener-
ous over the past few years: the law firm of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones; the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta at MIT; and
the estate of Penelope Hartnell. Thank you! We are filled with gratitude for the thoughtfulness that inspires these actions.
Producing and distributing books in Burkina Faso
FAVL’s partner organization in Burkina Faso,
ABVBF, continued to produce, print, and dis-
tribute books, in our program that was started
with a Rotary grant. In late October, about
4,000 books were distributed to 400 primary
school students in the villages of Karaba,
Dohoun, Bereba, and Dimikuy. Each student
received 10 books. Student were enthusiastic
about receiving the books, and we hope they
provide many quiet hours of that feeling of
being “lost in a book,” some vocabulary im-
provement, inspiration (all the books are au-
thored locally by young people in the Houndé
area), reading practice, and sense of communi-
ty (as the kids share their thoughts and swap
books amongst themselves). Another 5,000
books are ready for distribution in early De-
cember. The team developed almost 30 titles
in 2023 (we are now at 134 titles in the series).
The texts are about topics pertinent for young
readers, and are written at a level of French
that primary school students can understand.
FAVL works closely with the ABVBF team to
ensure good production quality, and the books
undergo multiple grammar and style reviews.
The covers on the right are examples: teen
author Koura Sylvie wrote about marriage is-
sues for young women; young author Koura
Donald wrote The Life of an Internally Dis-
placed Woman; Kahoun Sibiri wrote a short
story about a boy growing up in the village as
a hunchback; and Koura Elissé wrote about
village life in The Son of a Farmer. Below is a
page from one of the books.
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
Mobile library at a Houndé school! Despite the security situa-
tion, schools have reopened in Tuy province in Burkina Faso,
and the BMP mobile library has been going out each week to a
different primary school in the town. Students avidly read the
children’s books and try to solve the puzzles.

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FAVLnewsDec2023v4.pdf

  • 1. Friends of African Village Libraries Newsletter December 2023 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. Continuing 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 Emeritus 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 Why support community libraries? My philosophy about FAVL and community libraries is simple. Your dona- tions enable children with a keen interest in reading to have the chance to read extensively. There might be 30 such kids in every village. There might also be 10 young adults. And there might be 10 teachers and government workers. Those 50 people enjoy and benefit from community libraries. Is that enough to be impactful, given the money spent? Well, remember that practically all of the money spent is going to librarian salaries and coordina- tion staff to provide the training and support that keeps the libraries running. If this were a cash transfer program, like GiveDirectly, then I think that the librarians and coordination staff are exactly the kinds of people one (as a do- nor) might want to transfer cash to. They are relatively poor on a global scale. They put their salaries to good use. They promote reading. But there is something else. This November, I read Mohamed Mbougar Sarr’s novel, La plus secrète mémoire des hommes. It won France’s Prix Goncourt, the country’s top literary prize. Sarr is the first African author to win the prize, and one of the youngest (he is now 34 years old). The novel is complex and dense, drawing on global literature. Bolaño, Mallarmé, and Joyce are quite evident, and at one point, a character remarks about a friend that he is 'rather Bartelbian.' It is one of the best novels I have ever read! Now, there is no connection between FAVL and Sarr, who is from Senegal. But the novel exists because he had opportunities to read fiction, to enroll in school, to meet other authors. In 2050, when there are 100 million young people going to college in francophone African countries, their lives are go- ing to be shaped, for the better, by reading and discussing Sarr’s novel. FAVL’s mission is help more readers have access to Sarr, and to other writ- ers, past and present. Enough philosophizing. Time for my favorite pic- ture of the year, kids do- ing the alphabet puzzle in Koho library in Burkina Faso. We try to provide most libraries with puz- zles and games. Many of the libraries have Scrab- ble games (and Sarr has said in interviews that he played a lot of Scrabble as a kid!). We hope we have earned your trust as a low over- head and effective non- profit. Thanks for your continued support of FAVL and, more im- portantly, of community libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda. Please mention FAVL to friends and family! Michael Kevane, FAVL Director, West Africa
  • 2. FAVL, in partnership with CESRUD (a local NGO) supports three libraries in the Upper East region of Ghana. • Libraries continue to see very heavy usage. The libraries are used a lot for studying, especially at night. Up to 30 people might be present in Sumbrungu library on many evenings. • In their November meeting, librarians read together a book entitled The Girl Who Wanted to Go to School by Irene Agyepong Amarteyfio. The librarians and library coordinator have resolved to read more of the books in the librar- ies, in order to better serve young readers. • Gowrie-Kunkua library planted trees around the library to eventually provide shade for readers and protection from the wind. • All three libraries now have electricity and night lighting. October saw an electricity upgrade in Sumbrungu. Gowrie-Kunkua was electrified in July at a cost of about $400 (photos and invoice at the FAVL blog). • FAVL supported carpentry work in Sumbrungu for the maintenance of tables and chairs. • Outgoing coordinator Benedict Akana trained and turned over responsibilities to the new CESRUD library coordinator Clement Amii Nsoh. Congratulations Benedict and welcome Clement! (Clement is the tall man in both photos at right.) Honoring colleagues, friends, and loved ones, and some special thanks Updates from Ghana libraries (Sumbrungu, Sherigu, and Gowrie-Kunkua) The Community Libraries Association of Uganda (CoLAU) and coordi- nator Emmanuel Anguyo carried out activities to further the vision of A Library in Every Village of Uganda. In 2023, CoLAU assisted Art of a Child Community Library which established book clubs in ten schools through a mobile library and teacher led activities, St. Jude Media and Information Center which created a community library in Osupa Primary School, and Monica Memorial Resource Center which implemented mo- bile bicycle libraries with about 150 books each. In partnership with Ro- tary D9213, about 30 CoLAU members conducted reading activities dur- ing the Drop Everything and Read week. CoLAU currently has five members benefitting from a project to improve access to digital resources (Nagongera Public Library and Resource Centre, Nyungu Streams Com- munity Resource Centre, Art of a Child Library, Nambi Sseppuuya Com- munity Resource Centre, Centre For Youth Driven Development Initia- tives). Over 2023, COLAU distributed 12,000 books to 40 libraries. Final- ly, site visits were conducted in Canon Esau Library, Kawempe Youth Centre Library, Marko Lukooya Memorial Community Library (to support braille resources), and Pefo Community li- brary. Kitengesa Community Library has improved people’s access to and use of the Internet. The librarians have organized Learning Circles in which participants learn how to find information online about how to make useful and salable goods, and then they make the products themselves. A recent project has been making and selling liquid soap. The Kitengesa Li- brary Band continues to perform at a variety of events, including performing traditional Kiganda music for the community at Christmas, accompanied by gifts for poorer residents of the village. It is all making the library increasingly popular. Community Libraries Association of Uganda board members Kitengesa Library and Community Libraries Association of Uganda Donors sometimes let us know their gift is a remembrance for loved ones, or a way to honor friends and colleagues. Some donors also bring FAVL to the attention of grant-makers and partner organizations. Several donors this year re- membered our former board member and colleague, Helene Lafrance, and others honored the memory of FAVL friends David Pace and Steve Cisler. Other donors wanted to honor FAVL co-director Kate Parry, who retired last year. A dona- tion was made to honor the Greeley family, who helped to establish the Sebba Library (sadly, now closed because of the war), and another to remember Marilyn Russell. We want to especially thank some large donors who have been gener- ous over the past few years: the law firm of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones; the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta at MIT; and the estate of Penelope Hartnell. Thank you! We are filled with gratitude for the thoughtfulness that inspires these actions.
  • 3. Producing and distributing books in Burkina Faso FAVL’s partner organization in Burkina Faso, ABVBF, continued to produce, print, and dis- tribute books, in our program that was started with a Rotary grant. In late October, about 4,000 books were distributed to 400 primary school students in the villages of Karaba, Dohoun, Bereba, and Dimikuy. Each student received 10 books. Student were enthusiastic about receiving the books, and we hope they provide many quiet hours of that feeling of being “lost in a book,” some vocabulary im- provement, inspiration (all the books are au- thored locally by young people in the Houndé area), reading practice, and sense of communi- ty (as the kids share their thoughts and swap books amongst themselves). Another 5,000 books are ready for distribution in early De- cember. The team developed almost 30 titles in 2023 (we are now at 134 titles in the series). The texts are about topics pertinent for young readers, and are written at a level of French that primary school students can understand. FAVL works closely with the ABVBF team to ensure good production quality, and the books undergo multiple grammar and style reviews. The covers on the right are examples: teen author Koura Sylvie wrote about marriage is- sues for young women; young author Koura Donald wrote The Life of an Internally Dis- placed Woman; Kahoun Sibiri wrote a short story about a boy growing up in the village as a hunchback; and Koura Elissé wrote about village life in The Son of a Farmer. Below is a page from one of the books.
  • 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 Mobile library at a Houndé school! Despite the security situa- tion, schools have reopened in Tuy province in Burkina Faso, and the BMP mobile library has been going out each week to a different primary school in the town. Students avidly read the children’s books and try to solve the puzzles.