The Elangata Wuas Library and Resource Centre is undergoing some changes!
Noah continues to lead computer classes and has some wonderful eager students. Many of these students were able to put their new found internet skills to use and acted as research assistants for a service learning partnership Africa SOMA has had over this last semester with students at the University of Maryland. Students investigated and researched a variety of issues surrounding the library and it's access to the community, such as how we can better serve community members in outlying areas. Noah's computer students worked for the Maryland students on the ground, providing them with answers and helpful contextual information. All in all it was a wonderfully beneficial project for both the Maryland students as well as the Elangata Wuas Computer Lab students!
Aside from our recent partnership with the University of Maryland class, the library has been undergoing some significant changes. Africa SOMA has always aimed to create a sustainable self-sufficient library. With this in mind, the long term goal for the library and resource centre was to transfer over the operating costs to the community-run Elangata Wuas Resource Centre Committee (EWRC). As this point has now come there have been some changes as a result of this transition. Due to the low levels of income being made by the library, the librarian is now only working part time, with Noah picking up the slack. Africa SOMA is working with the EWRC to come up with creative income generating solutions, and thankfully the computer lab, which you helped create, is providing much needed regular income for the library. Africa SOMA will soon be posting a Global Giving Project aiming to fundraise for the seed money to start income generating projects which will keep the library open and running smoothly into the future.
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Africa SOMA is excited to introduce our new Kenyan Coordinator and Computer Lab Manager, Noah Sankale Pesi! Noah is currently doing his Bachelor of Business Administration at St. Paul's University by distance education. He is from Elangata Wuas, where the Library and Computer Lab is located, and has spent a lot of time in the library in the last couple of years. In an email Noah had this to say to the Africa SOMA team and supporters.
"Hi everyone. I am so glad to be part of Africa Soma team, I must begin by appreciating your tireless efforts in helping my community (Elangata-wuas). You have actually change lives of many pupils who did not have hopes of joining secondary schools and even instilling the culture of reading using the library to my community."
Africa SOMA is also excited to announce a new fundraising initative with Rough Giraffes, a non-profit social enterprise which sells graphic t-shirt's. This beautifully designed shirts make excellent gifts and are all printed on sweatshop free shirts. They can be purchased a the Rough Giraffe's website and will soon be available on the Africa SOMA Etsy fundraising shop "Saturday Soko".
Africa SOMA is sad to say goodbye to our wonderful computer lab instructor and Africa SOMA coordinator for the last year and half, Isaac Kakeni. The library and computer lab will not be the same without him, but we wish him the best as he moves on to new and exciting career opportunities in the NGO world and works to advance his education. As we search for a new computer lab manager for Africa SOMA, we know he will not be eay to replace. Thankfully one of our Board Member's Jennie Glassco, is on the ground in Elangata Wuas to facillitate filling the position of computer lab manager.
While saying goodbye to Isaac may be sad news for the library we are we excited to announce that electricity may soon be available in the Elangata Wuas region. While our library runs off solar power, our solar panels are only able to power a limited number of computers and don't allow for any additional power usage in the library. While we will continue to use solar panels to power our computers, electricty in the community will allow us to expand the libraries activities and potential as a rental space, and the librarians have hopes of buying a projector to use for community presentations.
As always, and especially as we move through this time of transition we would like to thank Africa SOMA's donors for their continued support. It is through your donations that the Elangata Wuas Library and Resource center is able to offer computer services to the Elangata Wuas community. From us as well as all the students and community members who make use of the computers to forward their schooling or business endeavors - Thank you.
Library programing is going strong at the Elangata Wuas Community Library and Resource Center! This April students from Good Shepard Primary, Elangata Wuas Primary and Emirishoi Primary squared off in a friendly debate. The debates were set up to immitate the style of Kenya's Parlimentary debates, giving students a good chance to feel what their members of parliment do on a regular basis.
All groups started strong, with eloquent oration being traded back and forth across the floor. Two students, Samuel from Good Shepard Primary and Challes from Emirshoi Primary were clear standouts. Depsite his small stature Samuel was verbal dynamite, quickly diminishing opponents. Challes on the other hand, articulated her points in a precise and clear manner, pointing out the holes in her opponents argument.
The debates were not without their spectators, as a large number of parents and community members turned out to watch the debates. The debates were such a success and so enjoyed by students and their teachers that another round will be held in the upcoming term, this time with a focus on science and math.
It is thanks to your donation that programming such as this can be held in the library. The computer lab community classes and pay-as-you go internet time help bring in an income to sustain the functioning of the library, allowing programing such as the Debate Club to continue. Thank you again for your donation and your contribution to the ongoing access to information and learning that the Elangata Wuas Community Library and Resource Center are able to provide.
Over the last months the computer lab has been used extensively by primary and secondary students as well as individuals from the community taking lessons in computer skills from our talented computer lab manager Isaac. However, there is a new group of computer lab beneficiaries we are just discovering: college and university students pursuing degrees through distance learning.
Noah comes to the library every day from Monday to Friday to study for his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He uses the laptops in the computer lap to access online course materials, prepare and submit assignments, and do research.
It’s because of this facility that I was able to pursue my degree from St. Paul’s University by distance learning” says Noah. “Going to live in Nairobi while pursuing my studies would be very expensive, and so I am very happy to be able to work towards my degree while living at home”.
In response to the number of college and university students now using the library, we are looking into expanding our book collection to include appropriate research resources, and are planning to install additional research software, including offline Wikipedia, onto our laptops.
Thank you to all of our donors who have made it possible and affordable for students in Elangata Wuas to pursue higher education by providing and equipping this distance learning facility!
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