May 19, 2021

Bereba librarian hired; refurbishment will start

Library of Bereba reopened
Library of Bereba reopened

The commune (and mayor) of Bereba has hired a new librarian, and so the library has reopened after closure for two years due to disputes with the old librarian and the commune. Those employment issues have now been resolved. The library re-opened, and FAVL is looking forward to working with the mayor on a program of refurbishment of the library and the library premises.

 

Below is our local representative translated (from French) discussion of the two libraries in Bereba and Dimikuy

Context and justification for the reopening of the Béréba and Dimikuy libraries

The community libraries of Béréba and Dimikuy in the province of Tuy are the work of the association Amis des Bibliothèques de Villages Africains / Friends of African Villages Librairies / FAVL in collaboration with the communities of Béréba, Dimikuy and the municipality of Béréba. The Béréba library was created in 2001. As for Dimikuy's, it was created in 2010. Until 2012, the management of the activities and the motivation of the managers were 100% ensured by the association FAVL. After a workshop organized by FAVL with the mayors of municipalities benefiting from libraries supported by FAVL, it was agreed to sign an agreement for the progressive transfer of libraries to said beneficiary municipalities. Thus, the municipality of Béréba adhered to the idea by signing the transfer agreement for the two libraries (Béréba and Dimikuy) in 2012. Gradually, the clauses of the agreement were respected until the end. At the end of this period, the commune agreed to hire the managers as contract workers, but a new law prohibiting municipalities from recruiting contract agents or volunteering did not allow the municipality to recruit.

From then until today, one of the major and crucial challenges that arises remains their reopening, their sustainability and the management of these documentary units. This thorny situation pushes FAVL, which supports communes to initiate actions, in particular requesting support from communities and municipal partners to get involved in this dynamic of sustainability of the quality of education; the sustainability of libraries being a guarantee of sustainable development. Reading is proving to be an important vector that offers the opportunity in particular to children and adults to rewrite or even reinvent their future and to positively transform the environment in which they live. Also like a well, a library is a common resource that benefits the whole community. It is in this context that FAVL is asking everyone for support to help the commune reopen the two libraries, make them work and motivate managers while waiting for a grant for the management of said libraries. The community libraries of Béréba and Dimikuy have already proved their worth, by contributing to learning and improving the level of education of young people in the municipality of Béréba in general and in particular students. It would be a shame to deprive the many students who are now asking for the reopening of the two libraries of such great help from their elders, which is why we hereby want to encourage voluntary and popular subscription among all goodwill in helping the commune to reopen the two libraries.

Reading in the library
Reading in the library
May 19, 2021

Training sessions in March, April and May

Computer user
Computer user

As Burkina Faso re-opens, the FAVL media center in Houndé has resumed training sessions for young women in using computers. The sessions are held on Saturday afternoons, and involve a variety of basic computer functions. The goal is to demystify computers, by enabling young women from villages without electricity or computer access to learn how to turn computers on, open word processing software, type documents, save, print, etc. All the basics, and the idea is that exposure gives some more confidence to these young women who have limited opportunities in their villages. Participants receive a small stipend. The trainers also encourage reading during and after the sessions. The longer-term goal is that perhaps some of the young women might try their hand at writing a small story that can then be illustrated and published in the media center.

Learning the keyboard
Learning the keyboard
Participants
Participants
Practicing typing
Practicing typing
Feb 25, 2021

Delays in refurbishing Bereba library

Meeting with mayor of Bereba in Nov 2020
Meeting with mayor of Bereba in Nov 2020

FAVL staff in Burkina Faso have been working with the office of the mayor in Bereba to hire a part-time librarian to replace the now-retired librarian. Unfortauntely the mayor's office has been extremely slow about processing the transition. In the meantime, we cannot proceed with the refurbishing until the personnel issues are resolved. We hope to have more news in the coming weeks.

In more general news, because of the Covid19 pandemic, most libraries supported by FAVL were closed in March. The pandemic did not strike Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Uganda as hard as the United States or Europe, for reasons that remain somewhat poorly understood. Starting in October 2020, many local public health authorities allowed facilities such as libraries and schools to reopen. Most libraries supported by FAVL reopened, and were equipped with handwashing stations, and required patrons to wear masks.

The FAVL blog has been filled in recent months with news of activities from various libraries and programs. The mobile library in Houndé has been active since October, delivering reading materials to kids in schools. Librarians in the Tuy region have resumed monthly gatherings. The FAVL representative in Burkina Faso regularly visits libraries. In October, he held a meeting with several mayors to coordinate efforts to ensure that librarians are hired as “municipal” employees. He met with librarians in three regional meetings in early January 2021. Over in Ghana, CESRUD library coordinator has overseen the re-roofing and refurbishment of Gowrie-Kunkua library, as the roof blew off in a violent rainstorm in May. The Sumbrungu and Sherigu libraries have been very busy since they reopened in January 2021.  FAVL has also been committing funding to modest renewal of book collections, and locally in Burkina Faso the Ministry of Culture as well as the U.S. Embassy have been supporting the libraries. More news is available on the blog.

Reading in Karaba library, Nov 2020
Reading in Karaba library, Nov 2020
Koho library, Dec 2020
Koho library, Dec 2020
 
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