Education  Ghana Project #29847

Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans

by The African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans
Bring innovative libraries to 100,000 Africans

Elizabeth makes Poultry farmers out of alcoholic women

Lagam Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya was noted for illicit brewing and excessive consumption of alcohol by women. This posed a developmental challenge which negatively affected the socioeconomic growth of the county by fueling addiction that led to increased family break ups, low educational performance, low agricultural achievements, poor health, increased criminal activities, and immorality. Women and girls who were into this illicit brewing and consumption of alcohol were vulnerable and easily exposed to danger.

Elizabeth, a staff of the Kenya National Library Services branch at Lagam Elgeyo Marakwet County had a burning passion to help these women learn new skills but she had no idea on how to go about it or the courage to step forward and take a positive action. When she participated in INELI-SSAf Cohort 2 program she was assigned a group with three other Kenyans and were told to choose a name for the group. They chose ‘Brave Buffaloes’ although they were not brave enough then. However, when they were taken through training sessions such as Change management, Innovations, Community partnerships, Taking Smart Risks and How to Advocate in Communities, things changed as she became empowered by what she learnt. When they were asked to choose a community project she decided to train the women of Elgeyo Marakwet County to explore alternative business opportunities that will have positive social economic benefits to themselves and the community as a whole.

The women were identified through discussions and a community survey. Her colleagues understood her burning passion that the women needed to learn how to support each other in order to quit illicit brewing and consumption of alcohol. Using library resources, the women were trained on group formation and management skills. They were encouraged to network and set up small groups to facilitate support.The library sought the help of poultry farmers in the community and the identified women were trained on poultry farming management and building of a poultry house. Through the skills acquired in INELI-SSAf training on Partnership, Elizabeth was able to form partnerships with NGOs and other stakeholders in the community to assist in providing the women and girls with hens and cocks as startup capital to begin a new life. They are now engaging in poultry business and making decent income and they are very happy and appreciative of the push Elizabeth gave them.

Since the inception of the program, over 1200 women have been trained and 99% have opted to change and engage in other income generating activities which is not harmful to their health and that of their community. The women have gained confidence in tackling life without being under the influence of alcohol as they interact and support each other in their small groups. The community is gaining as there is less addiction among the women and young girls.

Elizabeth has been recognized and appreciated by the County authorities. This work of Elizabeth has opened the doors for her and made it easier for her to carry out advocacy for the needs of the library to be satisfied and she is seeing good results. Elizabeth believes that every community in Africa deserves a librarian that has INELI-SSAf training!

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There is no denying the fact that an unclean environment is a source of various types of diseases. The most common of such diseases is Cholera. Cholera can attack a community and can be fatal if swift measures are not taken to treat persons affected.

Jummai, a Librarian with the National library of Nigeria, FCT Branch Area 2 Abuja, is a participant in INELI -SSAf Cohort 2 program of AfLIA. She had been driving past this refuse dump site which is close to a residential area for quite some time. She did not really feel bothered thinking that she is a librarian and not a sanitation officer so she should concentrate on her profession and job.

As a participant of the INELI -SSAf program she went through training modules including ‘Innovation (SDGs)’; ‘Community partnership’; ‘Change management’; as well as ‘My Library makes a Difference’. These trainings set her thinking and she realised that a librarian is capable of doing something outside the library to bring about change and innovation for an improved life for people in her community.  

She contacted the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and held discussions with them as to how she could partner with them to clear a refuse dump site in the community at Pykasa, Abuja and make the site eco-friendly. She discovered that the dumping of the refuse was done mostly by children who were sent by the parents to dump the refuse in the container the local government had placed there for the purpose. She then encouraged the children who visit her library, including those living in that area, to get interested in keeping the environment clean. This she did by creating an extension activity where the children are taken through several topics about how to keep the environment clean by proper disposal of waste, planting vegetables and flowers in areas prone to refuse dumping, among others.

The refuse dump was subsequently cleared with the help of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board and the community now has a clean environment. She is so excited about what she has done that she intends to take on other activities which will make an impact in her community.

Her library now also has a very strong presence of children who use the library because of their interest in the extension activities which now include skills acquisition such as tailoring, photography, and computer appreciation.

The children were taken to the site after the first rainfall to prepare the land for gardening only to find out that the opposite space is now being used as the new dump site. This means that she has to do more education to stop the habit of dumping refuse in that area completely. She plans to go back to AEPB to seek their assistance to clear the new place too, which she is sure she will succeed because she has developed a relationship with them.

Jummai has this to say “It has always been my joy to acquire additional training to make me do my work as a librarian better. Never did it cross my mind that undertaking training in the INELI- SSAf program will get me exposed to working with my community in areas other than libraries. This journey with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board has been an eye opener and a very exciting one. Again, getting myself involved in interests other than libraries in my community, this environment activity, has given me confidence and boldness that I can venture into more activities other than library work and be relevant to my community. Librarians can be change agents outside the library”.

Stories like this from the participants of our INELI-SSAf program which has impact on our communities embolden us to train more librarians for all the countries of Africa. Your donation will help us to provide training to librarians to work in areas in communities other than libraries which will benefit the community by improving the quality of their lives.

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Folasade drives Information Campaign on dangers of plastic bags

Plastics do not decompose easily and are a threat to the soil with huge implications for food security. Plastic bags are everywhere in our communities posing serious environmental and health issues.

Folashade Adepoju, a librarian at the National Library of Nigeria saw this problem in Abuja, Nigeria and felt compelled to disseminate information on alternatives to the use of plastic bags especially as there is an absence of regulatory policies to control the use of plastic bags, coupled with lack of information on the dangers of plastic bags and their wrong waste management practices. 

Being a participant in INELI -SSAf Cohort 2 made her to understand that provision of information by libraries is a sure way of achieving the SDGs. INELI- SSAf also gave her ideas about how to engage her community and provide targeted information services that could transform her community. Her library holds series of community engagement/sensitisation sessions with children, young people and recently other community members joined to clear a waste dump riddled with plastic bags. Her library also shares learning resources on the dangers of plastic bags and trains kids on how to make simple plastic bags using Maya software for their everyday use.

Folashade spoke to over 500 kids and adults on the dangers of plastic bags during the SDGs activation programme in Abuja, Nigeria and why government should join in the fight to stop the usage. The alternatives she advocates for are the use of cloth bags, recyclable bags and paper bags for groceries and shopping. Presently, they have a video clip that is used online for disseminating information on the dangers of plastic bags –

More people in the Abuja community are now conscious of the dangers of plastic bags. Butchers and market women are ready to change from using plastic to paper bags or cloth bags. From the feedback they received from schools, children took the message home and now discourage their parents from accepting or using plastic bags. Attitudinal change is taking place as people ask for paper bags after shopping.

Folashade says “INELI- SSAf has inculcated the zeal of transforming my community into me and has equipped me with advocacy skills. My library will continue to disseminate information about the dangers of plastic bags as well as start advocacy for regulatory policies on the matter. We have written a storybook to clearly illustrate how plastic bags endanger the environment. Thank you AfLIA. Thank you INELI - SSAf for making me a bold, visionary and environment-loving librarian”

This and more are what the INELI-SSAf program does for communities through the skilling of librarians to tackle areas of need of their communities. Your donations enable us to skill people like Folasade to support their communities and assist in achieving the SDGs.

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Financial Literacy is a critical component of the UN SDG 1 “No Poverty”. As stated in Target 1-.4 “By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance”.  Rural communities in peri-urban Abuja, in Nigeria, were identified as being of limited financially literacy.  This hinders them from growing their wealth and become be successful farmers. This in turn prevents elimination of poverty.  As a community, they are excluded financially as they lack the basic financial skills needed to navigate the world of finance, money and success life.

Okwuoma Chijioke, a librarian from the National Library of Nigeria, noted that the library, as an information hub, can be a bridge between hard working farmers and financial literacy.  By helping farmers gain financial literacy skills, Okwuoma sought to ensure financial inclusion for the people of Ketti. Ketti is an agrarian community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Abuja. The community is not in the city centre, therefore lacks access to financial services. Women are particularly vulnerable.

Okwuoma Chidumembi Chijioke, is a library innovator undergoing a two-year life changing capacity building Program – INELI SSAf organized by Africa Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA).  This is a group of thirty-two(32) librarians, selected from libraries across Africa, to drive innovations in their different communities through impactful library services. The training is tied towards achieving the Africa we want through achieving the AU 2063 agenda and United Nations SDGs.

Following her training in INELI SSAf, Okwuoma conducted a financial literacy training programme for the AMAC community in the month of May 2019.  The programme was in partnership with ACCESS Bank in Abuja.  The programme included financial literacy in general, training in income generation, opening of bank accounts, training on saving money, and other financial transactions. Through this programme Okwuoma helped train a total of 19 farmers, of whom 5 were women. One of the famers has testified that the programme helped them to “bank without going to city!” Mr Sunday, one of the farmers trained, is so inspired that he now aspires to become an Access Bank agent in the area! The financial literacy training has indeed transformed the farmers by removing financial exclusion and ensuring that these farmers become part of the attainment of UN SDG Goal 1 “No Poverty”. In this way Okwuoma and her library are contributing to the aspirations of the African Heads of States “to leave no one  behind!”

The INELI SSAf programme is transforming librarians like Okwuoma into agents of development, which in turn transform the live hoods of communities. Your donations have made helped make librarians like Okwuoma continue with the kind of transformative work that helps bring us closer to achieving the Africa we want. Thank you for your continued support.

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Rebecca brings ICT training to unleash women’s potential in Lira, Uganda

It is no secret that women are integral actors in the development of any country, yet many lack the opportunities to learn new skills to contribute to their own personal or professional growth.  Titin is the Principal Officer II of the Uganda Prisons Service in Lira, Uganda. She oversees administrative tasks that keep operations smooth within the prison, but a lack of basic computer skills has made the challenging job, even more difficult. “At my senior level, [I was ashamed that] I had to incur costs of paying someone to [do] word processing for me.” On the other hand, Catherine is one of many young African women who is worried about her future. Unemployment rates are very high in Lira, and she worries that it will be difficult for her to land a job giving her limited technical skills.

Basic ICT skills can do much to help women. Yet the digital gender divide persists, as seen in developing countries where women generally have less access to the internet compared to men. Rebecca, the head librarian of the Lira Public Library understands this problem well. A very few women visit her library as most have little time away from their responsibilities of taking care of their homes and families. This motivated her to create programs that would not only encourage women in her community to visit the library more, but also help them develop their potential.

Rebecca enrolled in AfLIA’s International Network of Emerging Library Innovators-Sub Saharan Africa (INELI-SSAf) program, bringing her into contact with librarians who had a similar passion to advance their communities. In 2012, through a partnership with Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) and The National Library of Uganda, Rebecca launched a program introducing basic ICT education to women in the Lira Public Library. Through it, young women, aged 15-30, learned basic computer application skills and developed their typing skills. These new skills enabled the women to search for information online, use websites to look for job opportunities, and create résumés. Beyond this, the program creates a ripple effect, allowing the girls to help not only themselves, but their families as well, thus changing their lives for the better.

After undergoing the course, Titin was able to accomplish tasks independently. “I know word processes and I can facilitate presentations after acquiring ICT skills at Lira Public Library”. Meanwhile, Catherine was able to land a job. “I am proud”, she says. “The training has helped me get knowledge and secure a job at Bamhow Computer Centre. My fellow friends also accord me respect and I have also made [new] friends in my community”.

Your donations have made helped make librarians like Rebecca continue with the kind of transformative work that helps bring us closer to achieving the Africa we want. Thank you for continued support.





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Organization Information

The African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA

Location: Accra - Ghana
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @#aflia
Project Leader:
Helena Asamoah-Hassan
Accra, Ghana
$20,777 raised of $50,000 goal
247 donations
$29,223 to go
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