Clean, bright, and well-constructed classrooms that complement competent teachers and quality learning materials have a measurable impact on student achievement. Yet in Zambia, many schools do not have adequate space to meet local education needs. This project aims to address this issue by building a school library at Mbaya Musuma Basic School, located in Zambia's rural Mazabuka District.
In Zambia, most of the primary schools are both dilapidated and extremely overcrowded. There is a severe lack of access to supplementary reading materials in most government schools, and very few have libraries. As a result, standardized test scores in Zambia show that only 15 percent of children in Grades 1 to 4 are able to read more than a single word. In grade 6, only 3 percent of the nation's youth score at a "satisfactory" level in reading and comprehension.
This project will fund one HP-supported library in Zambia. This library is constructed next to school rooms and is created with a focus on a vibrant, child-friendly environment that promotes a habit of reading. Room to Read provides books and education materials, training and support for teachers and librarians, and collaborates with schools to ensure effective and sufficient reading time. The project will greatly benefit the students of Mbaya Musuma, who did not previously have a place to read.
Literacy acts as the foundation to all future learning. In Zambia, students are 32 percent more likely to read for leisure at home, 60 percent more likely to read for at least 60 minutes daily, and 70 percent more likely to ask their parents to purchase reading material when reading class was part of school. We partner with local communities to ensure sustainability of our libraries, and evaluations have shown that our libraries benefit a child for an average of eight years.