Update on this project
Over the last few months, libraries in the School Libraries program in Zambia have been receieving book and educational material deliveries, and have been able to start setting up the libraries. After they are fully set up, schools begin to engage students and families in the new library. This includes hosting orientation meetings with communities, parent meetings, and reading and literacy events, all of which begin to occur in September.
In addition, school employees have undergone three trainings in preparation for running the library, including: Library management Skills training, Basic Construction Techniques and Project Management training, and Building Maintenance training. By completing these trainings, school librarians, teachers and community members learn the necessary skills for library management, which helps to ensure the success of the new library.
Program Highlight: Challenge Grant model in Zambia
In our last report, we described Room to Read’s efforts to ensure project sustainability and longevity through involving families and communities, often as library volunteers. Below is a more detailed description of Room to Read’s Challenge Grant model, which highlights the importance of stakeholder involvement during the actual library and school construction process. This section describes how it functions specifically in our Constructed School Libraries program in Zambia.
Room to Read’s Challenge Grant model is central to our program, especially in Zambia, where our School Construction and School Libraries programs work together to establish constructed libraries. Constructed libraries are stand-alone library buildings while our classroom libraries are rooms within an existing school that have been turned into a children’s library. Once we choose a constructed library project site, community members must provide reasonable, but significant, contributions to the project to match Room to Read’s funding. Through our Challenge Grant, we engage communities in the project and build the skills that they will need to maintain the new infrastructure. Our Challenge Grant consists of three main components: Community Participation, Community Contribution, and Maintenance.
In Zambia, communities participate in the constructed libraries project through the formation of a School Construction Committee (SCC). The SCC brings together various stakeholders such as school leaders, teachers, villagers, and commune council chiefs/members to work with each other and with Room to Read to construct and establish the library. The SCC’s primary roles in Zambia include raising the required community contribution, co-managing the construction project with Room to Read, overseeing the project site during construction, monitoring quality and progress, and keeping accurate financial and technical records.
Thanks to your generous donations, the school is able to have a spacious, print-rich environment in which its students can develop a love for and the habit of reading.