Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren

by Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL)
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Provide reading opportunities to schoolchildren
Mobile library in action, Dec. 2020
Mobile library in action, Dec. 2020

In the past year 2020, FAVL received just over $1180 in donations for this project. Most of the funds were received in the last month of December. We thank the many donors!

We are planning then to use these funds to continue to pay the salary of the "animator" who drives the mobile library and organizes the visits. Last year we had a great animator who regularly took out the mobile library. He recently accepted another job, and so in December we recruitred a new animator, who is doing very well.  The animator is paid about $100 per month (it is a part-time position) so your donations cover the expenses for 2021.

On regular library activities, the FAVL blog has been filled in recent months with news of activities from various libraries and programs since October when activities resumed after the end of the Covid19 lockdowns and restrictions. Librarians in the Tuy region have resumed monthly gatherings. The FAVL representative in Burkina Faso, Sanou Dounko, 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 December. Over in Ghana, CESRUD library coordinator Paul Ayutoliya 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. 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.

A group of young readers
A group of young readers
A favorite book about Soundjata!
A favorite book about Soundjata!
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One of the favorite books in the BMP
One of the favorite books in the BMP

Over the past month, the BMP (Bibliotheque Mobile Pénélope,) has been going out five days a week and visiting schools and some other locations, offering young schoolchildren opportunities to read books, do coloring and drawing activities, and work on puzzles. We thought we would share some recent photos from the outings. School is set to resume in Burkina Faso in October. The BMP will then establish a regular schedule to visit schools during lunch and after school hours. One priority for the BMP is to restock with new children's books and more puzzles. FAVL has been lucky in that the current driver and animator of the BMP has promised to continue on for at least another six months.

Drawing and activities with the BMP
Drawing and activities with the BMP
Some readers visit the BMP
Some readers visit the BMP
The BMP in action
The BMP in action
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Readers at Ecole A in Hounde, July 2020
Readers at Ecole A in Hounde, July 2020

Libraries and most other public activities in Burkina Faso were closed due to COVID19, in late March 2020. The government in July decided to start reopening, and the office of the mayor of Houndé decided to permit activities to resume. Officially, the pandemic has largely spared Burkina Faso, with only a few thousand cases, total, as of late July. It is impossible to know at present how accurate the official case tallies are.

FAVL-Burkina Faso, in consultation with local authorities, decided to reopen activities in mid-July. Schools remains closed until October. The mobile library first outing was a "practice" run to several schools to let students and teachers in the area know that the mobile library would resume regular visits. In each schools a few children and some teachers were present. In the second week of activity, more students were present.

The mobile library was "re-supplied" with about 60 books for use by young readers. Thanks for your support for the mobile library over the years!

Readers at Ecole B, Hounde, July 2020
Readers at Ecole B, Hounde, July 2020
Reading in the mobile library, July 2020
Reading in the mobile library, July 2020
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Puzzles with mobile library, Burkina Faso
Puzzles with mobile library, Burkina Faso

Thanks for your support of this project over the past months. As you might imagine, the COVID-19 virus has been put a hold on most library activities. Libraries in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda have been closed following recommendations of local authorities. One of the last activities done in Burkina Faso was to create a book about COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the virus. The book was distributed to the last visit to villages in Tuy province mid-March. Instead of reporting on recent activities, then we have a selection of photos from the last month (February) when libraries were open. We are looking forward to eventual re-opening of libraries as soon as prudent.

Kids reading, mobile library, Burkina
Kids reading, mobile library, Burkina
Drawing time, mobile library, Burkina
Drawing time, mobile library, Burkina
Drawings! Mobile library, Burkina Fas
Drawings! Mobile library, Burkina Fas
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Mobile library on the road to Hounde
Mobile library on the road to Hounde

In our last report we noted that the security situation in Burkina Faso had worsened and so FAVL was moving the mobile library (BMP, or Bibliothèque Mobile Pénélope) to the town of Houndé. A partnership agreement with the office of the mayor was finally signed in November. $200 worth of new books was purchased at the end of November at the International Ouagadougou Book Fair (FILO), thanks to a generous donor. We had an advertisement for recruiting a librarian/driver, but unfortunately only one person responded and they were not qualified. So we have to continue to try to recruit someone who can begin operations. It is a half-time position (20 hours a week) and many educated young people are constantly looking for full-time, longer term work. So it is hard to recruit successfully. This moving of the library has taken a long time. We are frustrated, and know that donors also are frustrated. Patience, though, is the way to effect some good.

Some brief updates about other library support: The Kitengesa library in Uganda continues to thrive. This year a health reading camp was held for adult women, focusing on women’s cancer. Another reading camp was held for teenagers, and a further women’s reading camp is planned for later in the year. The Kitengesa Library Band continues to practice and perform.

In Burkina Faso, we are currently supporting 34 community libraries. Terrorist activity in northern Burkina Faso unfortunately has meant that four libraries are temporarily closed due to danger (schools and administrative buildings are targets.) For the libraries that are open, we continue to do the best we can to provide regular assistance to mayors and rural councils in managing the libraries, supply select libraries with new books, train librarians, and offer salary support for some of the librarians. Our Burkina team continues to produce photos books for young readers as well as books written by young people and illustrated with local illustrators.

In Ghana, our able partner organization CESRUD and its library coordinator Paul Ayutoliya continue to manage the three libraries of Sumbrungu, Gowrie-Kunkua, and Sherigu. These libraries regularly receive 30 or more visits a day- about 1,000 visits each month. They are open for night reading, as they are now connected to electricity. Donors this year helped fix the fans (it gets to 110 degrees during the day!). After school reading programs were held in September and are planned for this summer. All three libraries received several hundred new books over the course of the year thanks to support from Biblionef Ghana and the Ghana Book Trust.

Updates and lots of photos from all three countries are regularly posted to the FAVL blog

Mobile library at Hounde mayor office
Mobile library at Hounde mayor office
Speedy little mobile library
Speedy little mobile library
Coming soon to Hounde
Coming soon to Hounde
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Organization Information

Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL)

Location: San Jose, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FAVLafrica
Project Leader:
Michael Kevane
Co-director, West Africa
San Jose, CA United States
$7,649 raised of $8,500 goal
 
103 donations
$851 to go
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