The mobile library (Bibliothèque Mobile Pénélope, BMP) has begun operations again in August 2021, with visits to schools in Houndé town. The team also met with school directors and town authorities. School session starts in October, so for now the visits are informal. The plan is that in October each of the 7 schools will have a “reading club” of 20 students, who will commit to participating after school for a reading session. The team in Houndé is also preparing printing of about 20 new titles of local books produced by the Houndé multimedia center team. In the coming month the BMP will also be replenished with puzzles and illustrated French children’s books.
The mobile library in Houndé, Burkina Faso, known locally to the FAVL team as the BMP (Bibliothèque Mobile Penelope) has been on hiatus while the newly hired librarian obtains an official drivers license. The mobile library is built out of a "tricycle" (a large motorcycle with attached small library), and driving it is quite difficult, and all drivers must be licensed. (There are many accidents for these vehicles by young male drivers!). While we await his license (a process that takes several months as he must attend driver education classes, we are replenishing the inventory of books and games of the mobile library. We expect it to be ready to go in July.
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.
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.
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!
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