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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 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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The BMP library in action in Kaya
The BMP library in action in Kaya

The secruity situation in Burkina Faso has continued to worsen, and so FAVL is planning to bring the mobile library to the town of Houndé, per the previous report on the mobile library project (now called the Bibliothèque Mobile Pénélope). This planning is taking much longer than expected, primarily because the staff at the municipal council are very slow to finalize a partnership agreement. The partnership agreement is necessary for four reasons.

  1. First, the mobile library is most effective when it visits schools, during reading time, recess, or immediately after school. That is when most readers are "willing and able" to spend time reading. Access to school yards requires some formal cooperation with the office of the mayor (the municipal council has some authority over schools) and also the regional ministry of education officials.
  2. Second, the mobile library is highly visible in the town, and in case there are any "incidents" with the library (accidents, arguments), it is desirable to have the full support of the office of the mayor.
  3. Third, for longer-term functioning of the mobile library, the mayor has indicated he would like a town employee to be the *animateur* who operates the mobile library, with FAVL contributing technically and financially. FAVL is in favor of this model!
  4. Fourth, and prosaically, the courtyard of the council buildings is the safest place to park the mobile library, since it is always secure and have a night guard. So official permission is needed to park the mobile library there.

While we wait for the office of the mayor and the regional education ministray officials to authorize activities, we are replenishing the book stock of the mobile library, repainting the shelves, and doing regular maintenance on the tricycle. We hope to have the library operating early in the new school year, which starts October 6.

The BMP
The BMP
Hoping to see the BMP start in Hounde in October
Hoping to see the BMP start in Hounde in October
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Mobile library garaged in Kaya
Mobile library garaged in Kaya

The mobile library has been unable to function for the past two months (may and June) due to a big increase in terrorist activity in the region. the mobile librarian is from Pissila, a village about 15 km from Kaya, and the village has seen several attacks. So the librarian has been unable to safely come to Kaya to work with the library. The FAVL team is in Kaya this week (June 24-26) planning for perhaps moving the mobile library to southwestern Burkina Faso.  We will keep donors to this project informed!

In other FAVL news:

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 continue to support 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. We completed 22 summer reading camps last summer 2018, serving more than 550 4th and 5th graders. The 25 kids selected for each camp got a big injection of age-appropriate books, learned many new games, discussed hygiene tips, and made masks and comic books. We hope that many of them will become life-long readers.

In Ghana, our able partner organization CESRUD and its library coordinatorcontinue to manage the three libraries of Sumbrungu, Gowrie-Kunkua, and Sherigu. These libraries regularly receive 30+ visits a day. 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.

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

Mobile library waiting new assignment!
Mobile library waiting new assignment!
BMP in action in April 2019
BMP in action in April 2019
BMP in action in April 2019 v2
BMP in action in April 2019 v2
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With book in front of BMP
With book in front of BMP

The mobile library continues to visit schools in the town of Kaya three times a week.

Here is a translation of the short report by Ouédraogo Bernard, the BMP operator (and also librarian of Pissila), for his recent outing:

Activity report of the mobile library of 27 March 2019 at the communal school C. On March 27, 2019, the BMP was at the Communal school C at 9:20 am. About thirty students participated in the activities of the day. Among the activities carried out was individual reading which always the flagship activity because the principal objective of the mobile library is to give had time to read the book that pleased him or herself. We then read together Fatou Keita's Le boubou du Père Noël. In addition, we organized a game of hopscotch. This part also pleased children. They found this hopscotch more useful because in addition to distraction there is instruction in counting and basic arithmetic. In addition, the children were interested in the puzzles that are part of their favorite games. Overall, can say that the output went very well, and ended around noon.

FAVL continues to support 34 libraries in Burkina Faso, 3 in northern Ghana, and the Kitengesa Community Library in Uganda.

Individual reading
Individual reading
Hopscotch - marelle
Hopscotch - marelle
Puzzles and Fatou Keita Pere Noel
Puzzles and Fatou Keita Pere Noel

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Students reading by mobile library
Students reading by mobile library

The mobile library (Bibliothèque Mobile Pénélope, or BMP) started operating about one year ago, and regularly visits schools and public places in the town of Kaya. A typical outing lasts about 2 hours and involves 20-30 young readers. Mats are spread on the ground, kids have access to books to read, and the librarian organizes games.

The ongoing costs for the library are fairly modest: the librarian (also half time librarian in neighboring village of Pissila) receives a stipend of $8 (4,000 FCFA) per outing, that covers the cost of his transport to Kaya and return, and his time during the activity of the day. (Note, after subtracting his costs and the time, this is about $10 per day, for an equivalent annual salary of about $3,000, so it is very modest). The motorcycle library also needs regular maintenance, oil changes, gas, and we pay a small hotel 7500 CFA a month for parking the library in the hotel courtyard that has a security guard.

The FAVL team in Burkina Faso is working on more formal outreach to schools and the mayor's office to develop greater local support for the mobile library.

Access to quality books is limited
Access to quality books is limited
Graphic novels (BD) are favorites
Graphic novels (BD) are favorites
The BMP librarian also organizes games
The BMP librarian also organizes games
The mobile library needs regular maintenance
The mobile library needs regular maintenance
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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
$6,277 raised of $8,500 goal
 
73 donations
$2,223 to go
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