Transport Books through Rural Africa on Motorbike

by Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL)
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Young reader in a FAVL library
Young reader in a FAVL library

Greetings, supporters of FAVL's activities in Burkina Faso! Our mobile library project remains open, and we have received nearly $1375 (of the project goal of $5000) from generous supporters like you.   
The past few months have been extraordinarily busy for FAVL-Burkina Faso.  We embarked on a four-year project to establish and support 20 libraries in two northern provinces of Bam and Sanmatenga. Most of the “FAVL time” of West Africa director (and Santa Clara University professor of economics) Michael Kevane has been spent on helping the Ouagadougou office implement this large-scale project: refurbishing village-donated buildings, ordering furniture, and stocking books. Our efforts culminated with the February opening of the new libraries! We are happy to say things are progressing well. Just this past month we continued ongoing training for our new librarians. 
Private donors supported the establishment of another new library in Sebba, Yagha province, in the northeast corner of the country near the Niger border, which also opened earlier this year.  Thus, there are 21 new Burkina libraries supported by FAVL. Our activities in Tuy province continue and updates are available on the FAVL blog.
We are continuing to explore alternative ways to implement the mobile library project.  We need to reach an absolute bare minimum of $3000 in project funding to finance the purchase of the motorbike, fuel, and to stock the motorbike cart with a small selection of books.  So, we are 45% of the way to our interim project funding goal.  As the FAVL-Burkina team settles down into a more regular routine of managing 34 libraries, we envision soon hiring a director of the FAVL Houndé Multimedia Center, where locally-authored books are produced for all of FAVL's libraries, including the future mobile library.  The new director's responsibilities will include bringing the mobile library to a few villages in Tuy province.
We thank you for helping bring literacy to remote rural villages in Burkina Faso, and would greatly appreciate your continued financial support.

Links:

Greetings supporters of FAVL activities in Burkina Faso.  This project is still open, and we have received about $1300 out of the $5000 needed.  We will continue to explore alternative ways to implement the project.  Our activities in Tuy province continue and updates are available on the FAVL blog. 

This year 2015 has been extraordinarily busy for FAVL. In Burkina Faso, we embarked on a four year project to establish and support 20 libraries in two northern provinces. Most of the “FAVL time” of West Africa director Michael Kevane has been spent on helping the Ouagadougou office implement this project (as you may know he also has a full-time job as a university professor of Economics). We are happy to say thing are progressing well. Just this week we have done the training for 17 of the new librarians. Each commune has donated a building, which has been refurbished. Books and furniture have been ordered and delivered. We will be opening the libraries in early January 2016. Private donors have also supported another library in Sebba, so soon there will be 21 new libraries supported by FAVL in Burkina Faso.                                                                                

In Uganda, likewise, FAVL East Africa director Kate Parry has been busy (on top of her job as university professor of English). The Kitengesa Library Band (!) has already given several public performances, following generous donations of recordings of traditional Ugandan music and also of musical instruments. Kitengesa Community Library has submitted a proposal to the Yunus Social Business Foundation (created by Nobel Prize winner Mohammed Yunus) for building a guest house that would host volunteers and interns as well as researchers and tourists. This initiative would help raise revenues for the library. The Uganda Community Library Association, which FAVL supports, is preparing its upcoming annual conference in January. Interns from Douglas College in British Colombia this summer toured many UgCLA member libraries and posted descriptions to the UgCLA Facebook page. Do visit and “like” them!

Koumbia Library Users & Typical Bookshelves
Koumbia Library Users & Typical Bookshelves

FAVL is grateful to our generous GlobalGiving donors who have contributed $1,158 to this project as of October 12, 2015.  We can actually start the project as soon as we meet our interim funding goal of $2500. Why this amount? A new motorcycle (a sturdy but reasonably priced Kaiser brand) costs about $1100 (600,000 FCFA), and in order to transport books, we must also purchase a rear-mounted cart to safely hold and transport the collection. FAVL luckily has a "seed" stock of books, used in our Youth in Tuy Reads project, to serve as our itinerant book collection.  (Please see earlier project reports for more information.)  

A FAVL volunteer generously spent this past July in the town of Houndé, Burkina Faso. One of her assignments was to explore whether there was a lower cost alternative to a new Kaiser motorcycle, but she determined our original choice of motorbike is still the most cost effective.  While it is easy to suggest a far cheaper alternative -- i.e., that the librarian ride a bicycle outfitted with a book cart -- please remember that Burkina is very hot, even in the "cool" winter months.  A librarian cannot ride a bicycle pulling 45 kilos (100 lbs) of books on a dirt, deeply potholed track for a minimum of 20 km, no matter how dedicated he or she is to promoting reading.

Meanwhile, other projects continue to keep FAVL-Burkina Faso very busy. We are currently working hard to establish 20 community libraries in northern Burkina Faso with a grant from Catholic Relief Services.  The CRS libraries will begin to open in the next two months, as will a new library in Sebba village, Burkina Faso.  Our Rotary International-funded multimedia center in Houndé continues to foster local author talent and print locally produced books.  

We thank you for your support of our project to provide access to reading materials in the most remote Burkina villages.  We appreciate your patience as we raise the funds needed to make the project a success.

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Generous GlobalGiving donors have contributed $1,145 to this project. We would like to begin as soon as we get to the $2500 mark. A new motorcycle (Kaiser brand) costs about $1100 (600,000 FCFA) and in order to transport books it needs a small cart behind. We do have a stock of books that could be the seed collection, from our Youth in Tuy Reads project (see earlier reports). We have a volunteer spending the summer in Houndé town, and one of her assignments will be to explore whether there is a lower cost alternative (Before you say “bike power” remember that Burkina is very hot, and a librarian is not going to ride a bicycle pulling 100 lbs of books on a dirt, potholed track, for 20 km., no matter how dedicated she is to promoting reading.) Meanwhile other FAVL projects continue to keep us busy. We are currently working hard to establish 20 community libraries in northern Burkina Faso with a grant from Catholic Relief Services. And our Rotary funded multimedia center in Houndé continues to foster local talent and print local books.

Links:

FAVL's motorbike mobile library proposal is a continuation of a project, "Youth in Tuy Read," that FAVL completed in summer 2014.  As part of the YTR initiative, FAVL transported novels by bicycle to young adult readers in hard-to-reach areas near our existing village libraries. Unfortunately, Burkina's rural roads are in such poor condition that we cannot regularly ship books on bicycle.  In addition to providing a greater number and variety of books, this GlobalGiving project also addresses the needs of a larger population of readers, namely, adult, young adult, AND children, who wish to have access to age-appropriate books. 

As of the end of February, FAVL has raised $250, a good start, towards providing mobile library service to a dozen remote Burkinabè villages. We thank our GlobalGiving donor partners for their generous support of our project!  We need an additional $1750 in order to afford to purchase a covered "motortrike," which we will use to transport books to rural villages that lack access to books and other reading materials; our target villages have neither libraries nor bookstores. With the remaining funds, we will be able to purchase 250 children's picture books and 150 adult novels to stock the mobile library, as well as to pay for a librarian/chauffeur (driver), gas and motorbike maintenance required for safe travel on Burkina's rutted, dirt roads.

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Organization Information

Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL)

Location: San Jose, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.favl.org
Project Leader:
Krystle Austin
San Jose, CA United States
$1,490 raised of $6,500 goal
 
26 donations
$5,010 to go
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