Amazng.  The girls in Bereba library discussing health issues and connecting to the Internet with smartphones.  Very educational and empowering.  FAVL implementing the project with financing from EIFL.  If you speak French, friend the girls at the "FAVL Eifl" Facebook page.

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Dounko écrit:

Du 09 au 15 décembre 2014, j'ai participé aux Journées Internationales du Livre pour Enfants d'Abidjan en Côte d'Ivoire. C'est sur invitation de Mme Chantal Adjiman  la Directrice de la Bibliothèque Nationale que j'ai pris part.  Durant une semaine, j'ai présenté FAVL, ses activités et son champ d'intervention. Pour ces journées, un stand m'a été dédié pour présenter FAVL et toutes ses activités. Notre expérience a été saluée par le public venu nombreux pour la circonstance. J'ai participé et pris la parole pendant les tables rondes pour présenter les méthodes de FAVL dans l'implantation des bibliothèques communautaires et dans la promotion de la lecture au Burkina Faso.  Le Ministre de la culture et de la Francophonie a salué ma présence au près des acteurs du livre de la Cote d'Ivoire.  Mon stand a eu la visite d'écrivains comme Fatou Keita, Marguerite Abouet, Gina Dick Boguifo et bien d'autres connus sur le plan national et international.  Les livres du Centre Multimédia et du programme RWA ont été très apprécié. Un partenariat est en cours afin de mieux planifier la diffusion du livre et la promotion de la lecture entre nos deux pays. Je suis rentré au Burkina avec la satisfaction d'avoir partagé notre expérience avec un autre public.

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Un regard sur l'étrange destin de Wangrin

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Rahamane écrit:

couverture etrange destin de wangrin.jpgA travers l'étrange destin de Wangrin d'Amadou HAMPATE BÂ, se pose la problématique de la croyance aux sciences occultes. En effet Wangrin consulte marabouts et féticheurs pour monter des arnaques de tout genre, grugeant indifféremment ses compatriotes et les colons français, aux seules fins de s'enrichir et d'asseoir son influence. Tout comme Wangrin beaucoup d'Africains s'adonnent à ces pratiques pour des raisons multiples, certains consultent ces hommes peu recommandables pour réaliser des rêves et d'autres pour faire le mal. Il est surprenant que ces pratiques ancestrales, issues de croyances ancestrales puissent perdurer dans notre société moderne actuelle. Même certains intellectuels Africains qui ont fréquenté les grandes universités européennes et américaines n'en sont pas épargnés. Et ce ne sont pas les présidents Africains qui diront le contraire. Dans certains pays Africains on a l'impression que c'est l'irrationnel qui dirige le pays. Le cas du régime Compaoré déchût le 30 et 31 octobre 2014 pourrait être un exemple palpable. Tout cela montre que nous avons encore bien du travail pour éduquer les esprits et surtout pour empêcher la barbarie.

FAVL à Burkina Lecture

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Jacques écrit:

FAVL a participé aux activités de Burkina lecture le samedi 13 décembre dernier. Burkina Lecture est un espace culturel, une bibliothèque et des rencontres autour du livre. Le promoteur, Ousséni NIKIEMA; écrivain conteur, nous a tenus en haleine pendant deux heures d'horloge. Des échanges à bâton rompu avec un invité d'une soirée, Salif, doctorant en Statistiques vivant aux USA. Des  poèmes accompagnés de musique et un conte tiré du roman d'Amadou Hampâté Bâ «  Il n'y a pas de petite querelle » nous ont été servis. La soirée s'est terminée par une visite de la bibliothèque et des échanges avec les participants.

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Young women's health reading club... with smartphones!

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The reading clubs are underway.  Here is a nice foto of the young women at Dimikuy Community Library in Burkina Faso.

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Recent research on rural community libraries

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FAVL's mission is to promote the development of a reading culture, by developing, supporting and promoting libraries and library programs that can be adopted in other rural community libraries in Africa. This can be accomplished in part by empowering citizens to chart their own paths to a better life through access to information and improved literacy skills.

Community libraries in Africa are reflexively thought of as vital, impactful institutions in this mission.  But there has been relatively little research on how community libraries function and what their impacts are.  FAVL is proud to have collaborated on a number of research projects over the years.  We thought we would share some of those projects... a little research update, if you will.

Most recently, Dr. Geoff Goodman, Associate Professor in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at LIU Post and Dr. Valeda Dent, Dean, University Libraries, and FAVL Board member, were awarded J. William Fulbright scholarships to teach and conduct research in rural Uganda from January 2014 - August 2014.  Geoff and Valeda were based at Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi - a small village about 3 hours from the capital city of Kampala. Their research evaluated the impact of a library-based storytelling/story-acting (STSA) activity on preschool childrens' readiness to learn. The study also assessed how the health and well-being of a child's primary caregiver (including quality of life, depression, and cumulative social-contextual risk) affected that  child's readiness to learn. The researchers evaluated 123 preschool children (ages 3 - 5 years) in three literacy-relevant domains:  emergent literacy, narrative comprehension, and social competence. The primary caregivers' emotional well-being, reading/literacy habits, cumulative social/contextual risk, and sensitivity relating to the child's emotional cues were also assessed. Two UgCLA libraries - the Kabubbu Community Library and the Mpigi Community Library - served as the sites for the study. In the STSA activity, children tell stories to the group facilitator, who writes them down verbatim.  Then later on, the children actually act them out in front of the group, so the children get to see their made-up stories come to life. The longitudinal study is scheduled to conclude in 2015.

Kate Parry, another FAVL board member, is also an active researcher on reading and community libraries.  She is professor of English at Hunter College, CUNY, in New York.  She recently published an article Working with parents to promote children's literacy: a family literacy project in Uganda co-authored with Elizabeth Kirabo and Gorreth Nakyato.  Here is the abstract:

This article discusses the importance of family practices to children's acquisition of literacy and describes attempts to influence such practices through the institution of family literacy programmes. One of these is the Family Literacy Project in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, which both served as a model and provided material for a similar project at the Kitengesa Community Library in Uganda. The Kitengesa project is described in detail with particular emphasis on an exercise involving the translation of children's books into Luganda. The project as a whole and the translation exercise in particular elicited a warm response and seem to have been beneficial for both the adult participants and their children. The authors conclude that the project should be continued and extended but that more books are needed that are easy enough for such audiences and that reflect their African experiences.

Michael Kevane, another FAVL board member, published in 2014 a book, Rural Community Libraries in Africa: Challenges and Impacts, with Valeda Dent and Geoff Goodman.  The book includes lots of original research.  Kevane's chapters report on impact evaluation studies of summer reading camps, an LED solar-powered LED lamp distribution program (to encourage at-home reading), and the impact of libraries in Burkina Faso generally in promoting reading.  Kevane also published in 2012 a book aimed at the Burkina Faso academics and reading professionals, Promotion de la lecture au Burkina Faso: Enjeux et défis.  A recent research project evaluated the impact of a reading program for youth aged 15-24 on their economic preferences. An early preliminary draft is available here.

Finally, we should mention a great survey article by Espen Stranger-Johannessen Trends and Developments in the Literature on Community Libraries in Africa appeared in Libri (Volume 64, Issue 4, Pages 396-407).  Stranger-Johannessen correctly points out that focus of much research on narrow outcomes ignores an important aspect of libraries, with is to develop and foster civic action, in the sense of fostering community.  We look forward to seeing more research responding to that lacuna in coming years.
Promotion de la lecture au Burkina Faso: Enjeux et défis - See more at: http://www.favl.org/cgi-sys/cgiwrap/friendsa/managed-mt/mt-search.cgi?search=promotion+lecture+sissao&IncludeBlogs=1&limit=20#sthash.iRFRKTDw.dpuf

Le peintre maudit de Muriel DIALLO

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Djibril écrit:

Thumbnail image for Le peintre maudit de Muriel DIALLO.jpgLe car roulait à toute vitesse et dépassait les autres automobilistes. Les passagers suppliaient le chauffeur de faire moins de vitesse. Mais, l'objectif du chauffeur, c'était d'arriver dans la ville de Matingua le plus tôt possible. Malheureusement le car fit un accident. Les blessés sont transportés d'urgence à l'hôpital. Parmi les accidentés il y avait un garçonnet du nom Zak. A sa sortie de l'hôpital, le petit garçon se dirigea dans la ville de Matingua. Il rencontra un vieil homme du nom de Bila. Ce dernier hébergea Zak quelques jours. La, Zak apprit le métier de peintre dans un vieil entrepôt de la place. Les œuvres produites par Zak n'étaient pas bien appréciées par les clients. Il n'arrivait pas à écouler ses tableaux. Vivant ainsi dans la misère, Zak du se résoudre à la mendicité.

Désespéré de sa condition de vie, et couché dans son atelier, une tache rouge l'interpela. La mystérieuse tache disait à Zak de ne pas créer des œuvres nouvelles, mais se contentait à la reproduction des œuvres déjà existantes. Ce qui explique le désintéressement des gens à ses tableaux.  Après avoir reçu les conseils de la mystérieuse tache rouge, Zak se mit à créer des œuvres extraordinaires. Il devint très célèbre, son nom fut inscrit dans le livre des records comme étant le plus jeune artiste renommé. Cependant, la mauvaise compagnie entraina Zak dans la drogue et l'alcool. Une nuit, il  fut invité par ses amis dans un bar ou ils burent beaucoup d'alcool. Ivre, Zak tomba. Tous ses compagnons l'abandonnèrent. Un de ses admirateurs, Kader Bossan lui vint en aide et le transporta à l'hôpital.

News from Kitengesa Library and Uganda Community Library Association

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Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Kitengesa Community Library was able to hold another health reading camp in 2014. As in previous years, twenty students in the first year of secondary school were invited to spend two weeks in the library during the holidays, reading about and discussing health issues, learning how to access health websites through the library computers, and eating--and talking about--good food. They also learned how to grow nutritious crops and received guava and eucalyptus seeds so that they could grow fruit and firewood at home. For three years now people who have attended these camps have joined the library's Youth Leadership Group to continue learning about health and spreading the word to others.

In organizing these camps the Kitengesa library has been an example to other libraries in Uganda. This year, thanks to a grant from EIFL (Electronic Information For Libraries), the Uganda Community Libraries Association, was able to support camps in five other libraries and to provide improved internet access to four of them. Each camp had three facilitators, a librarian, a teacher, and a health worker, and they all attended a workshop organized by UgCLA in July so as to learn about how to organize the same sort of activities as at Kitengesa and to set up Youth Leadership Groups. The camps themselves took place in August and featured the same kinds of activities as at Kitengesa; each of them was visited by a member of UgCLA's Board.

Reports on the camps are still coming in, but apart from some glitches with computer equipment all seem to have gone well, with good attendance and enthusiastic participation. The librarian at the Nambi Sseppuuya Community Resource Centre summed it up by saying that the participants "expressed the wish the camp to be organized every holiday for the benefit of all young people in the area and other young people in the country. They also felt the camp should have been longer than one week."

We very much hope we can find the funds to respond to this wish, as we have done at Kitengesa, by supporting further camps in each of these libraries.

We also want to encourage you to spend 10 minutes watching an inspiring talk by two University of British Columbia students, who volunteered at Kitengesa Library in 2013 to work with deaf students who were at a nearby school, integrating their learning activities into the library.

Hommage à Norbert Zongo

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Rahamane écrit:

Thumbnail image for couverture parachutage.jpgLe parachutage par Norbert Zongo, une belle découverte, un récit plein d'émotion et de rebondissement. Un roman à lire pour comprendre la gestion du pouvoir, des présidents assoiffés de pouvoir et souvent très mal conseillés. En voici le résumé : Un coup d'état traîtreusement orchestré renverse Gouama, le « père fondateur de la nation » président de la république de Watinbow. « Guide éclairé » réussit à s'échapper grâce à un âne. Dans sa fuite il est sauvé par des étudiants qu'il avait emprisonnés pour « communisme ». Ces derniers l'aide à franchir la frontière pour la république de Zakro. Un plan est mis en place pour reconquérir le pouvoir perdu mais avec les nouveaux accords entre Watinbow et Zakro, l'ancien « père fondateur de la nation » est livré au nouveau maître de Watinbow.

Djibril writes:

Thumbnail image for Beverley Naidoo.jpgThe story begins with the two children Naledi and Tiro having their baby sister Dineo very ill. They thought, it will be better to bring Dineo to hospital, how to do so if they are penniless? Then, Naledi and Tiro planned to walk to Jo'burg in order to find their Mma (mother) working over there. They start walking and walking until a trucker reaches them. The trucker was a kind man; he let the children get on board his truck. When they arrived at the trucker's destination, the man has found a bus in destination to Jo'burg for the children; he even gave them some money for their trip. On the bus they meet a new friend named Grace Mbatha. She was going to the same destination like the children. On their ways Naledi and Tiro have learnt the discrimination between Whites and Blacks. They have learnt how white men have their buses and schools where black men were not admitted. They also learnt how black men, namely students went endlessly on strike so that they can get freedom. Naledi and Tiro managed to find the place where their mother lives and works. They explained how their young brother was suffering from a sickness. So, the mother asks her white boss few days to go back home and look after her sick child. Once at home, the mother brought Dineo to the nearest hospital. Over there, they have to follow a long queue of women entering the hospital with their patients. Most of the children in that hospital were suffering from a disease caused by the lack of food. When the nurse examined Dineo, he gave few days to the family to come back to the hospital, at that time Dineo must remain there. A few days later, the family   returned to the hospital. So Dineo recovered but he was very weak. They went home together.

Do you want to know more about the author? Visit her on line at www.beverleynaidoo.com 

I love the kids. Not the best photo. But, is that one kid wearing a punk bracelet on his wrist? What is up with that yawn? And look at those amazing booklets printed in Houndé with help from a grant from Rotary International.  So amazing.

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Développer le gout de la lecture chez les tout-petits

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Rahamane écrit :

Les enfants aiment les lectures organisées par les bibliothèques FAVL. Ces séances constituent de merveilleuses aventures pour les tout-petits. Pendant ces séances de lecture chaque enfant découvrira peut-être un nouveau personnage préféré en lisant, en écoutant et en regardant les images. A la fin de chaque séance, certains enfants emporteront certainement de nombreuses histoires intéressantes à la maison.


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He will represent FAVL, and bring some of the youth photo books and Houndé multimedia center books with him to show off our efforts.

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Why give to Friends of African Village Libraries?

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  • We like to help people read.
  • We think reading is important and good.  We can't measure just how good and important reading is.  (See below.) But consult your inner social scientist?
  • We've established and continue to support 18 libraries, as well as the Uganda Community Library Association.  Almost all of the libraries are thriving. Not all.  It is hard to support libraries in rural Africa.  If it were easy, we would not be asking you to donate to FAVL.
  • We have helped publish and distribute thousands of youth-oriented books in Burkina Faso.
  • Libraries in Uganda are well-stocked with East African published books, thanks to UgCLA and BookAid.
  • Libraries see lots of readers, throughout the year.
  • Personally, I like three books by Nigerian author Elechi Amadi. His books are out of print. Why? Because there are virtually no libraries in Africa (his natural readership) to disseminate his great novels.
  • Our blog has lots of French in it.  I guess MSF does too.
  • Come to think of it, we have booklet about Ebola in our libraries in Burkina Faso, that we published and distributed.
  • Some of our donors are very passionate about promoting reading in rural Africa.  They inspire us to think of why people should give more.  And so we write lists like this.
  • Are we effective?  More effective per dollar, certainly, than Gates Foundation, which has held a bunch of conferences about rural libraries and not actually done very much in rural Africa.  (Bitter?  Maybe a little?)
  • Do we have problems?  Uh... yeaaaah.  Like, we are all volunteers here in the U.S. and running FAVL and supporting libraries is a lot of work. We are so grateful for your support.
  • We think a library is a nice place to have in a village for those couple of kids who are really super readers and want to be inspired and moved by reading.  Tom's shoes are nice too, but we like libraries and reading more.
  • Are we anti-impact evaluation?  Not at all.  We've published a bunch of studies about our libraries.  Impact is pretty good. but pretty hard to measure without $1 million.  In fact, the typical impact evaluation study costs more than 2-3 years of our budget. 
  • Bottom line: If you think rural libraries in Africa are a waste of money and you would rather give money to random poor people in Kenya, then you should definitely do that.

Café littéraire avec l'écrivain Bali NEBIE

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Jacques écrit:

Rencontrer un écrivain et discuter avec lui sur ses œuvres a toujours été un plaisir partagé. FAVL a eu la primeur de le faire avec Bali NEBIE, auteur du roman Le roi du Djadjo paru aux éditions Kraal en 2012. Pendant deux heures d'horloge, on a revisité la vie de Gnama, acteur principal du roman.  La sorcellerie dans la confrérie des hommes lions est une société secrète avec ses règles.  Elle distille la peur au sein des communautés dans le but de régir un ordre social.Robert, un citadin, natif de Layou, face aux exactions du Djadjo, décida de convoquer Gnama, tout puissant prêtre du Djadjo à la gendarmerie.  Sa culpabilité fut retenu et la justice lui condamna à 10 ans de réclusion criminelle.

Cette œuvre pose la problématique des pratiques qualifiées de sorcellerie dans les sociétés africaines.  L'auteur invite les intellectuels africains à un débat sur la question. Guy de MAUPASSANT nous donne des éléments de réponses en arguant que:"On a vraiment peur que de ce qu'on ne comprend point".

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David Baldacci: Libraries are the mainstays of democracy

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A nice short interview in the New York Times... there is a great Twitter picture of Baldacci with President Obama, who dropped by a bookstore where Baldacci was signing books.

I was a library rat. Libraries are the mainstays of democracy. The first thing dictators do when taking over a country is close all the libraries, because libraries are full of ideas and differences of opinion, all the things we say we want in a free and open society. So keep 'em, fund 'em, embrace and cherish 'em. Growing up, I loved the series of biographies of famous people, but which chronicled only their childhoods. It made me think anything was possible with my life. Beloved characters mostly involved animals with human characteristics. I could never get enough. My psychiatrist says he's very close to an answer on that one.

HT: FAVL friend Penelope Hartnell

Swahili Children's Literature in Contemporary Tanzania

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Nice article by Flavia Aiello Traore.  The full text is here, in Journal des Africanistes

I found an interesting work, Kipofu mwenye miwani myeusi [The blind man in sunglasses] by Ben Mtobwa, one of the most beloved writers in popular literature (Bertoncini Zubkova, 1989: 53). In this detective story, the main characters are two children who start to investigate a blind man. They eventually discover that he is a policeman and help him in his investigation. Many children's books follow this trend: Lab a msichana shujaa [Laba, heroic girl] by Marcell Lotto, a story about a young girl who courageously defeats some armed criminals who want to steal her family's harvest. In another book, Bibi mwenye macho mekundu [The lady with red eyes], we find a theme which has been very common in Swahili literature since Ujamaa, namely the condemnation of superstition and the belief in witchcraft. Once again the main characters are two children, Tina and Musa, who save their grandmother from being killed by a man who is convinced that she is a witch who has poisoned his daughter. The man is supported in this belief by some local medicine men, who also point out that the old lady has red eyes. In reality, though, the daughter died because she had not received appropriate vaccinations, and the poor old lady has red eyes because she has cooked over a wood fire all her life.

Merci à International School of Ouagadougou (ISO)

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Rahamane écrit :

Le mercredi 26 novembre 2014 l'Association Amis des Bibliothèques de Villages Africains a reçu un don de la part de l'Ecole Internationale de Ouagadougou (ISO). La cérémonie de remise de chèque a eu lieu dans la salle de conférence de la dite école en présence de plusieurs élèves et de certains parents d'élèves. Ce chèque d'un montant de deux cent mille (200.000) franc CFA a été remis aux représentants de FAVL (Molly, Jacques et Rahamane) par le directeur Sean Goudie de ISO.

A cet effet FAVL tient a remercié l'équipe dirigeante de ISO pour ce geste, et tient également à leur rassurer une utilisation efficiente de cette somme d'argent. FAVL réitère toute sa gratitude à ISO car, grâce à ce don des livres seront accessibles à des lecteurs dans certains villages du Burkina Faso.


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FAVL Blog

Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, FAVL Burkina Faso representative Koura Donkoui, FAVL Burkina Faso program manager Krystle Nanema, and FAVL friends Emilie Crofton and Elisee Sare.

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