March 2009 Archives



FAVL rep. SARE Elisee gave a short presentation to some Burkina Faso PCV... including Adelaide Schwartz who took over from Meghan Coughlin, supporting the library of Niankorodougou. Please help us support these PC volunteers as they work to establish libraries in their villages.
Bonjour Michael,
J'ai fait mon expose cet apres midi au bureau des Peace Corps avec une dizaine de volontaires
J'ai comme prevu commente le diaporama.et jai eu une petite discution avec eux apres cela.
Les questions ont essentiellement portees sur :
Le salaire du bibliothecaire, comment faire pour le payer.
Combien d'argent faut - il pour etablir la bibliotheque
Fonctionnement de la bibliotheque apres le depart du (de la ) volontaire
Etablissement d'une bibliotheque dans une petite ville (Orodara)
A propos du salaire j'ai expliquer le fait qu'il faille le prendre a compte et ce, de facon durable,au moment meme de la recherche de financement pour l'etablissement de la bibliotheque. Quand au fonctionnement sur le long terme j'ai aussi explique le cas de Mehgan.qui a reussi a impliquer Adelaide (elle etait presente ce soir). Et de tout facon, avec l'implication des communautes a travers les comites de gestion, c'est un premier pas vers la durabilite de la bibliotheque.
Pour le montant necessaire a l'etablissment je me suis refere au manuel et au depliant donc environs 2,5 million qui peuvent variee d'une region a une autre en fonction du cout des materiaux. En plus il faut prevoir environs 600 mille chaque annee pour assurer le salaire du bibliothecaire et le fonctionnement la bibliotheque.En ce qui concerne l'etablisement d'une bibliotheque en ville j'ai explique le fait que nous n'intervenons que dans les villages, ou les moyens d'avoir acces a la lecture sont vraiment limites.
Ensuite Adelaide et une autre volontaire ont fait aussi un expose qu'elles ont preparer sur quelquespartenaires intervenant en Afrique dont FAVL, Book for Africa, Library Skeleton etc. elles ont explique les moyens actions de ces structures et la nature de aides qu'elle apportent.

Teresa Jolly Holt points people to a great opportunity!
Fulbright Grant to support a Lubuto Literacy Fellow

The Lubuto Project is encouraging qualified library professionals to apply for this Fulbright position to develop the literacy program and to teach children’s literature and library services to children at the University of Zambia, to both education and library studies students.

While this position is with the University of Zambia, via the Fulbright Program, the candidate is expected to be working cooperatively with and in support of the Lubuto Library Project.

Qualified candidates who are interested in the position are encouraged to discuss their application with Jane Meyers, president of the Lubuto Project. Please contact her via webmail@lubuto.org.

The preferred candidate will have a Ph.D. in a library-related field and expertise in teaching library and information science. As Fulbright award #9109, the position will include a salary and living stipend for the candidate and his/her family for one year.

Anyone interested in applying should take the following steps:

1. Review eligibility requirements for the Fulbright Scholar program at: http://www.cies.org/us_scholars/us_awards/Eligibility.htm

2. Contact Dr. A. Ng’and, Registrar, at the University of Zambia's Registrar's office (registrar@admin.unza.zm) to request a letter of invitation in application for the position.

Note: The opening is for the 2010-2011 academic year. Applications will not be accepted until early March 2009.

Microbook prices just came down

A new service from HP called MagCloud is offering to print at 20 cents a page... in full color? And staple it? Woah.

For the Designers: Getting Started by MagCloud Admin

Now that you have the content for your magazine, you'll need to lay it out and create your PDF. First thing's first: you need to set up your document. MagCloud accepts PDFs that are 8.5" x 11", and trims them down to 8.25" x 10.75". The exact dimensions can be found on the MagCloud website and in the MagCloud Publisher Guide. However if you'd rather not set up your document yourself, we've done it for you in the following templates.

Important to Note: the Adobe InDesign® and QuarkXPress® files have bleeds extending beyond the page, but the other programs don't allow this. Instead, the Adobe Photoshop® templates have guides set up and the remaining templates have mirrored margins set to show the bleed area on an 8.5"x11" page. Keep in mind that anything placed within these margins will be trimmed off and not appear in the printed magazine.
Anne-Reed Angino and Meredith Gerhardt have been working on this, and it is coming along!!! The map opens looking at the U.S.- you have to click on the "view larger map" at the bottom to see Africa... sigh.


View Larger Map
Boy if you thought the radical critique had little merit, wait until you read the other side...

Many people are talking about Dambisa Moyo's Dead Aid. I haven't read it (hey, when reading Coetzee and Le Clézio, why bother with Moyo?) but many people I respect have... and their response is pretty uniformly negative. Here's David Roodman:

Last month I blogged a New York Times interview with Dambisa Moyo, whom the paper aptly dubbed the “Anti-Bono.” A youngish woman who grew up in Zambia and holds degrees from Harvard and Oxford, she launches a frontal assault on foreign assistance in her new book, Dead Aid. For her, ODA is DOA. I worried in my post about her simplistic interview answers, which implied that aid has nothing to do with microfinance even though donors helped make it what it is today. I ended carefully:

I look forward to reading her book, where perhaps she recognizes these complexities.

Well, I did, and she doesn’t.
I love reading this kind of stuff, even if not Africa related, because it forces you to ask a similar/related question (CV, this question will sound familiar to you!): Would FAVL's small low-key community libraries, largely controlled by locals (who admittedly do very little local controlling, mostly because they don't know much about what to control in their local library, because... they've never had a library before!)... back to earth Michael, return from digression please.... so, would these library support efforts be vulnerable to the radical critique somehow... is FAVL "corporatizing" village knowledge, turning village kids into fodder for the plastic-toy consuming textile factory working machine? Isn't the village, low input, sustainable, organic (well, a little), slaughtering pigs that ate your own poop and cooking them in a mud-brick oven where mud was made using donkey's poop (yes, poop is a big thing in a village- go live there!).... Michael, stop digressing... so is FAVL corporatizing the village????

Anyway, here's the article that inspired this brief reflection- fun to read in its entirely...
Muscular philanthropy--that's what Fred Hess calls the kind of Walton-Broad-Gates phalanx that has as one of its goals the charterizing (rhymes with cauterizing) of American public schools, beginning first in the urban schools where voucher efforts have been unsuccessful so far. Bill and Melinda, the darlings of the neoliberal set, are a bit queasy regarding vouchers, having the ongoing history that they do with the education establishment.
From Kate Parry:
And to put you in a good mood, here is a picture of the last Children’s Day at the Kitengesa Library. It was on February 21, and the children came with their teachers in a minibus from Buwunga, three or four miles away. These Children’s Days are beginning to bear fruit: last Saturday, when the library was quiet, a couple came in who had first come on one of these occasions.

Baobab Prize!

From AllAfrica:

Botswana: Kubuitsile Scoops Yet Another Prize

Gasebalwe Seretse

19 March 2009

One of the leading local authors, Lauri Kubuitsile has won yet another prize. Kubuitsile won first prize for her story, Lorato and Her Wire car in the annual Baobab Prize. The prize is designed to encourage the writing of African literature for young readers.

According to the organisers of the prize, it has been birthed from a recognition of dearth of fictional African literature that focuses on the youth and encourages them to explore and develop an interest and pride in the African continent.

"I am quite excited about this prize. I am really trying to improve my writing for children - and somehow I seem to be drifting in that direction," said the Mahalapye-based author in an interview with Showbiz.

Lorato and Her Wire Car was competing in the 8-11 year-old readers' category with other stories namely, Good in the World by Marion Drew (South Africa), The Story of My Life, Fiona Moola (South Africa), Abena and the Corn Seed by Vivian Amanor (Ghana), and Live and Let Live by Jenny Robson (South Africa). Robson used to be based in Botswana and her works are well-known locally.

Lorato and Her Wire Car is a nicely crafted story about a young tomboyish or rather assertive girl called Lorato who sets out to show her male counterparts that she is a force to be reckoned with by making a beautiful wire car. Her nemesis is none other than Motshereganye who taunts her: "Look at that! Whoever heard of a girl playing with cars?"But the determined girl is not deterred by the rude remarks that she gets and continues to impress. The equally determined Motshereganye soon 'dethrones' Lorato by making a wire car that can light and he becomes the envy of everyone.

Reflections on FAVL

Kate Parry writes from Uganda:

All the news in the US at present is about the economic crisis and the financial problems that people are experiencing as a result. People here worry about money too, but their concerns are of a different order. I’ve just heard a story of a boy in a village called Tekera, not far from Kitengesa, who broke his leg and needs 1.8 million shillings ($900) to get it set properly. The family doesn’t have anything like that money, so he will probably be crippled for life. Another story: a woman in our own village (Lwannunda, near Kitengesa trading centre), who is in her sixties and responsible for several orphaned grandchildren, was given a valuable exotic cow by an international development organization that is based in the US. The cow was in calf and was expected to produce some 40 litres of milk a day, which would translate into an income of 300,000 shillings per month (c. $150) – a tidy amount in this part of the world. But the cow required a lot of grass, which had to be cut, and about 30 litres of water a day, which had to be fetched, and if the children were late coming back from school, the woman couldn’t manage it. Then the cow got sick, so the women sold her goats to pay for the medicine. The time came for the cow to give birth; the woman sold her chickens to pay for the vet to attend her. Then the cow died, and the calf, naturally, died too. The woman is now poorer than ever. Dan, the librarian for FAVL’s library at Kitengesa, told me this story as an example of why the more than $1,000,000 that this organization has pumped into our sub-county has not produced any visible sign of development.

But the Kitengesa Community Library – which has cost us about $40,000 to date, including the money we’ve put into our new building – has! (See www.kitengesalibrary.org). For one thing we have our old building, which is still in use, and the books; and the place is very active, as I’ve seen over the past few days, which I’ve spent working there. There’s also a link with the University of British Columbia, which sends a constant stream of volunteers. Besides working with NGOs such as the AIDS organization TASO, these volunteers donate money to a local committee that puts it into projects – one such project being preparing the garden for our new library (the idea is to have lots of beautiful trees and shrubs so that people will pay to have their wedding photos taken there). There is also a tree nursery on the new library land set up by FADA (Forestry for African Development Association), which employs a number of boys so that they can earn money for school fees –another result of the British Columbia connection. Then I heard a story on Saturday about a boy who is orphaned and is living with my informant’s family. There’s no spare money in the household, but the boy has apparently learned how to grow passion fruit by reading agriculture books in the library and cultivates them on land that he rents. He’s able to pay his school fees and has even bought himself a bicycle from the sale of his fruit.

There are other libraries too: I’ve just received an invitation to visit a new one that is in Ggaba, just down the road from our house in Kampala. Then on Saturday I’m visiting another new one at Budiri in, I think, Iganga District (Uganda keeps creating new districts, so it’s difficult to keep up with the geography); that one is a direct consequence of the workshop that FAVL’s Ugandan affiliate, UgCLA (Uganda Community Libraries Association – see www.ugcla.org). organized in July on how to initiate community libraries. From there I’ll move on to Busolwe, where I will talk with the library committee about the link that I’ve set up for them with two libraries in British Columbia. The Busolwe library will be receiving some CAN$3000 with which to pay a librarian and buy new books, and in return will send the British Columbian libraries information about Busolwe and library activities and will host a couple of volunteers. My friend Eric Morrow of the Maendeleo Foundation (which is dedicated to providing computer access to young Ugandans – see www.maendeleo.org ) is also coming to Busolwe that weekend to conduct a computer workshop for primary school teachers in the district, and I will be helping with that. We’ll finish on Monday afternoon, after which I’ll go to Mbale, further east and north, to visit yet another new library, or, rather, resource centre, which is being initiated in a village called Bududa. I have yet to find out what inspired that, but the organizers seem to have found out about FAVL by trolling through the Internet and so wrote to us for help. They wrote to our collaborating organizations, Under the Reading Tree and the Osu Children’s Library Fund as well, so we agreed that I should visit the place and report back so that between us we can decide what each organization can contribute. It will be great if one can help support a librarian, another provide books, while UgCLA can offer training and support.

Nor will this be all. While at Kitengesa last weekend, I was visited by a senior district administrator, a man who comes from the far west of the country, near the Congo border. He is anxious to set up a library in his own home village, and came to me for advice on how to do it. He had visited the Kitengesa Library before and had seen how active it is and how it is contributing to the development of the area. So in due course we will travel to his village together and look into how the building that he already has can be converted into an active institution for disseminating information – and UgCLA will begin to build up its membership in the Western Region.

All this constitutes a strong argument for what FAVL is doing – carrying out small scale library projects at the village level. It is important that the amounts of money be small, for then they can be absorbed without waste, on the one hand, and the projects can be emulated by local people on the other. So thank you, everyone, for your support!

“Deep in the village”

Kate Parry writes from Uganda:

Late in January, a conference was held by one of UgCLA’s members, the Uganda Adult Literacy and Community Development Association, or URLCODA. The Association is based in Arua District, in the extreme north west of the country, and the conference was held “deep in the village” as they put it here, at a church in a place called Agobia in Aroi sub-county. The core participants were URLCODA’s members from various parts of the District – children and adults, ranging in age from three to more than seventy , who attend literacy classes together. But other conference participants came from much further afield: there was a team from Kamuli District in the eastern region, a whole busload from Kampala, a person from Kabale in the south west, and even a couple of people from Congo.

My role was to deliver the keynote, on “Forms of Literacy”. So I spoke of the different kinds of literacy and emphasized how they were all related to talking. It fitted well with the speech of the guest of honour, who was the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Arua. He spoke brilliantly, with lots of funny stories, but also a serious message about how people couldn’t just sit back and be sorry for themselves because they were poor; they needed to take action, do things for themselves and hold the government accountable for what it was supposed to do (the particular issue was tractors, badly needed in this area because the soil is too hard to cultivate with hoes in the dry season, and when people wait for the rains to begin cultivating, the wet season is over before they have time to plant the crops). There was also a presentation by a representative from the Ministry of Education’s Directorate for Educational Standards, and a very practical talk by a woman from the National Council (Conference?) of Women Living with AIDS (NACWOLA) about the importance of writing a will. There were lively responses to all the talks, especially to the last one.

Of course, we were well fed, and there was lots of singing and dancing. At the moment when we arrived we were greeted with ululations and women jumping up and down and waving tree branches. In short, it was an occasion for great excitement, which I am sure continued after I left. Unfortunately, I had to return to Kampala, but the conference continued, and at the end they formally opened URLCODA’s Community Library. The library was made possible, in part, by UgCLA’s Small Grants Scheme, which provided money for books; and the opening was attended by the Public Affairs Officer from the American Embassy, which provided the funds for the Small Grants Scheme.

A final outcome of this event may be the foundation of yet another community library in Uganda. The man who drove me around in Arua, Mr. Yassin Amandu, is the Director of the Islamic University in Uganda’s campus in Arua. He told me as he saw me off that he hopes to set up a library in his own village of Maracha, also in Arua District. It is a good example of how UgCLA can leverage the goodwill of Uganda’s professionals, offering them an opportunity to contribute to the development of the villages where they were born.

Un jour a la bibliotheque 5/7/08

De Sanou Dounko:
Le 5/7/08 l'ai reçu la visite d'une vieille femme et sa fille a la bibliothèque. Apres avoir expliqué ce que c'est la bibliothèque et ses avantages, la femme a abonnée sa fille. Sa fille avait quitte l'école depuis 2000. Cette femme a souhaite longue vie a FAVL. Dans la soirée du même jour un vieil homme peulh est venu pour écouter l'histoire de Soundjata Keita. J'ai pris le livre de Soundjata et fait toute l'histoire.

On 5/7/08 I received a visit to the library of an old woman and her daughter. After explaining the library and what it was for, the old woman signed up her daughter (annual subscription to borrow books is about 30 cents for students). This woman wished FAVL a long life. That same evening, an old Peul man (the Peul are the livestock herders of the region) came to hear the story of Sundiata. I took the book and we read it together. (The libraries have beautifully illustrated children's books of the Sundiata story, done by Konaté Dialiba).

From tukopamoja:

In The Use and Misuse of Computers in Education: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Colombia, by Felipe Barrera-Osorio and Leigh L. Linden, the authors examine a program that

aims to integrate computers, donated by the private sector, into the teaching of language in public schools. The authors conduct a two-year randomized evaluation of the program using a sample of 97 schools and 5,201 children. Overall, the program seems to have had little effect on students’ test scores and other outcomes. These results are consistent across grade levels, subjects, and gender. The main reason for these results seems to be the failure to incorporate the computers into the educational process. Although the program increased the number of computers in the treatment schools and provided training to the teachers on how to use the computers in their classrooms, surveys of both teachers and students suggest that teachers did not incorporate the computers into their curriculum.

Two thoughts on this:

  1. This reminds us - and I’d say “as if we needed reminding” except that we do - that you cannot just dump inputs into schools and expect changes. If inputs don’t get used well, they don’t matter. Even though this seems like a no-brainer, many development programs are very narrow: build a school or give some books or …. Same problem, I’m afraid.
  2. That said, a quick look at the tables suggests to me that the authors may be confusing a noisy result with a narrowly bound zero result. In other words, there seem to be differences in outcomes between kids who got computers and those who didn’t, but there is so much variation in both groups that we cannot be sure. What this really means is that we don’t know if there is an effect, that there might be a heterogeneous effect, or there might not. (Either way, clearly this program wasn’t a raging success.)
Chelsea spent 2 months in Burkina, and did an amazing job (we've posted about her before). She sent in a few thoughts about her stay that future volunteers in Burkina might find useful. She is spot-on about the librarians. We primarily recruit librarians from the villages, and it is soooo hard to change their "mentalité" to be as dynamic as we would like. It is happening, but at a snail's pace... Also last we we started doing annual performance evaluations, so we are linking pay to performance much more than we did in the past.
STAFF
1. Viviane – Pros: An extraordinary asset to the FAVL team. I could not have accomplished many of my tasks without her and when I fell ill with Malaria, my parents couldn’t have hoped for better care. Cons: Being on time was sometimes an issue when it came to making a bus, train or plane.
2. Dounko – Pros: A most involved and intuitive librarian. Completely adequate and educated to more than fulfill his role not only as librarian, but role model and mentor for FAVL’s members. Cons: None. The only challenge that seems to sometimes work against Dounko are all the jobs he has in keeping the support and communication moving; a job he seems to be doing often alone.
3. Librarians – Pros: All the other librarians seem to know their jobs and how to do it only to the point of keeping it organized and functioning at an adequate level. Cons: With the exception of Dounko, the librarians lack the drive, enthusiasm, and passion to run each library. Their jobs seem to be nearly a means of paycheck, rather than for the higher cause of furthering, improving, and extending the education of children, adults, and all villagers alike. Story times, Read-A-Thons, simple activities, such as games and the arts need to not only be promoted, but successfully carried out in a timely matter and fashion, on a regular, consistent basis. More pride should be taken in library materials, such as presentation and daily dusting. If the librarian, a guardian of the books and other library materials, does not take pride and care with these materials, how can they expect its members to? While I strongly believe that each and every one of FAVL’s librarians have the potential to be more than they are, they need to have their eyes opened wider to the value and power they hold in their position.

Accommodation
1. Ouagadougou – The FAVL house/office in Ouagadougou is very clean, cool (with newly installed air conditioners), and vibrant with harmless little lizards, water bugs and ants keeping you company. After settling-in and overcoming the jet lag, reading in the common area was very comfortable and sleeping was quiet and restful. Salimata is a wonderful housekeeper who is willing to cook if you prefer. The guards are very nice and the shack shop next door has a proprietor that is too nice to not visit everyday. The internet café is only a five minute walk away.
2. Bereba – The village is a very hot, bug infested place, but quaint once used to and full of life. All the villagers are more than welcoming and willing to help. While the four bedroom cemented compound can become a like a sauna at night from soaking up the day’s sun, I found that you eventually pass out from exhaustion anyways.

Costs
1. Paying Ahead – This was the best thing I could have done. There was hardly ever any confusion on what I was paying for and no one ever asked me for money or came to me with a bill later. I paid $1,000 dollars to FAVL before leaving, which I think just about covered my daily food and most travel expenses for three months. I paid for any extra things I wanted to do or have, like gifts and eating out at tourist restaurants. My bus tickets for official FAVL business came out of the $1,000 I paid in advance and personal trips back to Ouagadougou I paid out of my pocket. I budgeted $3,000 for three months, ($1,000/month) and only spent $1,500 ($500/month) and came back with gifts for my entire family.

PROGRAM DESIGN
FAVL is sufficiently organized when it comes to getting the job done. While I am a person who very much enjoys the comfort of structure and a plan, I ended liking the ideas and tasks given to me by FAVL, where I was on my own at figuring out the plan to making it all happen. Although improvements can always be made, in a place such as Africa, while every thing functions great on FAVL’s part in the states, there are just some things one can’t prepare for in the field. Any obstacle was taken care of or handled properly, in due time and professionally. While I don’t actually see this as a con or a pro, I just thought it would be good to point out that for a non-profit organization, helping one of the poorest countries in the world, FAVL has their bases covered pretty well.

Miscellaneous
My overall experience with FAVL was fantastic and FAVL is a program I look forward to volunteering for again and again in the future. Their staff is more than adequate, welcoming, helpful and creatively open to the improvement of their libraries, literacy and the program’s organization.
The African Literature community at Librarything have a long list filled with suggestions and commentary. One entry:
It seems no one has mentioned one of my favorite African writers - Amos Tutuola whose book A Palm Wine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts are both wonderful books. They may be attempts at writing folk tales in the magic realist style, and questionably authentic, but I love them.
Also wonderful, and relatively new is the Whale Caller by a famous writer Zakes Mda.Wonderful and not new is the Nobelist Nadine Gordimer whose anti-apartheid books were powerful.And Coetzee 's Disgrace is one of the most touching and moving stories of the South African racial dilemma.
And tukopamoja had his Africa reading challenge here.
If you are looking for ideas, here is a list of the 100 best African books of the 20th century, collected at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (many of the books in other languages are available in translation; just search for the author). Here are some of my favorite books dealing with Africa. I will be posting regularly about my experience with the challenge on my main blog page. [If you don't have a blog, people are also posting about the challenge over at Shelfari.]

J.M. Coetzee's Youth

My sister passed on to me the short novel/memoir... I found it depressing, of course. The prose is extremely straightforward, but never sparkles (whatever that means!). More importantly, I found it unrealistic. It seems very forced. There is much genuineness in the portrayal of the young man leaving South Africa for England, and setting out on life alone, eventually working as a computer programmer, and I certainly "know" the various moments of the young man's life, but honestly, no human that intelligent has such a dull interior life, who is Coetzee kidding? Every thought the young man has is a 'derived" thought from something that he was reading, and he never seems to have any thoughts of his own. Absolutely no humor, irony, sarcasm in the young man's thinking. Could it really have been that way? The book feels like a joke on the reader- a formal exercise. (For deeper analysis, see this essay by Donald Vanouse.)

Meghan Coughlin is now in the U.S. and new PC volunteer Adelaide Schwartz has taken up the torch... and she posted some great stuff on the Nianko blog where you can read the full account.

Within my first month at site, it was easy to understand how the library continues to expand in members and projects… this strong sense of community is a big reason. The library is amazing. I cannot stress what a phenomenal impact it is having on the community, myself included. The library acts as a central location for all ages regardless of native tongue or reading level to congregate and interact. I owe a great part of the ease in my transition to the library which presents an ideal place for seeing new faces and interacting. For a country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, it is inspiring to see how much pride Niankorodougou has for its library and associated events. Before even entering, it is customary to greet the librarian, Moussa, with a salutation. Once inside, the library’s friendly environment encourages people to stay and read. The great news is that now the library won’t be the only place for readers to gather in Niankorodougou. We broke ground for the reading hanger the first week of the new year which was an excellent way to put yet another foot forward in increasing Niankorodougou’s literacy rate. Located directly adjacent to the library, the expansion can now host a slew of community activities including weekly story time. Also expanding is the book catalogue within the library. Brian Rhodes, Niankorodougou’s Girls Empowerment PC Volunteer donated two French children’s books along with a calendar full of pictures of readers all ages using the library and smiling and just this week, new books were purchased in Bobo-Dioulasso to help encourage next month’s school reading competition. Results from the new year’s first reading competition were very positive and these new book additions hope to spark even more interest in the months to come.
We received the following this morning.
Dear DEBORAH L GARVEY:
I am pleased to inform you that your application to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices is approved.
The following is your record of authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices of postage:
AUTHORIZED ORGANIZATION NAME: FRIENDS OF AFRICAN VILLAGE LIBRARIES
Yay! It's depressing though that I get excited about things like this. But really it represents that the group of FAVL friends who are passionate about supporting village libraries in Africa has grown so much that it is worth our while to pay the annual fee to get the reduced postal rate. So, thanks all of you who are joining the network, and look forward to your non-profit priced newsletter in May!
1. Pick a single community and tell me a few of the most striking facts about literacy, learning, and access to knowledge and books.
When I first got to know the community in 1997 there were lots of “signs of literacy” in the trading centre – advertisements, signposts, graffiti – but hardly any more substantial reading matter: no bookshop/stationer, no newspapers. In the three primary schools that I visited the teachers all complained that they had no books, though one school said they’d been given a bunch but they’d all been stolen from the school’s store. The reading and writing classes that I observed were based entirely on the blackboard. The one secondary school in the immediate area (Kitengesa Comprehensive Secondary School) was very new at the time and had only half a dozen books or so. I did a survey of the students at this school and of one class at a secondary school a few miles away (St Martin’s Secondary School, Narozali – which did actually have more books, thanks to a recent Rotary Club donation), asking what printed material the students had at home. Most reported some – two or three items – but only one reported as many as ten. The items reported were mainly school textbooks (they were probably stolen from the schools), the occasional Bible, and single issues of newspapers, especially the Luganda paper Bukedde.

2. Tell me about the libraries that have been built in these communities.
The present building (but we’re putting up a new one) is just one room, with solar panels. We have four regular laptops, one XO laptop (of the “One laptop per child” project), and five little keyboards for teaching typing skills (they’re a recent donation). No internet access. The book collection is somewhat over 3000. We do lend books. Last year we had 6099 visits, i.e. an average of 117 per week, but that is probably an underestimate since people often forget to sign the book. These visits are concentrated during school days, because the secondary school students are in and out of the library all the time. Few of them come though during the holidays.
3. What have you observed in terms of change. As in: children and adults are becoming increasingly comfortable with the concept of a library (lending or not).
We have lots of programs and receive significant numbers of outside visitors. A Ugandan NGO called Ka Tutandike sent a troop of primary school teachers to visit last Fall, and a group of 28 people came from Rwanda because they’re interested in setting up community libraries there (I’ve told Betsy about this and hope to meet the leader of the group when I’m in Kigali next week). A number of adults in the village are regular visitors, and primary schools ask to be invited to our Children’s Days. Children are also coming by themselves. We had a Children’s Day on Feb. 21 for a particular school, and last Saturday, when I was there, I saw some children come in from that same school.

4. Do you feel that the introduction of a library to your village has had a positive impact on society, literacy, the economy of the village, or other.
It has encouraged general reading, especially among the secondary school students, and has introduced some of the primary school students to books. Many of the adults have told me that the newspapers enable them to know “what is going on in the country”. It has fostered the growth of a Women’s Group, which has become a microfinance organization. It has attracted the interest of outsiders, especially Canadians associated with the University of British Columbia, which has in turn brought volunteers, and their money, to the village. The school has grown rapidly, which the school’s Director attributes at least in part to the library. But I don’t want to be too starry-eyed about this: there are still plenty of people in the area who never read, and most remain very poor.

New publication by Kate Parry

It is available here in gated form... but not so difficult to join.

The Story of a Library: Research and Development in an African Village
Teachers College Record
Kate Parry — 2009
Background: Although education in Africa is expanding, little is being done to support learners’ literacy outside the school. Rural people have little access to books and so cannot develop their reading skills.

Purpose of Study: The project described here has both an educational and a research purpose: to complement formal schooling by making reading material available to students and others, and to document the development of new literacy practices by investigating and recording readers’ preferences.

Setting: The site is near the trading center of Kitengesa in Masaka District in Uganda. It is a rural area where most people depend on subsistence farming and the sale of food and cash crops. Many have been to school, however, and basic literacy is widespread.

Intervention: The project has consisted of the establishment and development of a community library, in cooperation with a local private secondary school. It is supported by funds that the author and other supporters raise in the United States and Canada.

Research Design: The research is a case study that follows an action research model. The intervention was initially based on observational research together with consultation with representatives of the community; it was carefully documented from the outset and the findings used to inform the project’s further development.

Data Collection and Analysis: The data consist primarily of the library’s records of members joining, books borrowed, and users’ declared purposes in coming to the building. The written records are supplemented by observations of behavior in the library and interviews with users.

Results: Local responses indicate that there is considerable potential for developing a reading culture in the area. Story books have proved to be most popular, but school textbooks and newspapers are also much in demand. The project has attracted interest from foreign visitors, who have used the library as a base for initiating other development projects.

Conclusions: The Kitengesa experience demonstrates that a community library is a cost-effective way of supporting literacy development and enabling research on literacy practices. It also provides a base for other grassroots development projects. The suggested way forward is to build on this experience by encouraging the growth of similar libraries throughout Uganda.
Yes, even in remote villages in northern Ghana, this is something that has to be done... here's an example... Interestingly, the government of Burkina Faso moved to starting annual performance evaluations and goal-setting for civil service employees... most understand it as some kind of "americanization" project... It is indeed somewhat tedious, but what is the alternative? I once heard an HR person on the radio say would be better for employees to write their own performance evaluations...
It is my pleasure to write a short summary evaluation of your performance as librarian of Sumbrungu Community Library over the past year. I have been directed to write this evaluation letter to you by Professor Michael Kevane, president of FAVL, and by the CESRUD Board. The main objective of this, is to give you a guide about how well you are performing and how to improve your performance as librarian.

You are hereby requested to read the letter carefully and speak with me about it. You may also discuss the letter with Michael directly, and with Rex Asanga and other board members of CESRUD. Over the 2008 year, you have done a good job as the librarian in fulfilling your basic duties of opening the library on time and respecting the opening hours. The library has been kept neat. Books are kept in good order on the shelves. A reading club was established among other.

However, there are some of the areas that I feel you could have done more better to improve library services and make the library a resource for young students in primary school and also for adult readers, specifically:-
- Neatness of the library, you some days fails to clean or dust the furniture in the library.
- Opening hours, the library was sometime closed down with permission from Authority and no notice pasted you spent little time in the library and leaves it in the care of an unskilled person.
- Reports writing: - Your reports were always late to be submitted and forwarded without excuse from anybody.
- Organisation of library programme: - Some of the existing programme was not stable. It was on and off programme.

These are the few among others which where discussed at librarians monthly meeting. I hope you will take this as a challenge to improve upon them this 2009 year. After consultation with professor Michael and Mr. Rex Asanga we have determined that your bonus for 2008 should be amounted to Forty Ghana cedis (GH¢40.00) only. Congratulation, and all the best for the coming year 2009.

Building innovations for new libraries






Better bricks and arched roofs is a perennial dream... some Santa Clara students traveled to Ghana near the libraries around Bolgatanga. They did spend some time in Sherigu talking with people about the replacement library (remember the roof blew off the library last June).
Three senior civil engineering students experienced a Christmas break unlike any other they had ever known when they traveled to Africa to help members of Gambibgo, a rural village in Ghana, begin the process of building sustainable housing.

Betsy Leaverton, Jessica Long, and Julianne Padgett took on the task of designing durable and affordable housing as their senior design project. “Villagers currently use a combination of mud and dung and tin or thatched roofs for construction of their homes, which need to be replaced every three to five years,” said Padgett. “Our job was to find an inexpensive alternative that would withstand the heavy rainfall and flooding that causes the mud houses to disintegrate.”

Read the full article here.
Samedi 28 Février , il est 11 heures 30, je suis a Boni, j’avais décide d’avoir aujourd’hui même une séance de dessin de 30 minutes avec quelques enfants du village. À ma grande surprise, point de garnements ! J’avais pourtant demandé deux jours à l’avance, qu’on me réunisse une dizaine d’enfants avec lesquels je comptais avoir un petit atelier de dessin. Malheureusement cela n’a pas été fait. Yacouba que j’ai rencontré m’a dit que Donkui avait certainement oublié de lui en parler mais qu’il peut s’arranger pour réunir quelques élèves demain dimanche. Yacouba en profite pour me montrer l’évolution de travaux de la bibliothèque. Le dernier ouvrage réalisé et le hangar. Il dit que ce hangar n’est que provisoire et que Dounko lui avait fait la suggestion de construire un hangar sous forme de paillote avec de la chaume comme dans les autres bibliothèques. Yacouba me dit que plus tard ils feront cela avec les bancs en ciment. À l’intérieur de la bibliothèque, les étagères et les tables sont déjà disposées il ne manque plus que les livres. J’y laisse les cartons de livres que j’ai achetés. Après cette visite à Boni, je pars a Houndé ou je retrouve Dounko nous convenons de nous rendre le soir même à Boni pour y laisser les sandwich-boards qui se trouvent au siège de FAVL et disposer les livres.

Plus tard, Dounko, Adama et moi repartons à Boni. Sur place, nous déchargeons les sandwich-boards. Je montre les cartons de livres a Dounko. Nous sortons les livres et nous les classons sur les étagères. Entre temps, un groupe d’enfants est arrivé, environs 15 enfants ayant entre 10 et 14 ans. Je décide alors de dessiner avec eux, je les fais asseoir et leur donne des feuilles et des crayons, je dilue de la gouache (couleur) j’ai acheté la veille avec un peu d’eau dans des petits récipients en plastique. Les enfants presque pour la plus part dessinent des masques. 10 minutes plus tard je suis submergé par un attroupement d’enfants qui s’est soudainement formé tout autour des dessinateur, qui voulant voir ce qui se passe, qui négociant avec un camarade pour dessiner a son tour. Après une première vague de dessinateurs, je récupère les dessins et je fais asseoir un autre groupe d’enfants tout aussi enthousiastes. Vu le nombre croissant d’enfants, je propose a Dounko d’organiser une autre activité qui puisse occuper ceux qui ne dessinent pas encore. Il organise alors une séance de question-reponse. 18 heures, nous arrêtons. Rendez-vous est pris avec Yacouba demain matin, pour une séance de travail en vue de peaufiner les derniers détails des préparatifs pour l’accueil de l’Ambassadrice des Etat Unis.

Dimanche 1er Mars, Dounko, Donkui, Adama et moi sommes arrivés vers 9 heures. Il y’a quelques enfants de la veille qui sont revenus. Comme Yacouba n’est pas disponible, je donne du papier et des crayons aux enfants et c’est parti pour une nouvelle séance de dessin. Nous recevons la vite du préfet de Boni. Il apprecie l’initiative de la bibliothèque et l’invitation de l’ambassadrice, il souhaite neanmoins que demain, on accorde la parole au Secrétaire Général du Haut Commissaire.
Au-dehors un ouvrier est en train de fixer l’enseigne « Bibliothèque Villageoise de Boni » Plus tard Yacouba arrive. Nous nous réunissons donc Donkui, Dounko Yacouba et moi sous le hangar et discutons des préparatifs, et des aménagements a apporté au programme que la marie avait élaboré. C’est là que, Yacouba souligne le fait qu’il ne serait pas poli de faire des discours a en point finir et qui risqueraient très vite d’ennuyer Madame l’Ambassadrice qui vient pour visiter la bibliothèque. Trois interventions sont donc retenues, celui d’un responsable coutumier celui du représentant de FAVL et celui du maire de Boni. Donkui ayant été désigné pour assurer la présentation. Yacouba a prévu a l’animation, de la danse traditionnelle, du balafon et de la danse de masques.

Lundi 2 Mars, jour de la visite l’ambassadrice, Alidou est venu nous prêter mains forte, nous procédons à une disposition plus visible des livres d’auteur féminin et ceux traitant de la question de la femme et de la jeune fille. Nous classons les plus pertinents sur les deux sandwich-boards que nous disposons un juste a l’entrée et l’autre un peu en profondeur dans la salle. Il est 9 heures passé, les élèves mobilisés par leurs enseignants, ont fait deux longues files d’accueil sur la route menant a la bibliothèque. Yacouba reçoit un coup de fil de la secrétaire de l’Ambassadrice l’informant qu’elle sera la d’un moment a l’autre. Alors il me suggère de partir l’accueillir à l’entrée juste à côté de la plaque ou il est écrit « Bibliothèque Villageoise de Boni » à 150 mètres. L’ambassadrice arrive enfin elle est accueillie par une immense foule de villageois sortis nombreux pour l’occasion. Le maire de Boni et quelques conseillers municipaux sont aussi à l’accueil.
Après la cérémonie d’accueil et les différents discours, l’ambassadrice fait une intervention fortement applaudie par la foule. A¬près les danses et les réjouissances, place a la visite guidée de la bibliothèque dirigée par Dounko et Alidou. Dounko explique en djoula a quelques habitants du village ce que c’est qu’une bibliothèque, comment on vient y lire ou emprunter de livres et l’intérêt que cela représente pour leurs enfants. Pendant ce temps, l’Ambassadrice fait quelques photos avec les femmes du village et répond a quelques questions des journalistes . Elle regarde ensuite les masques de Abdoulaye. Puis c’est le rafraîchissement chez le maire. Après le rafraîchissement l’Ambassadrice visite le village.
En quittant Boni, Madame l’Ambassadrice a exprimé sa tristesse de devoir quitter une terre si accueillante qu’est Boni.

Nous retournons a la bibliothèque, pour une mise au point rapide. Dounko devra venir quelques jours dans la semaine pour assurer les taches du bibliothécaire en attendant qu’on recrute le bibliothécaire.

Elisee Sare
Kate Parry is at present on a visit to Rwanda and Burundi, and she writes from Kigali airport:

I have this morning been visiting the library of the UN International Criminal Tribunal in Kigali. It focuses on the subjects of law, human rights, and war crimes, including genocide, and offers print materials on these subjects, unpublished theses and dissertations, and access to the internet. It also shows films and videos of the proceedings that continue in Arusha against the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide. Besides serving law students, lawyers, and researchers, it provides materials to the general public, members of which often want to know what happened to their own families. It also runs ten provincial centres where, again, people can get information about the Tribunal’s proceedings. Here, then, is a different perspective on libraries: they are providing information to promote reconciliation – and by providing information, in writing, about matters that are of the deepest concern to people, they must also be promoting literacy, in a particularly effective way.

Yesterday I visited the library that was set up a year or so ago by Betsy Dickey, of Ready to Read and a leading member of FAVL’s East Africa committee. The library is flourishing: it was full of children when we arrived, all busily reading (many in English!), and one little girl read some of her book aloud to me. The librarian, Emmanuel, runs a regular story time and a creative writing workshop, and they have a computer centre. Best of all, the government was so impressed by the library that it’s put a whole lot of money into rebuilding the school. But the library is not just a school library, Emmanuel says: other members of the community are beginning to use it, and so, despite being in the city, it is furthering FAVL’s philosophy of serving African communities by providing information.

Betsy is now working on setting up another library at Rwinkwavu, where the medical organization, Partners in Health, already has a hospital. She is well supported by PIH (though of course she has to raise the funds) as well as by the relevant government ministries.

These libraries are not FAVL libraries, but they are already loosely affiliated to FAVL through Betsy. We hope, too, that they can become part of a Rwanda (Community?) Libraries Association which can work collaboratively with UgCLA.

Libraries and women's health

| 1 Comment
Deb Garvey writes:

This New York Times' article on fistulas (internal injuries suffered by women in developing countries who lack access to peri-natal health care), reminds us of the importance of the long-term goal of FAVL: its mission to build and support sustainable libraries for the long run.

One of FAVL's village libraries is located in Mvumi, very close to Dodoma, the setting of this disturbing article. FAVL's library model fosters long-term development and improvement of girls' lives: by stocking school books that help a child stay in school and encouraging a love of reading, we help young girls complete more education, reduce the likelihood of early marriage and the risky childbearing that follows.

Read the full article here: After a Devastating Birth Injury, Hope

Here is the proposed 'bare minimum' 2009 budget for Kitengesa Community Library in Uganda. We think it gives a pretty good idea of the $3,000 recurrent costs of running an excellent small community library. It is an underestimate, of course, because part of the reason that Kitengesa runs so well, and has such an impact, is because Kate Parry helps out so much, and her "labor" is donated. Other libraries would not be so lucky. Part of our mission at FAVL is to create the inexpensive management infrastructure that can substitute for people like Kate and myself. Expanding and rotating the book stock is another area that is difficult to budget for, because over the course of the year various opportunities present themselves, and FAVL typically evaluates each book purchase opportunity on a one-off basis. Included in the budget also are the expenses for finishig most of the work on the reading and computer study center that Kitengesa is building.

It is worth reflecting on the American book trade of the 19th century... A fine place to start is Sarah Wadsworth. In the Company of Books: Literature and Its "Classes" in Nineteenth-Century America. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2006. xiii + 278 pp. $80.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-55849-540-1; $24.95 (paper), ISBN 978-1-55849-541-8.

An extract from Donald K. Pickens' review on H-Net:

One of the delightful surprises of Wadsworth's text is her analysis of Louisa May Alcott's career. Alcott was more than the sweet narrative that is Little Women. This is no criticism of the novel, but a recognition that Alcott, more than Twain, was creatively able to move in this segmented market, producing sequels that sold (p. 46). She knew her readers and, like the other literary artists discussed in In the Company of Books, Alcott wanted to write beyond the social expectation of the market.

Wadsworth's treatment of the connotation of "high brow"/"low brow" is balanced. There was a "near obsession with the cultural status of books, reading, and various types of readers" (p. 98). Publishers overran the market with cheap material. Critics claimed "cheap," in both senses of the word. By subscription and by a series of volumes such as "Blue and Gold," the coffee table book made its appearance. Some of these (and it is true to this day) were to be seen but not read. By century's end the door-to-door subscription had come to the end. The most successful example of that marketing device was Twain's help in selling U.S. Grant's account of the Civil War.

Cannot recommend this enough

I just finished Alan Garner’s “Tom Fobbles Day”, the third of his Stone Book quartet. Yesterday I had read "The Stone Book." These tiny novellas- about 60 pages each, are beautifully written masterworks. Even though their main characters are children, and in child-like mysterious situations, filled with portents of destiny, they are not really for children, except those who will truly appreciate exceptional writing.

Don't ask me why...

But I was reading:

Susan Groag Bell "Medieval Women Book Owners: Arbiters of Lay Piety and. Ambassadors of Culture." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 7, no. 41(1982)

and really, it is very interesting! There were so few books available. And they weren't even real books- just collections of parchment or vellum. The women owning books were typically nobles. The books were largely devotional- one imagines them being used as talismans more than anything. But Bell also plays up the "solace" that women of that era probably found in these devotional books. Imagine yourself living in a nasty brutish world (as so well described by Ken Follet, Pillars of the Earth, with only one book to read. So... is it the same in an African village?!

After the saving, comes the reading

I am so tired about outraged and shocked debates over the appropriateness of not the "Save this or that" movement... people involved in these movements, and their critics, should move right away to donating and volunteering for long-term institution building... like FAVL.
Aujourd'hui j'ai rencontre Jen le matin; Amelie et Kait dans la soirée. Toutes filles du corps de la paix désireux d'établir des bibliothèques dans leur communauté respectivement a Bougounam, Pobemengao et Bani. C'est toujours les questions de savoir si FAVL a un fond pour aider au financement des frais d'établissement d'une bibliothèque de village. J'ai expliquer comme d'habitude que FAVL n'a pas les moyens de financer une bibliothèque.Mais qu'on peut apporter tout l'appui technique nécessaire a l'établissement d'une bibliothèque villageoise.

Nous avons ensemble parcouru le manuel que j'ai élaboré sur "comment établir une bibliothèque de village ? "Kait a voulu savoir les coûts estimatifs des réalisations prise individuellement, notamment le bâtiment central, les étagères, les WC, le Hangar etc. Je leur ai dit que je vais les envoyer cela plus tard mail car n'ayant pas encore fait un bilan des travaux de Boni. J'ai quand même préciser que les coûts que je les transmettrai ne seront en réalité qu'estimatif vu que les coûts des matériaux et des travaux peuvent varie d'une région a une autre. J'ai appelé Donkui qui va me donner de renseignement concernant cela par mail.

Ils m'ont en outre demande si FAVL n'avait pas dans quelques bibliothèques des activités génératrice de revenuequi pourrait éventuellement servir a un auto financement des bibliothèque. J'ai poliment explique que nous faisons de la lecture publique et que nous n'avons pas encore (a ma connaissance) expérimenté cela. Elles voulaient en outre savoir quels sont les donateurs de FAVL et, si je peux leur donner quelques références afin qu'elles les approchent pour d'éventuels financements. J'ai répondu qu'il serai judicieux qu'il te pose le problème pour avoirde justes informations.
Pour le reste de l'année 2009 on a quoi sur notre programme?
1) Assurer le bon fonctionnement de Boni, surtout cadre personnel
2) Etablir bibliothèque modèle pour enfants a Dimikuy, assurer bon fonctionnement... je veux voir des carreaux en mosaïque! Le soleil, au moins!
3) Continuer à développer les capacités des bibliothécaires (encadrement en dessin, contes, animation, accueille)
4) Trouver fonds pour des camps de lecture en ete (plutôt a moi et Elisée, mais peut-être coopération de région de Tuy aussi)
5) Si on a les fonds, organiser des camps (Dounko et Halidou seraient ils capables de "prendre les reins"?)
6) Si on trouve des fonds, engager une autre personne comme animateur régionale pour complémenter Dounko (avec les camps, etc.)
7) Préparer pour programme d'étudiants universitaires Sept-Dec (au nombre de six) (Responsable: Kevane/Elisée)

[From the U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso website]
On March 2, 2009 Ambassador Jackson and Mr. Patrick Bondé, Mayor of Boni, co-dedicated the brand new library of Boni, sponsored by FAVL, Friends of African Village Libraries.

She was welcomed by the representative of the traditional chiefs, Mr. Bondé Yacouba, Master Mask Carver, the Mayor of Boni, Mr. Patrick Bondé, and the coordinator of FAVL.
Ambassador Jackson was warmly received by a large crowd composed of women, scholars, and traditional chiefs. After the welcome remarks by the chief of Boni, and the Mayor’s speech in which he expressed appreciation for the visit and efforts of United States in the development of Burkina Faso, Ambassador Jackson gave her remarks. She emphasized the importance of libraries and of education to the future of the country. She donated books about the United States, dictionaries and a copy of “The Audacity of Hope” in French by President Barack Obama.
The ceremony was marked by the traditional dance of young girls and women, the performance of local masks and the music of “ballafonists”.

The Ambassador and the Mayor co-inaugurated the library and the librarian lead the visit through the new library, visited the local mask museum, and a traditional house of Boni.

Has no relation to reading....

But I still can't get over this picture. How on earth can the non-profit sector, of which FAVL is a tiny, humble part, ever successfully improve the well-being of the bottom billion if the for-profit sector wreaks havoc on the economy? Hello, calling all economists! Can one of you please explain this amazing rise and fall of one of the world's most important commodities, whose production and consumption is pretty stable.... Wait! I'm an economist! (Actually Jim Hamilton at Econbrowser offers lots of commentary on the oil market.). I promise no more non-reading posts.





Allocution De '’Ambassadeur Des Etats-Unis D’Amérique Lors de l’Inauguration et du Don d’Ouvrages à la Bibliothèque de la Commune Rurale de Boni

2 Mars 26, 2009

Lorsque que je suis arrivée au Burkina Faso il y a trois années de cela, ma première visite

à l’intérieur du pays était à Béréba pour inaugurer une bibliothèque construite par une organisation Américaine dénommée « les Amis des bibliothèques des villages africains ». Ensuite en 2007, j’ai fais la même chose à Dohoun. Aujourd’hui, c’est avec un grand honneur que je viens ici pour inaugurer une bibliothèque à Boni, qui est mon tout dernier voyage à l’intérieur avant mon départ définitif du Burkina Faso le 7 mars.

Les Amis des bibliothèques des villages africains est un réseau de personnes et de donateurs engagés dans une gestion et un soutien de long terme aux bibliothèques des petites communautés en milieu rural en Afrique. L’organisation forme des partenariats avec des groupes de communautés locales pour fournir des bibliothèques, des livres et former des bibliothécaires. Je voudrais remercier Monsieur Michael Kavane, le fondateur de « Amis des bibliothèques des villages africains « et Msr Bonde pour m’avoir invité à Boni.

La bibliothèque de Boni a été financée par l’Eglise Episcopale Cupertino de St Jude en Californie et par Matt Powers et sa famille. Je voudrais aussi mentionner le soutien des amis de la bibliothèque de Swansboro de Caroline du Nord dont ma belle-mère est membre.

La Fondation New Field de San Francisco a fait une contribution pour faire de la bibliothèque, une bibliothèque féminine avec un accent mis sur les livres écrits par des auteurs féminins Burkinabé tels que Bernadette Sanou, Monique Ilboudo, Mariama Ba avec d’autres livres sur les jeunes filles. Il y aura deux femmes lecteurs qui aideront les jeunes filles à lire.

Au cours de mes trois années passées au Burkina Faso, j’ai visité et soutenu beaucoup d’écoles et de bibliothèques pour mettre l’accent sur l’importance que les Etats-Unis d’Amérique accordent à l’éducation et la lecture. Nous avons tous la responsabilité de faire en sorte que chaque enfant aie accès à l’éducation, une éducation qui conduira à une vie heureuse et meilleure. Quand nous disons « chaque enfant », nous devons pensons à chaque enfant, qu’il soit garçon ou fille, riche ou pauvre. Les enfants instruits grandissent en des adultes qui ont plus de responsabilités à travailler, à supporter leurs propres familles et à participer entièrement à la vie de leur pays. Les enfants et les adultes instruits peuvent contribuer positivement dans la vie de notre monde.

Malheureusement, plusieurs enfants à travers le monde n’ont pas accès à l’éducation et à l’école et la plupart des gens n’ont pas accès à une bibliothèque. Ce problème est accentué en Afrique subsaharienne. Le peuple des Etats Unis croit en l’avenir de l’Afrique. Nous savons comme vous que l’éducation et la lecture sont vitales pour un avenir meilleur. C’est pourquoi nous sommes là aujourd’hui pour donner ce lot d’ouvrages. Et c’est pourquoi aussi, les Etats Unis d’Amérique finance 43 millions de dollars pour la construction et l’extension d’écoles à travers le Burkina Faso pour permettre l‘accès des jeunes filles à l’école.

Le Burkina Faso est embarqué dans un processus de décentralisation. Les services locaux y compris les bibliothèques, seront sous la responsabilité des communes locales. J’exhorte les maires, les conseillers et les leaders des communautés à mettre l’accent sur les bibliothèques communales, d’en discuter lors des réunions de conseil, à les visiter, à donner l’exemple aux étudiants en utilisant les bibliothèques. Mais le plus important, s’assurer que les bibliothèques sont bien entretenues et qu’elles sont utiles.

Monsieur le Maire, Monsieur le Prefet, Association BIENIEN, Msr. Bonde Yacouba, peuple du Boni, merci pour l’accueil chaleureux. Félicitations pour les efforts communitaire, avec le generosite des Americaines a travers « les Amis des bibliothèques des villages africains » pour le mis en ouvre de cette bibliotheque de al Commune Rurale de Boni.

Un Mossi proverb dit, "Nug bi yend ka wuk d zom yé" Une seule main ne ramasse pas la farine. ("you cannot collect flour with one finger"). Seuls, aucun de nous ne peut rien faire ou accomplir beaucoup. Mais ensemble, nous pouvons faire de grandes choses. Je vous souhaite un succès dans vos études ici à Boni et vous remercie pour cet accueil chaleureux que vous m’avez réservé. Merci beaucoup.

Circulating in the Interwebs, is the 1895 Kansas 8th grade graduation exam... including:
Orthography (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono,super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd,cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane,fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced andindicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Read more....

Why they called it the pearl


Lush Uganda with its red soils... from Kate Parry.

From Kate Parry. A floor is coming soon!
Whenever I occasionally read the books that Elliot is reading, just for a quick evening of entertainment, like tonight, when I read Patrick Carman's Rivers of Fire, the second, I guess, of his Atherton books, and I find a charming though clunky prose styling, reworking of the Pinocchio story, not as good as Spielberg's AI, which tops my list, I do wonder why such easy to write books aren't being produced by African writers adapted to African settings. I mean, the market for books in Africa has to be bigger than the market that confronted Jules Verne 150 years ago. So where are the authors and the publishers? I mean, complex novels of the post-colonial condition are fine, but for goodness' sake write some children's books, will you? Chinua Achebe, as I noted previously, did his time with the excellent, if a trifle boring, Chike and the River.

What do books do...

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An intelligent commentary by Ethan Zuckerman on a research presentation by Pippa Norris on cultural cosmopolitanism and exposure to globalizing media... would be nice to do this on a smaller scale and ask about values at the village level, comparing kids in villages with libraries to those without, controlling for the frequency of kungfu movie nights etc. in the village.

Professor Pippa Norris of Harvard’s Kennedy School, is focused on “Cosmoolitan Communications” for her forthcoming book, titled “Cultural Convergence”. Working with Ronald Inglehart of the World Values Survey, she’s studying the ways that communications impact the strength of national identity and the trust in outsiders. Her findings - which surprise some of her colleagues - suggest that increased cosmopolitan communications leads to more trust in others and reduced nationalism.

The context for her talk is accelerating connection through globalization, as tracked by surveys like the KOF Globalization index. As globalization increases, we see more opportunity for information to come across national borders. Some view this as a threat - thinkers like Herbert Schiller have suggested that the spread of corporate capitalism will lead towards the spread of American values at the expense of local norms. More recently, Benjamin Barber, in books like “Jihad versus McWorld”, suggests that American capitalism and culture are fundamentally intertwined. These theories have led UNESCO to worry that the availability of information from culturally exporting nations like the US could lead to a decrease in cultural diversity.

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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, Peace Corps volunteer Emilie Crofton, Krystle Austin, Elisee Sare, and Monique Nadembega.

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