We're both doing very well, adjusting to life in Sumbrungu and working on our Frafra. We have already set dates for doing inventory at all of the libraries and initiated the book club with the librarians for "Wife of the Gods".
We've also been working with Darius running a "minicamp" for about 1-2 hrs in the evening for new 5th grade students (about 28 of them). The first day we arrived Darius said he wanted to do this and had already spoken to the schools and received a list of students. This is 3 times a week, for just these next 2 weeks to start. We're doing sort of a condensed version of the reading strategy materials that Francesca and Nico worked on this summer. Laura and I are both extremely impressed by all the hard work they did. The booklets are a great resource for
the libraries and the librarians.
We've also met Bernard and Jennifer, and went on our first bike ride to go visit Sherigu library today in its new space. There's a lot of potential for the new space, great big walls to paint things on!
February 2011 Archives
That, my dears, is Poison Study by Maria Snyder (part of the whole dystopian teen lit genre). I would stay away from it.
Better was Robert Jordan's The Great Hunt, part of the Wheel of Time series. Recommended by my brother-in-law, I had never heard of this million-selling series. Adult fantasy fiction has never been my genre, but I enjoyed the book a lot, but I don't see myself reading the others (10 more?).
Best was A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge. It's standard space-opera fare (nobody ever gets bored or goes to the bathroom, there's no irony, the only people who matter are the heroes, who win, except maybe one or two die trying), but I haven't read any of that stuff since I was a teenager, so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again, though, I don't think I'll read the others in the series (if there are others). Just not my thing, you know?
So I am going to head back to African fiction.
Épisode 17 : La culture comme outil de développement humain. Actuellement, près de la moitié de la population mondiale a moins de 25 ans. Parmi eux, près de 100 millions n'ont pas accès à la connaissance. Analphabétisme, pauvreté, exclusion, travail forcé, prostitution et toxicomanie sont malheureusement des problèmes qui touchent des millions d'enfants sur la planète. Trois artisans nous démontrent que la culture aide les jeunes à se structurer, à se connaître et à penser par eux-mêmes. Plus encore, elle leur permet de mieux comprendre le monde afin de pouvoir contribuer à sa transformation. En Inde, au Cambodge et au Ghana, des jeunes se développent grâce à la musique traditionnelle, les arts du cirque et la lecture. Éduquer les jeunes tout en préservant leurs cultures locales est la mission que se sont donnés Mathieu Fortier, Khuon Det et Kathy Knowles.
On my blog, I spent two years trying to describe and share my life in village. There is no denying that this year, living and working in Ouaga is completely different than my experience in Pobé. Yet I've realized that since I've been in Ouaga, I haven't really written about a typical day here. What is it that Emilie is doing exactly in Ouaga? How does she spend her days? Where does she go? Who does she hang out with? Well my friends, you don't have to torment yourselves with these burning questions any longer. Welcome to "A Day in the Life : Emilie Crofton, special edition Ouagadougou"
I wake up in the morning in my comfy bed, wrapped up in my sheet like a sandwich roll because I'm ACTUALLY cold from the fan blowing on me all night (I love you electricity). I go to the boutique which is so perfectly located directly in front of the house. They know me so well that now their standard greeting to me is not "Ney y beogo" but "Fo data gela wana?" How many eggs do you want? Because I always buy an absurd amount of eggs.
All three of the northern librarians are still relatively new and their excitement, enthusiasm and motivation are quite contagious. Like the first meeting, yesterday's meeting was lively, with the librarians actively participating and offering up plenty of ideas and opinions.
Summary of what we discussed::
1) Béléhédé library
- Construction going well; furniture currently being built
- Discussed importance of Alou (future librarian) meeting with both the library committee and community members after the his 2 week training with Dounko at the Pobé library to keep everyone up to date with library progress
2) Responsibilities of FAVL librarians
- Respect library operation hours and respect readers; keep library clean, welcoming and well organized
3) Best way to send librarians' salaries up north
4) Organization of Mayor's workshop in May
- Discussed option of having two workshops, one in Houndé one in Ouahigouya, to minimize travel/expenses
5) Meetings up north
- Option of having all northern librarians come down to Hounde two or three times a year to participate in monthly meetings
6) Exchange of activities/experiences in each library.
- Dounko told us how successful the ABC hopscotch activity is at the libraries. Young children use hopscotch to learn the letters of the alphabet and words that start with each letter.
- Importance of not only doing story telling or drawing but trying out new activities
7) Librarians' Book Club
- Passed out the book of fables "La brousse et la savane racontent" by Souleymane Djigo Diop. After the next book discussion, librarians will have new fables to share and can organize activities around them with the children
- Explained how to play Dominos and gave stencils to librarians to use during arts and crafts activities
- Charley explained how to do new activities including the reading activity 'Guess the Ending' and how to start a book club with both children and adults at the library
Overall the meeting was productive and efficient. After the meeting Dounko and Alou followed Hamidou back to Pobé-Mengao where Dounko will begin Alou's 2-week librarian training.
Stick-wielding hooligans linked to the Kampala mayoral candidate of the ruling NRM party Peter Ssematimba have assaulted six journalists at Kakeeka polling station, Rubaga Parish, Lubaga division in Kampala.Ugandans on February 23rd were electing the local council five chairperson and district councilors. Information indicate that the hooligans hatched a plan to beat up journalists as they called media houses that a candidate Peter Ssematimba was going to vote at Kakeeka polling station at 10am and therefore requested for media presence . Peter sematember had voted earlier than the time communicated.The plan to beat up journalists resulted from wide coverage that was highlighting the election regularities where several ballot boxes were found full with pre-ticked ballot papers favoring Peter Ssematimba the ruling party candidate.
OK so maybe the book I'm choosing to review isn't by an African author...the author is very much white and very much British; but the main character is a refugee from Nigeria so I figure that's close enough. And this is definitely a book worth reading.
The book is "Little Bee" by Chris Cleave. My favorite kinds of books are those you just can't seem to put down. The kind you stay up late at night reading and carry with you throughout the day to read during every minute of free time you can get. This is that kind of book.
Little Bee is a young (16) Nigerian refugee, just released from a British immigration detention center where she was detained for two years. Sarah is a well-off magazine editor and young mother. They are connected only by a brief yet horrific and traumatic experience. The story begins when they meet again years later.
The story is depressing yet happy, serious yet funny. One page you read about how Little Bee thinks of ways to kill herself whenever she enters a room "in case the men come suddenly," the next you read about Charley, Sara's four year old son who refuses to ever take off his Batman costume.
The story itself is great but what I like most is that is it realistic; so often people think that being rich or even simply being white can solve anything. But as this story shows it's often much more complicated then race or class, especially when dealing with refugee/immigration cases. This story is fiction, but you can tell a lot of research was put in and reflects the stories of many real-life refugees.
Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Read it!
There will be two races, a 3K and a 6K, for all levels and ages. The family-friendly race is to help raise funds for FAVL's nine libraries in Burkina Faso. We're currently running around town to get race sponsors and prizes for winners. While those of you in North America can't actually participate in the race, you can still help support! Donations and sponsorships are always welcome : http://www.favl.org/donate.html
No surprises here, Aya N°6 is a quick, fun and enjoyable read. The Aya de Yopougon series follows Aya , her friends and her family in the neighborhood of Yopougon in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. My favorite thing about the Aya series is that it covers so many controversial and taboo topics...the sixth book is no different. In the book Aya continues to find a way to denounce her teacher, who forces female students to have sex with him or else he beats them and then fails them. Filled with rage, Bonaventure chases down his son Moussa, who has stolen money from him to build schools and clinics in villages, and has him imprisoned. Innocent is now in France but must deal with the difficulties of the visa process and the French embassy. Albert decides to marry an old ugly village woman in an effort to hide his homosexuality.
As usual, Aya N°6 is a must read.
I was often under the impression that while, yes, Kapuscinski was there, most of the information he uses in his essays was gleaned from second-hand sources, not actual investigation. Besides a few beautifully bleak portraits of African landscapes, such as his hitchhiking adventure flush with people with whom he couldn't communicate, the essays seemed barren. In the end, I found the book about as informative as a postcard with, "Kapuscinski was here" scrawled across the back.
Le parachutage Norbert Zongo
Crépuscule des temps anciens Nazi Boni
Poèmes L.S. Senghor
Cahier d'un retour au pays natal Aime Cesair
Et les chiens se taisaient Aime Cesaire
Germinal Emile Zola
Les mains sales Jean-Paul Sartre
Le rouge et le noir Stendhal
You can read about Laura and Lauren's volunteer work at their blog.
An extract from today:
So we're finally settled in at our home away from home in Sumbrungu. We LOVE it here! It's only a short shared-taxi drive to Bolgatanga (read: to internet access), which is an adorable small 'city' with none of the hassles and annoyances of Accra. I suppose I need to clarify that; despite my initial praises of this country for not staring at us and shouting, a few more days in the city, especially when we were by ourselves, brought out the negative. Some people just can't resist stretching out their arms to touch us as we pass, and will sometimes go out of their way to do this, resembling sea anemones or some other type of tentacled animal lying in wait.
Our rooms are part of a square compound with a central courtyard - well, a central expanse of cement at least. It looks like drab concrete from the outside, but the inside is painted in a cool geometric design. We're sharing a room so the other one will be available for other guests, and we're right next to the library and Lucas' office. Our hopes were raised when we saw a bathroom with a sink, showerhead, and flush toilet; but alas, there is no water hookup yet, so we depend on a nice man named Fredo to bring us water every day. The library is very different from the one in Jordan Nu - it is more geared toward children, so there aren't as many adult novels, which is unfortunate for us. It is actual a favorite study spot in the evening for students from the Polytechnic across the street. Readers can choose from one of four tables to read quietly at, which is a marked contrast from the madhouse of children sprawled across the floor that we're used to dealing with.
We hope to have a clearer idea of our agenda after a meeting tomorrow with the librarians from the three libraries with which we'll be working. For now, we're working with Darius, the Sumbrungu librarian, to organize a 90-minute evening reading session with 5th graders, combining teaching reading strategies with games and fun activities that make them learn without realizing it. We're looking forward to teaching them the basics, such as how to sound out words. And again we find ourselves facing a language barrier, which hopefully will improve as they get used to our accent. Our favorite moment with the kids so far was last night, after the demonstrated some fast-paced dances that they do, and they asked us to share an American dance with them. After racking our brains, we presented the Macarena, which was greeted with peals of laughter. We think they liked it though - we saw a few of them continuing to do it as they walked away.
Most of the care packages that I receive from family and friends often include children's books in French, puzzles or nifty arts and crafts materials for me to give to the Pobé-Mengao Library. I wish that I had another 10 copies of a book recently received from a family friend in Québec, to give to every FAVL library.
The book is titled 1001 activités autour du livre by Philippe Brasseur. "Le but de ce livre n'est pas d'apprendre à lire, mais donner la passion du livre et de la lecture aux enfants...Comment? En jouant, en dessinant, en inventant, en parlant, en mimant...tout cela grace aux livres. (The goal of this book is not to teach how to read but to give the passion of books and reading to children...How ? By playing, by drawing, by inventing, by talking, by miming...all this thanks to books.)
The book not only describes how to do hundreds of different activities but also how to create an inviting reading environment, improve story telling techniques to encourage young readers, start children's book clubs and more.
I'm opting to pass the book around to the different libraries so that all can benefit from it, before giving it to Pobé. Anyone thinking of donating French books to the FAVL libraries, I would definitely add this one to the list.
Library of Dohoun
- Educational discussion with CM2 students on the importance of trees. The students gave examples of why trees are so important: provide shade to rest, medicinal purposes, can make paper out of them, they give us fruit to eat. Several students talked about the importance of planting trees to decrease deforestation.
- Tutoring session going over punctuations and different vocabulary words.
- Visit from the Mayor of Houndé with some French visitors. They donated 34 books. This was the third time the French group visited us and the second time they donated books.
Library of Koumbia
- Read two of the RWA books with CM1/CM2 students titled "What Is Your Job" and "Parts of the Body." After we had a discussion about what the students wanted to be when they grew up.
Library of Boni
- Organized a scrabble contest in which students and teachers participated. The event was very interesting, lasting until 6 p.m. All participants received prizes.
- On January 6th the Mayor of Boni donated 26 books; 11 of which were from a Best Books selection and 15 books for children.
Library of Dimikuy
- Organized the reading activity "Guess the Ending" where we only read the first part of the book and asked the children to imagine the ending.
- Dounko led a session for the women of Dimikuy about the benefits of the Moringa plant. The women were very interested and asked a lot of questions. Some of them already use the leaves when cooking but did not realize all of its benefits.
- Organized a session on the importance of hygiene by putting traces of hot pepper on our hands. We can't see the traces of hot pepper on our hands but we know not to rub our eyes with it. Just like the traces of hot pepper, we can't see germs and bacteria but they can still hurt us and make us sick. So we must wash our hands with soap and water several times a day.
There is currently a *job opening* for a Resident Director-Ghana, University of California.
For recent grads (with experience in Africa). An MA is required, but not a Ph.D. The closing date to apply is*February 22, 2011*. See the following website for information:
In 2007, all the general-purpose computers in the world computed 6.4 x 10^18 instructions per second, in the same general order of magnitude as the number of nerve impulses executed by a single human brain.From Science Daily Digest.
Marilyn Deer Community Library
This library established at Jordan-Nu, a healing town in the Volta Region of Ghana by Mad. Deer (USA), is a great asset to the community and a lot of people from outside.
The lady deserves great commendation.
The place is well furnished with books and games that are hardly to be found in even city libraries.
It makes the future of the children very bright since teachers and parents make patronage high and reading culture is being acquired very fast.
Mr. Lucas Amikiya A. from Bolgatanga, experienced library coordinator (Friends of African Village Libraries) thanks a lot for your frequent visits and advice.
Elders, the Committee and the High Priest (Patron) do keep 'eagle eyes' on the facility so that it lasts for generations yet to be borne (sic).
By C.K. Kwami
The Committee Secretary
Lauren and Laura
PS. Wife of the God's references: saw an advert for the "Chances Hotel" in Ho that Darko mentions, and some Ewe words from the book became familiar!
There's no doubt that Sankara was an honorable man determined to help his country. His goal was to make Burkina self reliant, ridding its dependence on all foreign aid.
One of the first things Sankara did once in power was reduce the salaries of ministers and chief public servants...starting with his own. Other actions including launching a huge vaccination campaign to eradicate polio, measles and meningitis; building roads and railways; planting groves in villages to encourage reforestation; promoting women's rights. He wanted the Burkinabe to become dependent on no one but themselves.
Despite his good intentions, Sankara's methods of presiding were not supported by everyone. He upset a lot of people and pissed off many powerful figures, especially the French president. Even local Burkinabè began complaining that his demands on the people were too strict, such as imposing a 7 p.m curfew. He soon developed enemies, including his once best friend Blaise Compaoré. In 1987 Compaoré (supported by the West) led a coup d'état against him, killing Sankara and becoming president (where he remains to this day).
I enjoyed the documentary. It was short and sweet (52 minutes) while giving a nice, relatively objective overview of Sankara's presidency. It spoke of both his achievements and his flaws. I actually wouldn't have minded if the film was a bit longer in order to learn more about Sankara's life leading up to his presidency. (What kind of upbringing is needed to create more Sankaras in the world?!)
Was Sankara a socialist? Yes; which is why the western powers wanted him out. I wonder though, if socialism was really such a bad thing for Burkina at the time. It's impressive to see all the accomplishments Sankara was able to do during in 4 years. It's especially impressive when you compare him to other African presidents, nearly all (OK all) of whom are corrupt.
After watching the movie, one can't help but wonder the "what ifs." What if Sankara was never assassinated? What if Blaise never took over? What if Sankara was able to accomplish everything he wanted for the country? Where would Burkina Faso be today?
(If you are interested in seeing the film, get it at www.newsreel.org)
Deric Bownds' MindBlog Improving your cognitive toolkit - part II
This posts continues my abstracting of some of my favorite responses to the Edge.org annual question "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?"Martin Seligman - PERMA Is global well being possible?...The elements of well being must be exclusive, measurable independently of each other, and ideally, exhaustive. I believe there are five such elements and they have a handy acronym, PERMA, a shorthand abstraction for the enabling conditions of life: P Positive Emotion E Engagement R Positive Relationships M Meaning and Purpose A Accomplishment There has been forward movement in the measurement of these over the last decade. Taken together PERMA forms a more comprehensive index of well being than "life satisfaction" and it allows for the combining of objective and subjective indicators. PERMA can index the well being of individuals, of corporations, and of cities. The United Kingdom has now undertaken the measurement of well being for the nation and as one criterion -- in addition to Gross Domestic Product -- of the success of its public policy.
Steven Pinker - Positive-Sum Games ...when people become consciously aware of the game-theoretic structure of their interaction (that is, whether it is positive-, negative-, or zero-sum), they can make choices that bring them valuable outcomes -- like safety, harmony, and prosperity -- without their having to become more virtuous, noble, or pure...Some examples. Squabbling colleagues or relatives agree to swallow their pride, take their losses, or lump it to enjoy the resulting comity rather than absorbing the costs of continuous bickering in hopes of prevailing in a battle of wills. Two parties in a negotiation split the difference in their initial bargaining positions to "get to yes." Has an increasing awareness of the zero- or nonzero-sumness of interactions in the decades since 1950 (whether referred to in those terms or not) actually led to increased peace and prosperity in the world? It's not implausible. International trade and membership in international organizations has soared in the decades that game-theoretic thinking has infiltrated popular discourse. And perhaps not coincidentally, the developed world has seen both spectacular economic growth and a historically unprecedented decline in several forms of institutionalized violence, such as war between great powers, war between wealthy states, genocides, and deadly ethnic riots. Since the 1990s these gifts have started to accrue to the developing world as well, in part because they have switched their foundational ideologies from ones that glorify zero-sum class and national struggle to ones that glorify positive-sum market cooperation. (All these claims can be documented from the literature in international studies.) The enriching and pacifying effects of participation in positive-sum games long antedate the contemporary awareness of the concept. The biologists John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry have argued that an evolutionary dynamic which creates positive-sum games drove the major transitions in the history of life: the emergence of genes, chromosomes, bacteria, cells with nuclei, organisms, sexually reproducing organisms, and animal societies. In each transition, biological agents entered into larger wholes in which they specialized, exchanged benefits, and developed safeguards to prevent one from exploiting the rest to the detriment of the whole. The journalist Robert Wright sketched a similar arc in his book Nonzero and extended it to the deep history of human societies. An explicit recognition among literate people of the shorthand abstraction "positive-sum game" and its relatives may be extending a process in the world of human choices that has been operating in the natural world for billions of years.
Last week I proclaimed my excitement about Clément Oubrerie, the illustrator of the popular "Aya de Yopougou" comic book series, signing books at the French Cultural Center (CCF).
I thought the comic book gods were with me but unfortunately, I was wrong. A Peace Corps bureau thing came up, obviously at the exact same time as the signing, so Charley and I were unable to attend.
Thankfully Elisée was still able to go and was nice enough to get me a signed copy of the newly released "Aya de Yopougon No.6"
picture at right taken from : http://img.over-blog.com/225x300/2/77/77/84/Auteurs/Auteurs-0535-copie-1.JPG
Elisée reports :
Je suis allé à la dédicace de Aya de Yopougon N° 6. qui s'est enfin déroulée à la rotonde du CCF, où sont encore exposés de grandes planches de cette bande dessinée. Clément Oubrerie, le dessinateur, a profité de cette dédicace pour présenter au public le projet d'adaptation de la bande dessinée Aya en dessins animés. Le public est sortie nombreux mais certainement, a cause du prix du livre, il n'y avait que des expatriées et pas de Burkinabè.
Le dessinateur était très sympathique et se prêtait volontier aux questions du public. J'ai un peu discuter avec M. Oubrerie sur son travail et de notre réseau de bibliothèques de village ici au Burkina Faso. Il a trouvé que l'initiative est très intéressante et était content d'apprendre que Aya est très populaire dans nos bibliothèques. Il a ajouté que l'auteur Marguerite Abouet a aussi entrepris un projet de bibliothèques en Cote Ivoire; elle a déjà réalisé une a Yopougon à Abidjan
I went to the book signing of "Aya Yopougon No. 6" that was finally held at the CCF, where they are still running their exposition on comic books. Clément Oubrerie, the illustrator, took advantage of this dedication to announce the adaptation of the Aya comic books into a cartoon movie. Many people were in attendance but, most likely due to the high cost of the book, all were expats and there were no Burkinabes.
The illustrator was very friendly and answered questions from the audience. I had a little chat with Mr. Oubrerie about his work and told him about our network of village libraries here in Burkina Faso. He found the initiative very interesting and was happy to learn that Aya is very popular in our libraries. He added that Marguerite Abouet, the author, has also undertaken a library project in the Ivory Coast; she has already established a library in Yopougon, Abidjan.
FAVL has received a Small Program Assistance Grant of $250 to produce a limited edition of books on nutrition and hygiene for the libraries of Burkina Faso. The grant, administered by USAID through the Burkina Faso Peace Corps Bureau, is given to organizations and communities working on projects relating to maternal and child health. Emilie, Elisee and I will work on creating a book over the next few months that we can use at the summer reading camps to incorporate lessons about nutrition and hygiene into the camp curriculum. At the end of the camp each library will get to keep two copies of the book to use in the community. We've also applied for a second SPA Grant that would allow us to produce a second series of books on HIV/AIDS, which we also hope to use at the camps this summer.
Since then she has made a bunch of films that I have found pretty unwatchable. 35 Shots of Rum maybe marks a transition back. It is a very quiet and slow meditation on letting go... a widowed father losing his daughter, an African immigrant realizing his life maybe just as empty as the Parisians all around him.
That's Denis' forte, showing that African immigrants (and European expatriates- in Chocolat and more forcefully in Beau Travail) have the same humanity, the same suffering and redemption and variety. Nice.
But give me some Run Lola Run, please, next time... pump it up, know what I mean?
HT: Fred Foldvary
A good book review is here. I read the book based on recommendation of accrabooksandthings. Thanks!
Book is UK edition, apparently a US edition is supposed to come out soon.
So far things are looking good. Hamidou (Pobé's librarian) already had students send letters and we just recently received letters in return. I sent them up to Pobé this morning.
The 3rd Peace Corps goal is to help Americans understand the cultures of other countries. I've always believed pen pal exchanges with young students were such a great way to accomplish this goal. I don't know about you, but I definitely don't remember learning much (if anything) about Burkina Faso back in school. And I'd be lying if I said that at 23, when I first received my Peace Corps packet saying where I'd be going, that I didn't look up on a map to see where the heck Burkina Faso was.
So I think, no matter if this particular exchange goes far or not, it is still a wonderful experience and a great opportunity for kids to learn about an entirely different culture, a different way of life and to develop friendships with people living on other side of the world.
Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger's Reading Centre asks if something is lost in switching from book to computer screen, and from pen to keyboard. The process of reading and writing involves a number of senses, she explains. When writing by hand, our brain receives feedback from our motor actions, together with the sensation of touching a pencil and paper. These kinds of feedback is significantly different from those we receive when touching and typing on a keyboard.
Together with neurophysiologist Jean-Luc Velay at the University of Marseille, Anne Mangen has written an article published in the Advances in Haptics periodical. They have examined research which goes a long way in confirming the significance of these differences. An experiment carried out by Velay's research team in Marseille establishes that different parts of the brain are activated when we read letters we have learned by handwriting, from those activated when we recognise letters we have learned through typing on a keyboard. When writing by hand, the movements involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain, which helps us recognise letters. This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading, Mangen explains.
Mangen refers to an experiment involving two groups of adults, in which the participants were assigned the task of having to learn to write in an unknown alphabet, consisting of approximately twenty letters. One group was taught to write by hand, while the other was using a keyboard. Three and six weeks into the experiment, the participants' recollection of these letters, as well as their rapidity in distinguishing right and reversed letters, were tested. Those who had learned the letters by handwriting came out best in all tests. Furthermore, fMRI brain scans indicated an activation of the Broca's area within this group. Among those who had learned by typing on keyboards, there was little or no activation of this area.
According to Mangen, perception and sensorimotor now play a more prominent role. "Our bodies are designed to interact with the world which surrounds us. We are living creatures, geared toward using physical objects -- be it a book, a keyboard or a pen -- to perform certain tasks," she says.
Kate Parry writes :
"The Uganda Community Libraries Association has been growing so rapidly that it has had to restructure the regular meetings that it organizes for its member libraries. Instead of having two workshops a year at the national level, it is now, from 2011, having a single national conference each year and then at least one workshop a year for each regional cluster of libraries.
The first national conference was held from 16th to 19th January in the Social Centre at Masaka, attended by70 participants on the first working day (the 17th) and 67 on the second.
The theme of the conference was "Libraries for Health." Participants heard talks by two speakers from two potential partners: TASO (The AIDS Support Organization), and Afri-Pads (which helps to keep girls in school by producing affordable sanitary pads). Representatives of three of UgCLA's own member libraries also presented the work that they are doing for health. The participants worked in groups to discuss a draft curriculum for Health Reading Camps that are planned for the August; and everyone got to see a collection of health books appropriate for use in the camps.
Some time was spent on administrative business. Participants heard about a number of awards that they could apply for and were invited by UgCLA's partner the Maendeleo Foundation, to apply for the Foundation to bring its mobile computer lab to their library. They also met in regional groups in order to make initial plans for the regional workshops that are planned for later in the year, and they voted for a new Board of Directors: three of the previous Directors, Kate Parry, Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa, and Christine Ssempebwa, remained on the Board, while Daniel Ahimbisibwe, Esther Kyazike, Willy Ngaka, and Augustine Napagi--all of whom work with particular libraries--were voted onto it as new members.
A final point to note: the conference was an occasion for still more libraries to join UgCLA, bringing the total membership to 79."