March 2012 Archives
If you have read this, and want to send your used copy to our libraries in Ghana, do pop them into the mail to FAVL. We'd be grateful, as will the young readers!
From "The Little Bookroom":
Aidé par l'OIF - La Coopération Française - Le jumelage avec Querqueville - L'ASD France (pour des abonnements à Jeune Afrique, National Geographic, Courrier International, l'Equipe, La voix du Sahel) - Des amis danois - Il est également aidé par un club de lecteurs dynamiques, dont le responsable Mr Diasso, agent de tourisme, assure la permanence du celpac en cas d'absence du responsable. La mairie est également très active : somme allouée annuellement, entretiens des bâtiments, ligne téléphonique avec internet, pc et imprimante. L'argent est géré au sein d'un Comité de Gestion présidé par le maire (gestionnaire Mr Hassane Madougou)
Le N° 91757de Frat-Mat en date du Mardi 9 novembre page 16 nous donnait de lire, dans la rubrique « CE QUE VOUS DEVEZ SAVOIR » : « M. le 1er ministre Pascal Affi N'Guessan, M. le ministre N'Guessan Amani Michel et le Mouvement des cadres baoulé de la basse côte (Mcb-basse Côte) convient tous les cadres baoulé de la basse côte et de la zone forestière à une importante réunion au Conseil économique et social le mercredi 10 novembre 2010 à 12h précises » Ce communiqué est par ailleurs repris par plusieurs autres journaux. Laissez-moi m'offusquer, Monsieur le 1er Ministre, et Monsieur le Ministre N'guessan Amani, que dans la Côte d'ivoire du 21ème siècle qui se veut moderne et intelligente, débarrassée d'un tribalisme diviseur et archaïque, de découvrir cette convocation, qui sans le moindre état d'âme exclut les autres ethnies de la Côte d'Ivoire d'un débat qui se devrait d'être national et républicain. Vous semblez n'avoir rien compris aux problèmes de la Côte d'Ivoire, ce qui après plus de 8 années d'une crise née justement de l'EXCLUSION reste absolument stupéfiant. Le sectarisme que vous prônez ainsi est dangereux pour notre pays car il entretient la division et la haine de l'autre. Il me semble pourtant que la haute fonction que vous avez occupée en tant que PREMIER MINISTRE DE LA CÔTE D'IVOIRE, devrait tout particulièrement vous prémunir de ce genre d'égarement.
Les problèmes de la Côte d'ivoire ne seront pas résolus ni par les Baoulé ni par une seule autre ethnie du pays mais par la Côte d'Ivoire toute entière, par TOUS les enfants de ce pays qui doivent choisir librement celui qui fera véritablement avancer leur pays. C'est bien ce qu'ont compris ceux qui n'étant pas Bété ont voté pour Gbabo Laurent, c'est bien ce qu'ont compris ceux qui n'étant pas du Nord ont voté pour Allassane Ouattara, c'est bien que qu'ont compris ceux qui n'étant pas Baoulé ont voté pour Bédié, etc.
En effet, même s'il y a eu des dissensions et même des problèmes personnels par le passé, certains ivoiriens ont eu l'intelligence de dépasser ces vieilles rivalités pseudo ethniques, et c'est ce que nous voulons pour la Côte d'Ivoire de demain. ET C'EST BIEN QUE QU'ONT COMPRIS LES MEMBRES DU RHDP EN DECIDANT DE VOTER POUR ALLASSANE OUATTARA. Ces membres du RHDP, qui, comme vous le savez, viennent de la Côte d'Ivoire toute entière. C'est ça la démocratie, Messieurs les Ministres, c'est ça l'ouverture d'esprit, pour une Côte d'Ivoire apaisée et réunifiée. Nous sommes tous et avant tout, des Ivoiriens. Ps : vous savez donné l'exemple : certains artistes baoulé appellent leurs frères artistes baoulé via la télévision nationale ... A qui le tour ?
Fatou Keïta, Ecrivain
Un élève a écrit, répondant à la question quel est le métier de ton père?
Ils nous ont demandé ce que pensons des dons de livres qu'ils nous livrent de temps en temps. Nous leur avons dit que ces gestes nous vont droit au cœur car ceux-ci aident nos populations et nos lecteurs à sortir de l'ignorance en amélioration le niveau de l'éducation. A leur tour ils ont dit que l'objectif de leur don est d'améliorer le savoir scolaire surtout de permettre aux populations de partager le savoir des autres en combattant l'analphabétisme en milieu rural. Ils se disent soucieux des difficultés à trouver les romans d'auteurs africains mais aussi ils sont satisfaits de la bonne utilisation de ces dons.
Avant de partir ils ont noté respectivement dans le cahier de visite les mots suivant : "Nous continuerons de faire le maximum d'expéditions au projet des bibliothèques. Nous vous remercions du respect de notre action et bon courage. Félicitations chaleureuses pour l'installation des bibliothèques. Vous avez beaucoup de motivation et de courage." Au nom du Coordonateur Régional et de FAVL en particulier nous leur avons remercié pour le soutien apporté afin d'œuvrer pour développement de nos localités.
A 14heures nous avons fait le retrait des cartons contenant des romans, des manuels scolaires, de bics, de markers, de jeux (dominos, puzzles) et bien d'autres Object d'animation. En attendant de faire la répartition pour les bibliothèques nous sommes très satisfait de la visite et du don, en même temps nous lançons un appel à tous les donateurs de faire un geste pour combattre l'analphabétisme dans nos milieux ruraux.
Animateur de FAVL
Suite à l'évaluation, le constat qui s'est dégagé est le nombre élevé de livres en retard dans les bibliothèques. Pour ce faire notre équipe a lancé avec les gérants une vaste campagne de récuperation des ces livres dans les écoles ,collèges et au villages. Les fautifs se verront conduit devant l'autorité. Nous avons insisté sur plus de vigilance et un classement et suivi minutieux des fiches de sortie de livres.
Deux gérants ont reçus des lettres d'avertissement. L'un n'a pas envoyé son programme d'activité à la rencontre du 1er mars . Il était le seul à le faire. Après un premier rappel lui sommant de l'envoyer, il m'envoie un sms du programme. Joint au téléphone ,il me dit qu'il a affiché à la bibliothèque. Il a fallu attendre quatre jours après pour l'envoyer. Par conséquent une lettre d'avertissement lui a été adressée pour refus de transmettre le programme à la hiérarchie.
Quant à l'autre, un petit audit des fonds de roulement a été fait et il ressort qu'il a dépensé l'argent qui était à sa disposition qui s'élève à 40775F. Il reçoit une lettre d'avertissement pour mauvaise gestion et des engagements fermes pour rembourser. Depuis son arrestation on avait pris la décision de ne plus lui verser les frais d'abonnement. Les fonds sont désormais gérer par DOUNKO en attendant d'assainir toute la situation.
Voilà quelques saillants du moment.
KOURA DONKOUI L.
COORDONNATEUR REGIONAL - FAVL
CHEVALIER DE L ORDRE DES PALMES ACADEMIQUES
Visite d'une volontaire d'une équipe de FAVL Ghana
Volontaire pour le compte de FAVL Ghana, Brianna Osetinsky a voulu connaitre comment se déroule ici au Burkina, la vie d'une bibliothèque villageoise. C'est dans ce cadre qu'elle a effectué du 17 au 21 Mars 2012 une visite au Burkina pour voir comment le bureau d'Ouaga est il organisé. La bibliothèque de Bougounam a été donc visité à cet effet le 19 mars au environ de 10h par la volontaire en compagnie de Lucas ALIGIRE, coordonnateur du GHANA. Pour Brianna Osetinsky, l'espace qui permet aux élèves de se retrouvé dans une ambiance d'étude hors du cadre scolaire est prometteur pour plus d'intérêt de ces derniers à l'éducation.
Visit from the FAVL Ghana Team
Brianna Osetinsky, a FAVL volunteer in Ghana, wanted to see how life at a village library in Burkina compared to her experience. It was in this spirit that she visited Burkina from March 17th to 21st 2012 to see how the bureau and library network is organized. Brianna was accompanied by Lucas ALGIRE, coordinator in Ghana, on a visit to the Village Library of Bougounam at around 10 a.m. For Brianna, the space for students to study their lessons outside of school and gives them more interest in their education.
Recently Brenda Musasizi, UgCLA's coordinator, sent me the Association's recently updated membership list. There are 106 names! Of these, four are partner organizations that don't actually offer library services, and two others are definitely inactive; but the rest are all in the business of disseminating information and promoting reading, even if some forty haven't yet paid their subscriptions for this year.
These institutions are tremendously diverse. Some, including the FAVL-managed Kitengesa Community Library, are well established, with collections of several thousand books and ongoing programs for women, children, and other sectors of the community. Some have only just started, having buildings but no books or books but no buildings. We have had dramatic success stories with some of the poorest. When I first visited the Bunabumali Good Samaritan Orphan and Needy Project in April 2010, it had no building and virtually no books. Now it has both and with the help of Hawk Children's Fund of UMES is setting up a Health Education Centre. The URLCODA Community Library and Mpolyabigere Community Libraries have likewise been able to put up buildings thanks to Hawk Children's Fund (see earlier UgCLA posts). Now, UgCLA is implementing a project for Book Aid International through which ten libraries are receiving 700 books each and refurbishment grants of about $1500--for the Randa Community Library this again will mean a new building.
Since it was launched in 2007, UgCLA has channeled grants to 31 libraries, and some have received two or three. That leaves seventy still to be served, and more will doubtless join us before we can reach them all. So the task ahead is enormous; but UgCLA is already a strong network with tremendous potential for providing information and entertainment to impoverished Ugandans. When will such networks be established in other African countries?
Some days, blogging just isn't fast enough, as a medium, to keep up with breaking news. For writing about Mali, yesterday was one of those days. Today will be one too. After much uncertainty yesterday regarding a coup attempt, news outlets this morning are taking one of two slightly different lines. The first says, cautiously, that renegade soldiers say they've taken power, and the second says that they definitively have taken power. Although the ultimate success of the coup is in some doubt, what is not in doubt is that soldiers took control of state television and announced their takeover, and that there was serious fighting yesterday in Bamako, the capital. The BBC's Martin Plaut wrote this morning that four ministers have been arrested. President Amadou Toumani Toure's whereabouts are unknown. The momentum seems to be with the coup leaders.
Yet another challenge involved working with Santa Clara University, where I teach photography, to develop a study abroad program. After my third trip, one of my colleagues at the University suggested that we propose a study abroad program in Burkina Faso. Our proposal was accepted. We became co-directors of "Reading West Africa" and we began to learn about the challenges (and joys) of bringing a group of college students to a developing nation for a semester. We took our first cohort of students in the fall of 2009 and the second in the fall of 2010. This allowed me to spend three months in Burkina Faso each year. I had already become a familiar sight in the village, but by 2009 Bereba began to feel like home.
It was during this period that I began to attend the weekly Friday night dances at Le Cotonnier with my friends from the village. We drank warm beer and danced all night under the stars. Other than the generator that powers the music, there's no electricity and no light - a challenge for any photographer! I began to experiment with flash, dancing while I was shooting, and rarely looking through the viewfinder. This was not a "project": it was my life in the village. Boundaries collapsed: I made photographs as a participant rather than an observer. The element of chance became an integral part of the process since I never knew what images I was going to get.
The health literacy program is moving along well. Now in its fourth week, the basic literacy students have learned all the letters and their most common sounds, and are working to sound out new words and learn "sight words."
The students are interested in a variety of health topics, which we discussed in class during the first weeks. They are especially interested in basic children's health, including proper nutrition, sanitation, and keeping students healthy in schools. They are also interested in malaria treatment and prevention, clean and safe food practices, information about cholera and diarrhea, and how to learn about one's health status. We have now covered malaria prevention and treatment using text and illustrations, and the class is learning important words in health to be able to better navigate the available health resources. The malaria classes were particularly interesting as the classes engaged in discussions about why it is important to finish all the medicine prescribed by a doctor, and how to best locate and use bed nets to prevent malaria.
Many of the students speak no or minimal English. However, most written resources available, both in the libraries and at health centers, are in English. Thus, it is important for students to learn to understand English words too. This means they have double (or triple) duty to learn basic reading skills, health information, and also English. The students typically take a lot of initiative in learning English with the help of their family members or friends who can read or speak English, especially their children or grandchildren. CESRUD in Ghana is looking into grants for adult literacy, and we are trying to include funding to produce small picture books in Fra Fra (a local language in Ghana) to expand reading materials available in the local language.
The classes have between 10-20 students each. Most of the classes are women, with two or three men in each class. There is a wide range of ages, from young adults to elderly, but most are approximately between 30 and 45. The students' ability levels also run the gamut from completely illiterate to people who had some secondary education. Despite this wide range, the class is still able to function as a single unit. The students who came with reading skills practice reading the health text aloud and help to explain what they read to the rest of the class. This gives them fluency practice, and also works to expand their vocabulary. During the basic literacy portion of the classes they also help the other students, and also work on improving their writing and reading. In some cases, despite previous schooling, the students have not read or written anything in years (sometimes 30-40 years) so the review is very valuable.
The students who attend classes regularly are very committed to their education. The librarians have reported that they often come to the libraries to look at books, even those whose reading ability has them simply practicing identifying letters. They also check out books to read at home, and they report that they read them with their children or other family members who can read.
The students' dedication is paying off, with good progress in reading and in the health material. Within the next several weeks we intend to address more of the topics they are interested in, and increase the students confidence with basic reading through continued practice.
When UgCLA reached more than sixty members in 2010 it established a practice of holding an annual conference to which all paid-up members are invited. The conference is organized around a theme, but it is also an occasion for reporting on earlier projects and for holding an Annual General Meeting.
This year's conference was on the theme of "Libraries for the Environment". Participants heard presentations from three member institutions about environmental projects that they are engaged in; through a World Café activity, they examined and critiqued written materials on the environment; and in regional groups they brainstormed and came up with proposals for projects that they might themselves implement. They were most inspired by a presentation by Margaret Kemigisa about the New Nature Foundations use of its Science Information Centres to distribute seeds for fast-growing trees for firewood lots and to demonstrate the construction and use of fuel-efficient stoves, and these ideas, with many others, showed up in their group discussions. Our plan now is to incorporate these ideas in proposals for funding.
Other conference activities included brief presentations by UgCLA's partner organizations by AfriPads (http://afripads.com) and the Maendeleo Foundation (http://www.maendeleofoundation.org) . A number of libraries distribute AfriPads' products, thus helping girls stay in school and making a small profit for themselves, and many have received visits from the Maendeleo Foundation's mobile computer lab. Libraries that had received funding for Health Reading Camps from Hawk Children's Fund and for the Children's Book Project from Pockets of Change also reported on these activities.
The final session of the conference was devoted to the Annual General Meeting. There members demonstrated their commitment to UgCLA by agreeing to a substantial rise in their subscription--so that we can afford to hold another conference next year.
I think this article just might answer that question:
"It was planned as a tour of Uganda's poorest towns and villages: the first chance for Joseph Kony's victims to see the viral video sensation that has excited so many millions of people in North America. But after a furious reaction, the tour has been cancelled. Too many Ugandans were outraged by the "Stop Kony" video when they saw it. Some even threw stones and shouted abuse, forcing the organizers to flee"...
Featuring stories from different libraries around the world, the report emphasizes the role that libraries are taking in helping to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Here are a few examples:
The full report is here.
-In Guatemala, the Chiche Community Library offers an early childhood literacy and nutrition class to teach new parents child care and nutrition.
-In Zambia, open access Lubuto public libraries reach large numbers of the country's street children, orphans and other vulnerable children who are largely not enrolled in school.
-In Kenya, the Kenya National Library Service is helping to prevent deaths during pregnancy, birth or unsafe abortions by providing healthcare providers with knowledge on how to correctly apply simple, inexpensive interventions.
-In Botswana, the Ramotswa Public Library in southeastern Botswana is playing an active role in reducing the impact HIV/AIDS has in the community by partnering with the District HIV/AIDS committee on a "Lifeline Project" to help educate young people, ages 14-30, about important health issues.
I did not attend the mask festival, though I am somewhat familiar with the masks that are a part of the Bwaba culture because of Abdoulaye in Boni, a sculpture and a good friend of FAVL. When I was in Boni for reading camp last year, there was a funeral, and Jonas (the librarian in Boni) took me and the other volunteer to see the masks dancing. People were playing drums and balafones in the background and the masks were dancing in a circle to celebrate the life of the man who'd died. Women (who are not allowed to wear masks) danced in a bigger circle around the masks. The dancing and music went on day and night for four nights, the masks going in shifts. It was really interesting to see, though I've heard that some masks can get violent (they hit people with sticks) and ask people (especially tourists for large sums of money).
A fellow PCV and another friend of FAVL, Scott, did attend the festival and also happens to be an excellent photographer. For absolutely amazing images of FESTIMA 2012, visit Scott's blog.
(from Clement Oubrerie's here.)
I've found that books always tend to be better than their movie versions, no matter if it's a novel or comic book (after all the great memories of reading The Adventures of TinTin in French with my mom as a child, the film did not compare). But who knows, maybe the Aya film will surprise me.
From Erica Ernst:
I am a graduate student at the University of San Francisco getting my Master's Degree in International Studies. For my Master's thesis that I will be working on this year, I will be focusing on literacy in Africa. As I'm in my beginning stages of planning my thesis in regards to literacy in Africa, I've been looking for research that has already been published on this topic.
So far one of the things I've come across was this interesting article called "Teachers' Interactions During Storybook Reading: A Rural African Perspective" (Higham, Tonsing, and Alant 2010), reporting on a study that examines how 5 rural South African teachers interact with their students while reading a storybook and their effectiveness in asking questions/doing activities that improve critical reading.
The authors of this study used a 6 level coding system that serves as a way to "rate" the interactions between teacher and the students by "cognitive level." The lower cognitive level interactions included labeling pictures or events in the book and recalling text from the last sentence (Level 1) to the interactions that required more critical thinking such as predicting what will happen next (Level 4), using the story to stimulate the children's thoughts (Level 5), and to use the story as a background to create something new (Level 6). The results were that teachers tended to use lower than higher cognitive interactions but the teachers were not completely passive as they did interact with the children by asking questions.
Achieving higher critical thinking is an area in large need of improvement in the African education system. Memorization and recitation of facts is still appears to be the educational goal rather than developing good critical thinking skills. The authors of this study also bring up the important cultural factor in many African societies where adults and children are not supposed to be on equal communicative levels, which can make it difficult to facilitate an effective dialogue about a book.
I witnessed some of these challenges during my time in the Reading West Africa study abroad program while volunteering in the Karaba village library. In addition to storybooks, games and puzzles (FAVL is great in supplying these) can be very useful in exercising critical thinking skills. I loved how our library even included a book of riddles. However, most of the riddles had been told so many times, the children had memorized all the answers and they did not do any "new" thinking, but were rewarded for simply knowing the answer. When my partner Ashley and I told a riddle that was not in the book the kids could not even make a guess, which made me wonder if they were gaining any critical thinking skills in school. Maybe we seemed intimidating as foreigners and riddles are pretty difficult, but I think this example did shed light on this problem that is very common in rural Africa that are still on the more traditional French education system. Luckily FAVL libraries are more adaptable than the government-run schools in meeting these needs, so FAVL's programs such as their read-alouds could be a very important medium to help improve critical thinking skills.
- Le jeudi le 16 février: une séance de dessin avec les élèves de CM1 de l'école « A ». Ils étaient au nombre de 15. C'était dessin au choix. A la fin cinq d'entre eux ont eu des crayons de papier. Ils étaient satisfaits de participer à cette séance.
- Le 18 février 2012: l'activité menée est l'origami. C'est les élèves de CE1. Ils étaient au nombre de 9. Chacun d'entre eux a pu bien faire la tête du chien. Ils ont apprécié.
- Le mardi le 07 février: Lecture guidée avec les livres du programme RWA
- Le dimanche le 12 février: amélioration du vocabulaire pour les tout petits
- le dimanche le 12 février: sensibilisation sur le savon conte les microbes. L'objectif était d'apprendre aux enfants à se laver les mains et certains aliments au savon avant de manger. Ils étaient en nombre de 27 élèves du primaire.
The video that Emilie recently posted on this blog has brought Uganda into the news again, but I hope that people have also seen the article that the New York Times published yesterday about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/world/africa/few-in-uganda-can-see-video-of-rebel-leader-kony.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=uganda&st=cse. There are some interesting Ugandan responses published on the New York Times blog too. Rosebell Kagumire is one of the people quoted, and I think she's got it about right:
"This is another video where I see an outsider trying to be a hero rescuing African children. We have seen these stories a lot in Ethiopia, celebrities coming in Somalia, you know, it does not end the problem. I think we need to have kind of sound, intelligent campaigns that are geared towards real policy shifts, rather than a very sensationalized story that is out to make one person cry, and at the end of the day, we forget about it."
I share her anger. And I would like to add, as my own contribution, that one serious problem with the video is the suggestion that all you have to do is "get rid of Kony" and all will be well. Actually, Uganda got rid of him five or six years ago, but the work of social rebuilding is still going on and will go on for years yet.
Social building, of course, is needed everywhere all the time, but it is especially important in places where nearly everyone is poor and feels marginalized. That is where FAVL's work comes in: we are building institutions that help people take control of their own learning and put them in touch with the world beyond their village. In Uganda the work is being done mainly by FAVL's affiliate in Uganda, the Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA), which now has nearly 100 member libraries, most of them founded by Ugandans who have minimal resources but tremendous enthusiasm. The enthusiasm was manifest last January when UgCLA held its annual conference: the library managers present took part eagerly in the discussions, contributed excellent ideas on the conference theme--"Libraries and the Environment," and willingly accepted the need to raise their subscriptions so that UgCLA could move towards self-sufficiency.
Self-sufficiency for African libraries is what we should all be working for. That is not to say that volunteers, funds, and books from overseas should not be welcome, but, as Rosebell and other respondents to the Kony video have said, it's not good for Africans, or for anyone else, to be constantly cast in the role of helpless victims. The members of UgCLA have demonstrated that they do not accept that role. In setting up and managing their libraries they are taking charge of their lives and contributing to the building of their communities.
March 10, 2012
Please comment and share your thoughts...
Stories of Your Life is a collection of eight stories from 1990-2001 that comes with a little note at the end meant to "inspire" the reader to learn more. Very earnest. I really liked the ideas... but it was like listening to college roommates discuss philosophical ideas.... each story was (as the notes make clear) a philosophical idea that they got turned into a story. So the writing isn't fluid, and feels forced. Not like Chiang's story "Exhalation" (of 2009) that I thought was really nicely written.
The Lifecycle of Software Objects, which I finished over the last two days, is much better. But not quite Kazuo Ishiguro-quality. The novella is very reminiscent of Never Let Me Go, the difference being that Ishiguro is such a great writer that he can take the point of view of the clones, while Chiang is still not quite ready for that challenge (which he did rather well in Exhalation) and so he does the safer thing, narrating from the viewpoint of the "creator". But the novella is wonderful reading nevertheless, and Chiang does a remarkably economical job of conveying personality, character change, and a realistic and likely world of the future (i.e. about 25 years ahead). It is the genre of Pinocchio stories (AI, Hal-2000, etc.) and I would love to teach a freshman seminar someday reflecting on this genre... what makes us human, after all?
I am looking forward to reading more from Chiang... I mean, I'm waiting for Vonnegut's future dog to deliver more stories, because I don't remember Chiang's future stories yet.
The holiday begins when the year's specially designed cloth is "released" at the market. Women rush to purchase it and take it to the tailor to have a special outfit made. The day is marked by speeches by officials and activities like bike races. Each city, town and village marks the holiday in their own special way, usually with lots of dancing, drinks and the obligatory holiday chicken.
Monique wanted to express her thoughts about how the holiday takes shape in Burkina Faso. Here are her thoughts:
Le 08 mars au Burkina
Même si une place de choix est accordée dans les médias et dans les discours aux sujets qui touchent la condition féminine pour apporter un changement positif, les femmes du Burkina elles-mêmes semblent ne pas vouloir rompre avec le trin annuel de cette bamboula d'une journée et pour passer aux choses sérieuses. Qu'elles soient jeunes ou non, le pagne, le tee-shirt, le foulard à l'effigie de la fête doivent être porté le jour. Pour certaines sac et même chaussures confectionnées à partir pagne du 8 mars sont obligatoires pour être simplement la plus belle.
Mais pourquoi donc les djandjoba (danses populaires) ne veulent t'ils pas laisser la place aux réflexions pouvant permettre à la femme de mûrir, d'avantages et des solutions pour son propre développement ?
A quoi sert la Journée Internationale de la Femme, si elle ne peut être une grande tribune de sensibilisation massive et réussie sur le planning familial, du cancer de sein, du col ou de l'utérus ou encore de la scolarisation des filles par exemple?
N'est il pas temps leaders des quartiers, des communautés et des villages du Burkina, de prioriser des conférences -en Dioula, en Mooré, en Fulfuldé, etc. - sur les thèmes annuels de la Journée International de la Femme au lieu distribuer des pagnes ?
The women of Burkina Faso, like those in many other countries, celebrate this Wednesday, March 08, 2012 International Women's Day. Parades and parties will take place in neighborhoods, communities and associations to name a few.
Although a prominent place is given in the media and the discussions that affect the status of women to bring about a positive change, the women of Burkina themselves seem unwilling to break the tradition of the day's parties in order to get down to serious business. Whether young or old, the cloth, the t-shirt and the scarf bearing the designated International Women's Day message of the year have to be worn on this day. For certain women, bags and even shoes are made from the International Women's Day cloth are obligatory simply to be named the most beautiful.
But why don't we leave the dancing and use the day to allow women to reflect on the benefit of and solutions for their own development?
What good does International Women's Day do if it cannot be a day of mass education on family planning, breast, cervical or uterine cancer or on girls' education, for example?
Isn't it time for neighborhood, community and village leaders of Burkina Faso to prioritize conferences in Dioula, Mooré, Fulfuldé, etc. on the annual themes of International Women's Day instead of distributing cloth?A market vendor showing of the holiday bag behind a display of the 2010 International Women's Day cloth(Photo courtesy of www.lefaso.net, March 5, 2010)
Le jeudi 02 février au siège de FAVL à Houndé s'est tenu la deuxieme rencontre mensuelle de l'année 2012.
L'ordre du jour s'articulait sur cinq points à savoir.
1. Recherche des partenairesRecherche des partenaires
2. Compte-rendu de l'évaluation du mois de janvier 2012
3. Formation sur le crème anti-moustique
4. Présentation d'un conte
Prendre des initiatives pour approcher les personnes ressources des villages et leurs poser les problèmes de la bibliothèque.
L'ensemble des insuffisances constatées au cours des évaluations de janvier 2012, le coordinateur régional une fois de plus appelle les gérants au respect stricte du manuel du bibliothécaire.
Une expérience fait par le gérant de Boni, Monsieur Jonas GNOUMOU, par des feuilles de nime bouilli melangées au savon et au beurre du karité.
Présentation d'un conte
Le conte de Dounko SANOU sur la vielle femme sorcière dont la morale est ne pas réagir dans la colère.
Les divers ont été principalement basés sur la visite des volontaires et la française de RES Publica.
On Thursday, February 2, we held the second monthly meeting of 2012 at the FAVL office in Hounde.
The program of the day included the five points below.1. Search for partnersSearch for Partners
2. Report of the January 2012 evaluations
3. Training on anti-mosquito cream
4. Presentation of a story
Take initiatives to approach useful people in the village and explain the library's situation to them.
The observations and shortcomings noted during the January 2012 evaluations. The regional coordinator emphasized that the librarians needed to strictly respect the librarian manual in their work.
A experience shared by Boni's librarian, Mr. Jonas GNOUMOU. The cream is made from Nime leaves, boiled and mixed with soap and shea butter.
Presentation of a story
The story of Dounko SANOU about an old sorcerer. The moral of the story is not to react to a situation in anger.
The miscellaneous principally concerned the upcoming visit of volunteers and a French woman from RES Publica.
At the end of the week, we got a pleasant surprise! Each counterpart received a canteen full of materials to help them build a good latrine (a square, iron thread, a tape measure). AND! Each volunteer is receiving 100 000 FCFA ($2,000) to buy the rest of the supplies necessary to build a latrine (concrete, sand, etc.). We decided that we're going to use the money and materials to build a new VIP latrine at the library in Béréba (the old one is in sad shape). We plan to use it as a model for the community for how a latrine should be properly maintained and used.
During the training, each group of 3 (volunteer and two counterparts) was asked to present a plan of action about how they are going to share the information with their communities upon their return. Peace Corps will make periodic visits to each of the 12 villages to assess the progress of our plans. Our team decided that our first priority will be training the librarians so that they will be able to hold regular activities about hygiene and latrine usage in the FAVL villages. You can check out the rest of our plans below in our official "Plan d'Action."
Check out this video that highlights the information from the training in video and picture form. Enjoy!
At the beginning of February we officially began the book distribution with the visitors from the Chen Yet-Sen Foundation. Randomly selected students from the schools in the library communities would be receiving three books of their choice. After visiting the libraries, the visitors met with seven of the students, and inaugurated the program by giving them books of their choice.
On February 27 Lucas, Richard, Maxwell, Simon, and myself began traveling to schools to complete the book distribution for the rest of the students. Our car was laden with 10 boxes of books, with a mix of titles to give the students a wide range of choices. Most were African themed, like Kofi Has Malaria, The Cunning Tortoise, or Mumaizu and the Hippos, but we still had several titles with international themes, such as A Trip to the Theater, and a young readers edition of A Tale of Two Cities. In total we had 75 different titles for the students to chose from.
Before we began, we met with the Heads who were very enthusiastic about the book distribution. They helped us arrange a room to set up the books and worked with the teachers to alert the students. They thanked us for supporting their school by providing their students with resources to improve their reading.
The teachers were also helpful in gathering the students who were selected, and volunteering their classrooms. Some of the teachers asked for books themselves, but we encouraged them to make use of the libraries and explained that the books had to go to the children.
The students had been randomly selected the previous summer, and were in Primary 6 or Junior High School Form 1. They pulsed with nervous excitement as they filled out their questionnaire. Some were talkative and had to be reminded that the questionnaires we to be filled out individually, and others kept looking around at their friends and classmates who hung around the windows curiously. Still others worked with grave concentration, as if they believed they would not get the books if they wrote the wrong answers or took too long to complete the questions.
Once they finished the questionnaire, we allowed up to five students at a time to select their books. Some of the children rushed through in their excitement, still managing to pick out some of my favorite titles from the bunch. Others were more deliberate, and leafed through all of the books before carefully making their selections. As I recorded the student's selections we reminded them that the books were now their very own. They could share them with friends and family, but they should take good care of the books because they were theirs now. The students smiled proudly as they left holding their new books. Even though they probably should have returned to class, many of them sat outside the classrooms already engrossed in their new books.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Christine Allot-Bouty, from the French organization Res Publica, joined me on a tour of the libraries in the southwest. They currently have two libraries in small villages of Burkina. She was here on a site visit, and after having come across FAVL's website, was interested in seeing our work firsthand. In the course of two days, she visited the libraries in Boni, Béréba and Karaba. It was interesting having someone who also has experience with village libraries in Burkina visit and comment on those affiliated with FAVL. Christine really liked the libraries she saw and commented several times on how our strong suit was definitely activities and getting the community to participate and come to the library. She made several suggestions based on her experience, a lot of them organizational, (like chronologically ordering the cards from books that are checked out so that it's easier to see which books are late), ofwhich the librarians and Dounko took note. She commiserated over the almost-prohibitive price of African novels in French in Burkina. She would like some of the RWA photo books to put in her own libraries. During her visit to the FAVL office in Ouaga, she asked a lot about the reading camps, and Monique gave her a lot of information about them.
I received an email from Christine, which included several photos. Here's what she had to say:
J'ai aussi eu beaucoup de plaisir à rencontrer la jeunesse américaine et échanger avec vous. Pour Favl, tu ne peux que transmettre aux responsables mon vif intérêt pour votre travail. J'ai apprécié l'installation et le projet de chaque bibliothèque. Nous avons de notre côté deux installations et je ne peux que regretter le manque de temps sur le terrain. On voit que FAVL a un projet pensé et structuré.
[It was a pleasure for me also to meet and exchange with young Americans. As for FAVL, you can pass along to your superiors my interest in your work. I appreciated the installation and work of each library...You can tell that FAVL is a well-conceived and structured organization.]
And with Elisee here, it's nice to re-discover America from a new pair of eyes. Every time we do something new, I look at him with excitement, waiting to see his reaction. Unfortunately for me, Elisee is the most calm and laidback person I know, and I always end up more excited than him.
But one thing that he has been adamant about, and that I never really realized until I returned from Burkina, is the total lack of real American socialness. A number of times now, we will be outside walking the streets and Elisee will say "Where is everybody?" At first when he said this, we'd always happen to be in Oakland, so I just figured, "Well, people are just trying to avoid getting shot at!" (Kidding! Kidding!...but not really). But the more he said it, the more I realized how true it is. No one walks anymore. No one strolls the neighborhood streets. No kids play outside. No one knows their neighbors. Compared to Burkinabe, we Americans are just not social!
In Burkina, people are always outside, no matter what time it is. They are walking to the nearest boutique for a bag of sugar, or drinking beer with friends at an outside bar. They're women selling street food, merchants stopping at every car window with tissues or gum, or a group of men playing cards outside, scoping the beautiful girls passing by. Yes, Americans drive everywhere, but it's more than that because in Burkina people drive everywhere too (in motos).
A couple made-up but probably true scenarios:
David and Sandy are driving their Prius and pass by their friends Harry and Amy. To avoid having to stop and say hi, they pretend they don't see them and drive off. "Was that Harry and Amy?" David asks. "Oh, I'm not sure," Sandy responds. "I didn't see anything. Let's go, or we'll be late for Sarah's Baby Tumblers class"
Daouda and Salimata are driving their moto, one hour late for their family get-together. From the opposite side of the busy street, they see Hamidou and Aissa. They risk their lives, dodging motos, cars and a couple semis, to make an illegal U-turn. They scream out Hamidou and Aissa's names, waving frantically to get their attention. They stop in the middle of the road, blocking traffic while angry drivers yell out swear words, and proceed to greet their friends for the next 20 minutes. They invite them to the get-together and all four friends have a fabulous day.
Life is pretty chaotic in Timbuktu where Ali Haji Amadu lives with his wives, children and their many animals. They have one dangle-tailed donkey, two snaggle-toothed camels, three curvy-horned cows, four wobble-legged lambs and five goggle-eyed goats. That would probably be enough if the goats were not so troublesome and mischievous, munching and chewing everything in sight. At the insistence of his three wives, Fama, Rama and Sama, Ali Haji sets off to Mopti Market with the intention of selling the goats. It's a long trek but he finally arrives early the following morning and tries to find someone to buy them. It's not as easy as he expects though, especially when certain members of his family, having followed him, decide to intervene. It seems that the goats are wanted after all even though there is always such a hullabaloo when they are around. This is a fabulous children's book and the thing that you notice above all are the vibrant, energetic illustrations. The pictures are so exciting and really help to tell the story and to bring the characters alive. My daughter was quite mesmerised by the stunning pictures on the front cover before even opening up the book but once she did, she thought that the pictures just kept getting better and better and brighter and brighter.
This past week we've been listening to this absolutely beautiful song by Scottish musician who sings by name King Creosote....and then tonight I was listening to E.M.P.T.Y. by The Clientele, and Alasdair MacLean mentions creosote, and of course I realize I have no idea what creosote is... so you can look it up too now.
Les chiffres publiés mercredi par la Banque mondiale relèvent un recul de la pauvreté en Afrique sub-saharienne. Pour une première fois depuis plus de 30 ans, le nombre d'Africains vivant dans une extrême pauvreté représente moins de la moitié de la population du continent. Le nombre de pauvres en Afrique sub-saharienne a diminué de 2005 à 2008. L'annonce a été faite ce mercredi par la Banque mondiale. Un cycle de baisse générale sur une période de trois ans constitue une première depuis que l'institution de Bretton Woods a commencé à recueillir des données sur la pauvreté extrême en 1981. La Banque mondiale mentionne qu'en Afrique subsaharienne, « moins de la moitié de la population (47 %) vivait sous le seuil de 1,25 dollar par jour en 2008 » alors que « cette proportion s'établissait à 51 % en 1981 ».