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Ode to Emilie Crofton at the Pobé Library

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A acrostic poem about Emilie, who was a volunteer in Pobé for two years, that is prominently displayed behind the librarian's desk. You're not forgotten in your village, Emilie!


The new librarian from Ouargaye, Zombré Joanny, arrived from his two-week training in Dohoun with Alidou. During his training, Zombre learned about FAVL and the work we do in Burkina, the role of a librarian including the responsibilities and expectations of his job, how to organize a village library and keep account of the books that belong to the library, how to animate an activity for a group of students, how to record library statistics and accounts, among many other things. The training was both theoretical and practical. Alidou gave lectures and Joanny took copious notes (it's the practice of Burkinabè to write down EVERYTHING that a superior says, no matter how insignificant. One of the downsides of education based on rote memorization.). Alidou also had him tag along and watch the practice of all the things that he explained - how to fill out an accounts notebook, how to greet a visitor, and most importantly, how to run an activity for kids that is both interesting and educational. This is one of the strengths of FAVL as an organization, and is therefore a very important part of being a FAVL librarian. The last three days of the training were practical training just on that skill.

Now the librarian will return to Ouargaye, armed with all this new information, books to stock the library, subscription cards and signs to put by the road and outside the library to indicate its location. So looks like we're all set for the grand opening of the village library of Ouargaye. Ouargaye should have their library up and running by November 15th.

In other news: The RWA students and David Pace have safely arrived from village. Everyone is happy to have access to fans and cold Cokes, but really excited to be heading back to village in just a few days. They will take advantage of this trip to visit SIAO, the international arts and crafts exposition taking place here in Ouaga until next Sunday. Artists and craftsman have come from all over Africa - from as far away as Madagascar and South Africa to our neighbors of Mali, Niger and Côte d'Ivoire - to present and sell their work in Burkina. The festival takes place once every two years, and is definitely worth the trip.

Donkoui and I just got back from a visit the three northern libraries and to hold a training for the three librarians. We're definitely dustier and sweatier for the wear, but it was nice to get out of Ouaga (even briefly). Donkoui had only been to Pobé and I had only been to Bougounam, so it was a good experience for the both of us and helped us to understand the full FAVL picture better. Look forward to more about our visit and lots of pictures in the coming days!

The Kitengesa Team joins Beyond Access

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Kate Parry writes:

Beyond Access is an initiative of the Gates Foundation, Irex, EIFL and others, which aims to put public and community libraries on the development agenda. Its first major activity was a conference that took place at the beginning of October in Washington DC, preceded by a camp for teams representing twenty libraries from all over the world, from Bhutan to Uzbekhistan.

Uganda was the only country to have two libraries represented, and FAVL's Kitengesa Community Library was one of them. Our team was comprised of Dan Ahimbisibwe, the Kitengesa librarian, Brenda Musasizi, the coordinator of UgCLA (Uganda Community Libraries Association), and Ssenteza Yusuf, our ally in local government (a professional civil servant who was stationed in Masaka for many years and was enormously helpful when we were buying the land for our new library building). The other library was the National Library of Uganda, with which UgCLA works closely, its Treasurer, Gertrude Kayaga Mulindwa, being the Director of the NLU.

For those of us who work with libraries, the camp was probably the most instructive part of the event. We had an opportunity to showcase our work in the form of a poster--Kitengesa produced two, actually, one focusing on our Library Scholarship scheme, the other on the work of our Women's Group--and were helped to draw up another as part of a competition for five awards of $10,000 each. The Kitengesa library did not win one, alas, but the National Library of Uganda did, for a project providing health information to young pregnant mothers. Other libraries produced other interesting proposals, for a tool lending library in Ethiopia, for instance, and for a project promoting indigenous languages in Brazil. Those didn't get awards either, but our partner group in Kenya, Maria's Libraries, did for a project involving reading with mothers and young children (similar in principle to what we're already doing at Kitengesa, actually, but with more use of technological gizmos). See the Beyond Access website for details. Apart from these activities, we also picked up some useful tips on approaching donors and identifying the outcomes and impacts of our projects. The conference on the third day was less informative for us, reasonably enough, since its main purpose was to inform donor organizations and other potential partners of the importance of what libraries like ours do. Best of all, this camp-plus-conference has resulted in what looks like becoming an ongoing network. I've been getting a flurry of emails from other library teams with questions and comments arising from the event. The main problem will be to keep up with them all.

On a more personal level, it was wonderful to have Dan, Brenda, and Ssenteza here in the US. Dan and Brenda came back to New York with me afterwards, and we had a terrific party for them on the Saturday. We also arranged some sightseeing for them, including visits to several libraries and to the United Nations, the members of whose 1% Cent for Development Fund have been among our greatest supporters. We're all tremendously grateful to Beyond Access and its sponsors for providing us with this opportunity.

Progress with the Rotary Club

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We're making slow but steady progress with the Rotary Club to open our multimedia/publishing center in Houndé. We've been trying to get in contact with the treasurer to get through the last steps with no luck. Last night, Donkoui decided to bite the bullet and attend the weekly Tuesday night meeting of the Ouaga Rotary Club. He brought with him a sample copy of the book about his father, which is an example of the kind of work the center would be doing. They absolutely loved the book! Donkoui also told them a story from Michael about a former Santa Clara University Student who was in Australia doing research. She attended a Rotary Club meeting in Sydney, and when she was handed the agenda bulletin, she saw that the featured story was about the Ouaga Rotary and the work they're doing with FAVL! The Rotary members were really flattered to hear that they were being mentioned in faraway places like Australia!

We are now in contact with the right people and have the ball rolling once again to open our center! Yay!

News from Burkina

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Despite more and more frequent power, water and internet outages here in Ouaga, the team here in Burkina has been pretty busy and productive lately. Here's is some of the stuff we've been working on:

- Following up on the last stages Ouargaye library project. The librarian was chosen and is currently in Dohoun for a two week training with Alidou. After the training is over, Alidou will accompany the librarian back to Ouargaye to make sure he is comfortable in his new role. We've been making lists of the book donations that will be sent down there and printing "fiches de sorties" and "cartes d'abonnement" for the librarian's use. All that is left is to locally purchase the rest of the library's inventory.

- Outlining and writing the 2012 Annual Report that will be distributed to all partners and donors at the beginning of the new year.

- Revising PowerPoint presentations with current statistics, prices and photos and strategizing on where and to whom to give these presentations.

- Planning a trip to visit the northern libraries. We will conduct evaluations and have a meeting with the three librarians to reinforce their training in keeping account books, planning activities and sending monthly reports to Ouagadougou. I've never seen the libraries in Pobé and Béléhédé, so I'm pretty excited about this.

- Dounko accompanied the RWA study abroad students on an excursion to the economic capital of Burkina, Bobo-Dioulasso, and to the tourist sites in Banfora.

- Antoinette, our village in Houndé, planned some World Handwashing Day activities at a couple of the village libraries. Look for photos and a report soon!

Report from Summer Reading Camp in Niankorodougou

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Alidou reports:

Pendant le mois de septembre 2012, j'ai mené des activités entrant dans le cadre de préparation du camp de lecture de Niankorodougou et l'arrivée des étudiants du programme RWA. Le 09 septembre a été mon départ sur Niankorodougou. Le camp a été du 10 au 15 septembre. Vingt élèves du CM1 des deux écoles A et B ont répondu à l'appel.

Cette deuxième édition de camp de lecture à Niankorodougou a vu à l'ouverture la présence des autorités : le maire de la commune Monsieur Ouattara Drissa et le préfet Monsieur Sarambé Mahamadou. Ils sont venus apporter leurs mots d'encouragement aux élèves et à toute l'équipe d'animation pour que ce camp de lecture apporte beaucoup de connaissances aux élèves et qu'il se déroule dans des bonnes conditions.

Pendant six jours, six animateurs ont fait preuve de présence et de travail il s'agit de Boué Alidou comme animateur, Traoré Seydou comme enseignant, Ouattara Karidia comme bibliothécaire et  Ouattara Souleymane comme assistant avec l'assistance des volontaires Ashley et Kelly.

Outre la fabrication de la poudre de Neem pour le brossage des dents, les autres activités ont été menées. Le pre-test, post-test et le test de niveau de lecture ont été faits. Le test de lecture nous a permis à identifier les lecteurs faibles que nous avons regroupés dans un même groupe pour pouvoir mieux s'occuper d'eux et de les dégager de toute influence de leurs camarades. Les enfants ont aimé plusieurs activités pendant le camp surtout le Sparkle.

Chaque enfant a reçu une brosse et une patte pour désormais lutter efficacement contre les maux de dents. D'une façon générale le camp de lecture de Niankorodougou s'est très bien passé. Tous habillés en tee-shirts et une restauration convenable et équilibré matin et midi pendant six jours. La fin du camp a observé un post-test et l'évaluation finale dont les progrès de quelques élèves constaté de part et d'autres.  

What happens to a well-read book in a FAVL library in Burkina Faso

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September Library Activities

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Many of the librarians have taken what they learned at the summer reading camps, and have used the information to plan activities at their libraries. Here are some of the activities that took place at the Burkina libraries during the month of September:

Koumbia: alphabet lesson, workshop of sounds, informational session on hand washing
- J'ai appris à 04 enfants dont 02 garçons et 02 filles à lire quelques lettres de l'alphabet. Ils ont réussi à lire les lettres proposés. Ils ont promis de revenir une prochaine fois pour apprendre d'autres lettres. J'étais joyeuse de leur travail parce que ce sont des futurs élèves.
- C'est atélier des sons. C'était avec 05 enfants dont 03 filles et 02 garçons. Ils ont participé à l'activité avec enthousiasme. C'était amusant pour eux. La séance d'activité s'est bien terminée.
- J'ai fait la sensibilisation sur le lavage des mains. Les enfants ont repondu aux questions posé moyennement. Nous étions satisfaite car l'enfant avait déjà des notions sur l'activité.

Dohoun: BINGO
Notre activité de ce jour 04 septembre 2012 avait pour nom le BINGO. Le BINGO est un jeu peu connu des enfants mais en ce jour n'avait pas vu une grande participation car seulement 05 enfants ont été effectif. Debuté par des explications des principes du jeu les enfants ont été très content car leur gamme de jeu venait de s'elargir et cela les permet à mieux s'amuser surtout le jeu de BINGO qui est un jeu de mots. Tout joyeusement nous nous separions en esperant découvrir un nouveau jeu la prochaine fois.

Dimikuy: lecture de Un Arbre Pour Lollie
Le dimanche 23 septembre, nous avons eu une séance de lecture d'un livre du titre Un Arbre Pour Lollie de l'auteur Fatou Keïta avec un petit groupe de 05 enfants dont 03 garçons et 02 filles. Pour permettre aux enfants à savoir qu'il ne faut pas rejeter quelqu'un qui a le VIH/SIDA parce que la personne a besoin d'être auprès de ses amis. Au début, la question suivante a été posée: Est-ce que c'est possible d'être ami avec quelqu'un qui a le HIV/SIDA? Chacun a repondu non parce que c'est une sale maladie qui contamine et en plus il n'y a pas de vaccin contre cette maladie. Quand ils ont suivit attentivement la fin de la lecture, ils ont compris que le virus de cette maladie se trouve dans le sang et ne peut pas te contaminer si tu n'es pas en contact avec le sang d'autruit et les objets chouets.

Visitors to the FAVL Office

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I've said it before and I'll say it again: putting a sign in front of the FAVL office in Ouaga was an excellent PR move. We have visitors come all the time and ask about our work. People want to know exactly what the "friend" of a local village library is and does. Either Donkoui or I sits down with them and explains our projects and presents them with a pamphlet. And then we bring out the big guns: the RWA books. They're always a big hit, and people usually end up purchasing a few copies. A couple of recent visitors we've had have included:

- Barry Seydou who wrote in the visitor's log, "Je suis vraiment très content d'avoir découvrir votre domaine, et ensuite je suis haïr de m'assoir discuter avec vous, et en plus c'est une très bonne idée d'avoir pensé à l'avenir du développement et l'agrandissement d'esprit des enfants de notre cher pays le Burkina Faso."

- Oumarou Tankoano, the president of Population et Développement du Sud (PODS), an organization here in Burkina. He was here for quite a while, taking notes and learning about the libraries and the summer reading camps. He is interested in pursuing a partnership with FAVL and perhaps working with us to build a library in the east of Burkina. In the visitor's log, he wrote, "C'est merveilleux ce que j'ai constaté lors de cette visite. Félicitations à l'association mais aussi mes encouragements pour les projets dans lesquels elle s'engage."

- A local author who presented us with a copy of his book to show his support for and solidarity in the fight against illiteracy in Burkina.

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

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

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