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Thought I would share some comments and photos from Paul Ayutoliya, our coordinator.  Thanks to our generous donors!

I spent yesterday and today at the Sumbrungu community library working on the sockets fans, and louvers replacement as part of the renovation works. The sockets and fans were worked on yesterday whiles today was for the louvers works. The sockets have been worked on and everything is now working perfectly with the new fans replaced.  I return yesterday in the night to find out how patrons were feeling seeing the library now fitted or replaced with new fans, they were all fill with joy for the new fans. Some have actually written to express their joy and happiness. I will send few shots of their writing to you Prof. in another mail. This was necessary due to the heat in the library and need to print some documents at my office, so the issue of the fans and sockets have been worked on now and as I said everything is working perfect.


Painting Sherigu library in Upper East, Ghana

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The three FAVL-CESRUD supported libraries in Ghana are getting repainted thanks to generous donors, many from Mississippi in the United States.  Thank you!  Kids in the communities will be excited to come and read in the refurbished libraries.

sherigu library.jpg

Report on the vacation classes organized by Cesrud/FAVL Ghana

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Paul Ayutoliya writes;
About Cesrud/Favl ongoing vacation classes for the first week so far, the attendance and performance in terms of how the children are picking up on how to read are just very impressive and lovable in all the three libraries. The children and young adults this time round have developed a good habit towards the libraries hence the greater numbers coming always to the library for the classes. I have had several engagements with the head teachers and teachers of the basics schools around the libraries any time I visit the respective libraries, I have asked them to always encourage their pupils to visit the libraries especially when they are going for vacation, some have indeed taking this request from me back to their pupils hence the good numbers this time round. The librarians also have played key roles leading to the good patronage we have this time round; they went to the surrounding schools during my absence in Accra and reminded pupils about the classes. The libraries since we started have really been interesting places the children desire to be at. The fun and joy in reading with peers just keep these young and little ones coming in their good numbers to the respective libraries. The ampe game, the ludu game puzzles and now the Oware that have been added with more ludos to the games in the libraries attracts more of these children. Motivations sometimes in the form of candies and biscuits to these young ones are just enough to keep them coming to read with friends.  To conclude on this brief write up, the classes are really do a lot in helping children read more of the stories books in the libraries. We are hopeful, the coming days or weeks, more will be joining the classes.


Quiz competition for students at Sumbrungu Community Library

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Paul Ayutoliya writes:

P1070053 sm.JPGCESRUD/FAVL Ghana in collaboration with head teachers and teachers of two surrounding schools (St. Charles Lwanga JHS and Dazongo JHS) to the Sumbrungu Community Library organized a quiz competition for students of these schools last Friday the 16th of June 2017. The quiz competition took place at the Sumbrungu Women Meeting hall due to the huge numbers of participants; the students were numbering up to 300 and above with their teachers also about 20 in number. St. Charles Lwanga JHS presented three contestants; two boys, one girl, Dazongo JHS on the other side presented the same two boys and one girl making also three contestants for the quiz competition.

P1070081 sm.JPGBefore the start of the quiz, I (Paul) was asked to give a welcome address and also tie in the importance of library usage to pupils/students. In delivery my welcome address, I touch briefly on the rationale for the establishment of the community libraries and the need for pupils/students to patronize the libraries. I told students that they need to read at all times because that is the only way that will help them laid a good foundation for their future. I touch on the activities that we undertake in the library; vacation classes, group discussions, time to share, games among others. I told students there is great joy and fun reading with colleagues and friends at the library. I thanked all for their attention and encourage the pupils to always come to the library and read at every time the library is operational. There were other speeches from the head teachers and some teachers also encouraging the pupils to take reading seriously.

P1070070 sm.JPGThe questions for the quiz were set from Science, Social Studies, Current Affairs, spellings and Mathematics. Apart from Mathematics, contestants have 30 second to answer their major question for three (3) points and a bonus questions went for one (1) point. Mathematics, contestant were given one minute to come out with answer for a major question for three (3) points and of course a bonus question goes for a point. There were several questions which all contestants from both schools were not able to provide answer and such question were sometimes thrown to the rest of the students, a number of questions were answered correctly from  some of these students.

At the end of the day, St. Charle Lwanga JHS came top with overall points of 75 whiles Dazongo JHS followed with an overall scored of 61 points. Prizes were presented to all contestants as well as those students from the crowd who also provided answers to some of the questions. Let me add that, the Circuit Supervisors for 'West B' came later on to joined us, he was very impressed about what was going on and express his readiness to supports teachers and the libraries in organizing such events. He advised pupils to study hard and respect their teachers and parents back home.

It was a successful event at the end of the day; everyone who participated learnt something new, we are hoping to organize most of such events including debates and others, we are sure this will  stimulate the spirit of inquisitive reading and learning in pupils/students and to everyone. It will go a long way to increase usage of the libraries.

A poem for quietly giving thanks

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Collateral Beauty in a Time of Famine

Fajr  (dawn)
Call-to-prayer wakens
all in this desert-edge town,
even the roosters.

Dhuhr  (noon)
On cracked-open soles,
thousands walk from hard to here,
weak bearing weakest.

Asr  (afternoon)
"Peace, peace," whisper-sings
midwife to child, newly born
and newly orphaned.

Maghrib  (sunset)
Families with little
keep stew warm over embers
for strangers with less.

Isha'a  (night)
Star-spangled dark sky
swallows suffering, emits
unexpected grace.

               Lori Zink

* FAVL board member Lori Zink was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger back in the 1980s, and shared with us this poem she wrote, reflecting how much her time in a Sahelian village inspired her.  Thanks Lori for the beautiful imagery.

FAVL finalist for Systematic Joy of Reading Award!

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Received via email from Systematic:

It was truly inspiring to read about all the different projects, and we want you to know that it has been very difficult to select the nominees for this award. However, we have nominated the following six projects:

  • 20 community libraries in Northern Burkina Faso
  • VoorleesExpress (The Reading Express)
  • Doorstep Library
  • FunDza Literacy Trust
  • Mini-libraries - discovering and sharing the joy of reading
  • Osu Children's Library Fund

A big congratulation to all the nominees and an overall thank you to everyone who showed interest in this award. The winner will be announced the 13th of June 2017 at the Next Library Festival in Aarhus, Denmark.  A brief presentation of each nominee is published on

Very nice profile of Ethan Greeley in The Jewish Chronicle.

When Ethan Greeley began to study for his bamitzvah at a suburban Washington DC synagogue, he already knew he wanted to aim his requisite community service project at helping children in Africa. He was particularly interested in doing something in Sebba, a tiny village in northern Burkina Faso where his mother grew up and which he had visited numerous times. Today, in that village, more than 5,000 miles away from his Maryland home, stands a new library for children and adults to gather, read and borrow books.

The library opened on April 9, 2016, about a year after Ethan's bamitzvah at Temple Emanuel. Thanks to donations from the Greeleys' friends and family; the Friends of Burkina Faso; the Temple Emanuel Global Mitzvah Committee and Merck (the pharmaceutical company for which Ethan's father, David, used to work), Ethan raised $20,000 to refurbish an old building and turn it into a library.

Best summer reading camp picture ever!

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Summer reading camp in Dimikuy village, Burkina Faso

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From Sanou Dounko:

Le lundi 27 août 2012 le camp de lecture de Dimikuy a fait son ouverture sous le très haut parrainage de Mr Zoubiéssé Doyé maire de la commune rurale de Béréba en presence des chefs de services de la commune et notables du dit village. La cérémmonie d'ouverture a eu lieu juste après avoir habillé les participants suivi de leur petit déjeuner. Le chef coutumier du village a souhaité la bienvenue à toutes et à tous puis a salué linitiative de FAVL surtout en les invitant à cette cérémonie ensuite invité les élèves à profiter des apprentissage du camp.

Le maire a pris la parole en livrant le message suivant :

Je remercie FAVL dans son initiative de création de bibliothèques source du savoir et qui sont nos centres culturels en faisant la promotion de la lecture et d'activités de sensibilisation dans plusieurs domaines. Ce camp de lecture dont je suis le parrain me donne un devoir de redoubler plus d'effort en impliquant la gestion des deux bibliothèques dans le budget  communale. La signature des conventions de gestion de celles-ci est desormais ma priorité car je veux être le premier à les signer. l'abonnement des élèves du cm2 à prouver l'importance de ces bibliothèques. Notre commune est classée 2eme au niveau provincial des resultats du CEP. La rentrée prochaine la mairie fera son possible pour abonner tous les élèves du primaire à la bibliothèque. Je remercie les donateurs qui nous soutiennent depuis l'installation de ces centres, de même que les volontaires du corps de la paix participant aux activitées d'animation durant ces camps de lecture. Les enfants sont notre avenir et j'interpelle mes frères et sœurs à investir dans leur éducation. Mes remerciements vont également aux animateurs, enseignants et bibliothécaires.  Je souhaite que pamis ces enfants des cadres  y sortent pour. Je vous remercie.
Une photo de famille avec les participants, autorités, animateurs a été prise.


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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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