Organize a Read-a-thon to help African village libraries
Interested in organizing a Read-a-thon in your school or community to raise money for libraries in Africa? FAVL can help you get started. Materials to help you kick-off a read-a-thon are available for downloading here: setup material and sponsor forms. To kick off a Read-a-Thon you, or a FAVL representative would provide a brief presentation on what life is like in Ghana and Burkina Faso and the role of FAVL libraries. FAVL can supply a slideshow of pictures and short video clips. A sample of video clips are available on the FAVL blog.
Volunteer in an African village library
FAVL is a small, all-volunteer organization. We depend on people like you, volunteers interested and committed to helping small village libraries in rural Africa. Do you believe that children, young adults, farmers, weavers, traders, and others in very poor villages should have the same access to information- books and other media- as people in developed countries? Do you think that development can only happen when people are empowered by access to information and the habits of reading and critical thinking? Then please join us!
If you can spend some time in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Uganda or Tanzania, we'd love to have you volunteer, with a few requirements: you should be willing to commit to a minimum of one month for your stay; you should be able to finance your trip and volunteer stay; you should be aware that living conditions in rural Africa are difficult and there is a high disease burden (malaria, meningitis, dystentery); French-speaking required for Burkina Faso.
It takes about $1500 for airfare and $500 for shots and trip preparation and insurance, and $1000 for a 6-8 week period to cover your food and lodging in a village, and $1000 to FAVL to cover the expenses associated with hosting and arranging your stay in the village, so $4000 is usually enough for an incredible immersion experience. If you are a university student, you can often apply for funding from your university to help pay for part of the cost of your trip. You may be able to get course credit for your experience. Another option is to have a fund-raiser for your trip, which would raise additional funds for FAVL as well.
We should warn you: conditions in these regions are very rough. These are among the poorest regions of the world. The people are amazing, and you'll have a great time and learn an amazing amount, but you will get sick! Serious diseases are epidemic in Africa. You need to be aware of that and do a lot of background preparation. FAVL cannot take responsibility for your volunteer immersion experience; you will be volunteering directly with the local library.
Guides for Library Volunteers - Northern Ghana | Burkina Faso | Tanzania
Volunteer in the United States
If you are able to help here in the United States, please contact us! Our most pressing need is for publicity and fund-raising. Please download and distribute (via print or email) copies of our newsletter.
Please note: In general we do not need used books. Shipping books is expensive, so unless they are very suited for the rural African libraries we support (books by African authors, children's books featuring African themes) please donate them to your local library. Better yet, organize a book swap in your neighborhood and use the occasion to raise funds for FAVL to be used to buy local books appropriate for local conditions. Library support organizations that ship used books to African libraries are listed on our Links page.