By Ogova Ondego
Published August 14, 2014
A British charity has donated books to 35 primary schools in the Kagera region of Tanzania.
The charity, Book Aid International, that promotes itself as being ‘committed to making books and information accessible to those that need them most’, says 35 schools in remote rural Kagera now have their first library through its ‘School Library in a Box’ project.
Also with new libraries are schools in Mazinga Island in Lake Victoria.
“Islanders living on the lake are more disadvantaged than the population on the mainland: livelihoods are almost entirely dependent on fishing and small-scale agriculture; health services are limited and often temporary in the form of floating clinics, and literacy rates are well below the national average,” says Book Aid International. “Earlier this year, Jonathan Coolidge, the VSO Education Advisor managing the School Library in a Box project in Kagera, packed four library boxes full of new books and made the two-hour boat ride out to Mazinga Island. He was met by students and teachers who carried the boxes through the village and up to the school.”
Jonathan Working with learners and teachers to set up a weekly reading schedule, Coolidge is reported to have trained eight pupils in each school at Mazinga and Buyonzi primary schools as library monitors. Pupils were also shown how to use the new English/Kiswahili dictionaries.
“Along with Mazinga,” Book Aid International says, “we have also expanded our School Library in a Box programme to the nearby islands of Goziba and Ikuza. By providing these island communities with access to books we hope to improve the prospects and life chances of children there.”