By Irene Gaitirira
Published January 13, 2016
A UK book charity shall expand two major library programmes for children in Africa in 2016.
Book Aid International, the library development charity, says it shall set up five new Childrenâ€™s Corners in public libraries in Zimbabwe. It says this is made possible with a Â£200,000 from players of Peopleâ€™s Postcode Lottery.
Although Zimbabwe faces serious economic challenges with more than 60% of the population living in poverty, its reading culture remains strong and adult literacy is estimated to stand at more than 80%. Book Aid says the Childrenâ€™s Corners will have a positive impact in Zimbabwe where appetite for books is strong but many children have limited access to reading material.
Also being launched in 25 schools across Kenya will be a school library programme, ‘Inspiring Readers’. Targeting about 20000 children, each school will receive 1,200 brand new books in book box libraries; teachers will attend training in using the books to maximum effect in lessons.
Book Aid International says it plans to expand its book provision programme to Sierra Leone in 2016 to support the country as it rebuilds after the Ebola crisis.
Players of Peopleâ€™s Postcode Lottery have supported Book Aid International since 2014 and funding has already helped the charity to establish six Childrenâ€™s Corners in Malawi public libraries; it has also been used to launch a digital project to bring e-readers into childrenâ€™s libraries in Uganda. It has also been used inÂ providing brand new books to more than 3,400 libraries.
Alison Hubert, Director of Book Aid International says: â€œThis very generous funding from players of Peopleâ€™s Postcode Lottery for 2016 will enable us to bring the joy and power of reading to more people than ever before. Each year we send up to one million brand new books to libraries in Africa and we see first-hand the impact these books have on communities, schools and individuals who otherwise might not have any access to reading materials.â€
Book Aid International works in 11 African countries and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. ItÂ distribute books and learning resources and trains librarians here. The charity partners with local library services and communities to provide safe and engaging spaces to access books and reading.