first rural library! Laikipia
is 240 KM outside of Nairobi. Sipili, where the library will be
is 60 KM outside of Nyahururu towards Samburu district. This is
an area of conflict between Samburu and Pokot. The library we hope
will help in conflict resolution, through being a community based
organisation, involving all community members, regardless of tribe.
On first visiting this area it seems
that no one lives there, but there are schools hidden away everywhere
- including a school for the deaf. These school invariably do not
perform as well as they should in national exams due to lack of
resources. We want to give these children- and their families- a
chance by giving them access to knowledge, and support the schools
through supporting the curriculum.
This library will be organised
by a committee of 10 local community members- 5 of whom are members
of the group who have donated the land.- who are a registered CBO
(Community Based Organisation).
Until the new building is
available we have made the Information Centre/ Library in a Lariak
Primary school , who have donated two large classrooms (currently
not in use) .
The refurbishment of the
rooms has been donated by The Australian High Commission!
The final reports for their records was submitted May 30th 2007.
We were able to refurbish the rooms (mend the roof, install power
to the two rooms, attach grills to the windows, install a ramp and
move the front door (making it secure at the same time) fence off
the two rooms so that visitors to the centre will not disturb the
school day to day running, a partition installed to separate the
two rooms again when needed, and gaps in the walls replaced with
two new windows. We have also had furniture made to a very high
standard, and purchased stationary to process the books. Unfortunately
because we had to install the two new windows we had to forgo the
carpeting... so we are looking for a donor to give us some carpeting!!
All furniture made for this building will be movable to the new
building when the time comes.
Sept/ October 2007!
Stock for this exciting project
has arrived from Canada, thanks to Sheri Harper in Canada
for collecting up the books, and to Muthaiga Rotary Club
here in Nairobi for paying for and organising the shipment of the
books! After initially planning to unpack and sort the consignment
in Nairobi first, we decided to transport the boxes up to the centre
in Sipili and sort them out there.
The books were transported
in September, so unpacking was followed by training of the 4 staff
( chosen by the library committee).Thanks to Eunice Muthoni for
donating the truck to transport the books!
Library September 2007
Volunteers are now working!
We have 4 volunteers who have started their training:
Martha, Joffry, and Rosemary
February 2008. Anne has
rented two rooms in Sipili to advance the work in the library. She
is staying with a family, and has her German Shepherd dog (Kimbe)
with her! The work is advancing now at a greater pace.
The challenges here are great,
and of a different nature to the slum areas of Nairobi. Here the
sight of white skin still equals money. We are also fighting against
the reputation of international donors who have been cheated by
local members of the community, making those community members very
rich. This makes the idea of doing something with no backhanders
much more difficult to achieve. Also getting all community members
involved is a real challenge, as education means very little to
pastoralists (Pokot, Turkana, Samburu). Even local teachers (particularly
primary level) have a hard time understanding the concept of informal
learning. Understanding of English is also a real challenge, but
as all the library stock is in English this challenge has to be
Anne hopes to be able to
release funds to purchase more shelving after Easter, and after
next KidsLibs Trustees meeting , scheduled for 30th March 2008.
These funds have been donated by Bakewell Rotary Club in the UK,
who are also funding Anne's rent etc whilst she is staying in Sipili.
East African Womens League
(EAWL) have donated us a large piece of carpet! KidsLibs paid for
this to be transported to Sipili, where - once the roof is repaired
again- it will be laid.
The CBO is now trying to
find means of sustainability before the centre opens (hopefully
June 2008). They are approaching the local MP for CDF money (Community
Well, the carpet has been
laid, all shelving purchased, and the library is looking good!!
We plan to open on June 7th. The Children's library stock will be
complete by wednesday this week, leaving only the adults library
to complete. The Romance section is catalogued, leaving only the
other catagorised fiction sections to do (Horror, Science fiction/
Fantasy, Westerns, War and Thrillers), and the non fiction.
adults study area
April 13th 2008
The library committee is
still being worked on to get them to organise sustainability for
the new centre. I am now down to two staff members, who are enthusiastic,
and see the real need of the centre. Unfortunately the ladies did
not work out, which was sad.
I have also managed to find
a local teacher who is keen to organise an adults drama group based
at the library. Also a young man called John, who is keen both to
start art clubs for children, and to start a children's drama group.
He has already approached Sunday Schools for recruits!! I am still
trying to find a volunteer for musical activities.
The Proposed new Information
Centre - Our Dream!!! UPDATED!
Architects have finished a wonderful design for this centre!
They have done this work for free!! We are now trying to find donors
to provide us with the 23 million Kenya shillings required to build
the centre (plus the builder costs, and plus furniture!). The centre
will make use of solar energy for power and for water heating.
Anne visited the proposed
plot of land for the new centre. We have 1/2 an acre in an ideal
location, near to one of the primary schools, a secondary school,
the school for the Deaf, and to a local clinic , also near to the
centre of town.
We also hope after the centre
is built to run mobile library units to more remote areas. On these
we can offer information on HIV aids etc using video etc. We will
need to take a small generator and video facilities. We also plan
to have a school bus to transport children from remot schools to
visit the centre. We think that a rescue vehicle may also be needed
in case of problems with either of these vehicles.
Currently we are looking
for donors to build the centre, but first we have to acquire the
Title Deed for the plot of land, which will guarantee ownership-
a BIG issue here in Kenya. Two contractors have already been approached
for their ideas on building costs, availaility of materials etc.
Watch this space for developments!!