The APIF's second key focus is on supporting library services where they are most needed. Properly resourced and managed libraries can provide a cornerstone of the literary and educational life of communities everywhere. More than mere book repositories, they can be cultural hubs that engender vitality and inspiration.
The Book Bunk - Kenya
Kenyan library restoration project Book Bunk was assigned $50,000, and Dubai Cares gave a further $10,000 one-off donation for children’s books to stock the library. Book Bunk’s mission is to restore the historical McMillan Memorial Library, in Nairobi, working with city authorities to encourage community engagement in libraries.
After several years of researching, planning, lobbying and implementing, the team have transformed the dilapidated buildings and their obsolete, colonial-era book collections into fresh, user-friendly incubators of knowledge, community cohesion, and cultural autonomy.
Exposing Hope - Kenya
The other library in the 2020 grant round was a project called Exposing Hope, which is building a facility at the sprawling Kakuma refugee settlement in northern Kenya. Kakuma was created in 1992 to take in the so-called Lost Boys of South Sudan and refugees from Ethiopia and Somalia fleeing conflict at home. It is now one of the largest refugee camps in the world, with a population over 191,000 from 19 different countries, including thousands of school age children.
Book Aid International - Tanzania
Book Aid International has transformed three shipping containers into fully-equipped libraries in Dunga, a rural community of 76,000 in the Zanzibar region of Tanzania, where children can enjoy reading, young learners can study for exams, and adults can read and learn new skills. Itwill be filled with 5,000 new books for children and adults in English and local languages.
The library will be staffed by three trained librarians who will promote the resource to the whole community and run special activities for girls and outreach to local schools.
Chirikure Chirikure - Zimbabwe
Celebrated Zimbabwean poet Chirikure Chirikure has built a modern community library in Zimbabwe's Nemashakwe area, Gutu district, to offer 800 students and young people access to books, a place to study, and programs to attain livelihood skills.
Chirikure's family will convert some of its own buildings for the project, which will invest the APIF grant incomputers, connectivity, solar installation and a water borehole for the users of the resource centre.
OliveSeed - Kenya
OliveseedKenya is a community-based Kenyan organization working to nuture a culture of reading and learningin the rural communities living alongside the Maasai Mara National Reserve. Families there live in unpowered earthen homes, books are a rarity, and public schools have no libraries or other resources to nurture a love of reading. Oliveseed Kenya is addressing this by developing high-quality, culturally relevant, and engaging libraries with related programs; putting solar lighting and small libraries in homes; and running creative-writing competitions for youth across the region.
Oliveseed Kenya is using its grant to strengthen all these initiatives, by adding libraries and enrichment programs in two more key locations: one at a girls’ high school with 900 students; and the other, the first public library in the region, impacting thousands more. This initiative includes training workshops for teachers and student librarians and after-school reading challenges — and culminates in an indigenous story writing project, with young people interviewing elders and writing their stories.