A new Voyager Container Library!

10th March 2021 | News



The African Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) – a grant co-led by Dubai Cares and implemented by the International Publishers Association (IPA) – has chosen to fund five projects across Africa, and we are delighted to say that a new Voyager Container Library developed in partnership with Zanzibar Library Service will be one of them!

The APIF aims to support literacy, book access, indigenous publishing, and library restoration in Africa. Commenting on the APIF grant recipients, IPA President Bodour Al Qasimi said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has set back the education of millions of learners around the world, but its effects are acutest where the infrastructure cannot support the connectivity required for distance learning. Having received far more applications than we could have imagined, we are all very excited to have found five projects that we believe will deliver significant benefits for a great number of children and young people.”

Over the next 12 months, we will be working together to transform three shipping containers into a fully-equipped, vibrant and welcoming new library in rural Dunga, Zanzibar. The new library will also function as a community hub filled with exciting and interesting books where children can enjoy reading, young people can study for exams and adults can read for pleasure and learn new skills. 

The library will be filled with 5,000 brand new UK published books and a range of locally purchased books in local languages. It will be fitted with locally sourced shelving, furniture and mats for children to sit on while reading, and run by trained librarians who will help the whole community access the new resources.

Voyager Container Library
Our first Voyager Container Library in Rwanda, an example of what the new library could look like.

About Dunga

Dunga is a rural community which home to 76,000 people. The nearest public library is currently 10 miles away, and making the journey is not possible for many children, especially girls, who are all too often expected to stay at home. There are no book shops in Dunga, so this leaves a whole community without access to any books.

World Bank figures show that 30% of people live in poverty in Zanzibar. Women face particular challenges – they are twice as likely as men to be unable to attend school and it can be hard for women to become economically self-sufficient. 

The new Voyager Container Library will give women, among others, an opportunity to study, to access books, to learn even outside of school and find out information about potential careers or how to set up their own businesses.

Construction on the library is expected to begin in spring and we would like to extend a very warm thank you to APIF and Dubai Cares for funding this exciting new project. To read more, visit the APIF page.


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