Tag Archives: Uganda

Zanzibar ILD

Speaking up for reading

In September, our partners in fifteen African countries held celebrations to mark International Literacy Day.

Many used it as an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of literacy and reading, introduce more members of the local community to the library and also to highlight literacy and multilingualism – the theme of this year’s International Literacy Day.

Our partners flew the flag for literacy in all manner of locations from national libraries in bustling capital cities to small community libraries in rural areas.

And everyone was invited – and attended – from Government ministers, national TV stations, newspaper journalists to mayors, chiefs, farmers, local NGOs, publishers, authors, and of course teacher, pupils and their parents.

Books you helped to send were used as prizes for participating schools, providing 100s of new, inspiring children’s books for them to add to their library collections.

Here, our partners tell us more about how they marked the day – and the impact it has had in their communities:


Cameroon ILD participants


“EISERVI library is located in Yaounde, the political capital of Cameroon. The city today is made of all ethnic groups in Cameroon and many people work as civil servants. Ongoing conflict means that IDPs are flocking to the city and school class sizes are swelling meaning that children have to share books often one between ten.

The library serves the community of Yaounde and Cameroon in general with books to meet the needs and aspirations of children and adults, academics and entrepreneurs.

Our International Literacy Day celebrations included speeches, a spelling bee, a tour of the library, poem presentations, cultural dances and a fashion parade. The activities showcased the different languages in Cameroon and students also held a debate on ‘can literacy be acquired through multilingualism?’

The children were so happy to see and access a large variety of books in a well organised library.”

I have discovered as a teacher that I still have a lot to do with my pupils concerning reading and other literacy activities. This event is a spring board for me.

– Mr Effa Joseph, Head Teacher, Government Bilingual Primary School.

“Some of the children who attended the event now come to the library after school. You can see the excitement in them as they read. Some even ask for books to read at home with their siblings.”


ETHIOPIA  – Cheffe Donsa Community Library

CODE Ethiopia‘s Cheffe Donsa Community Library supports a suburban community living about 57km outside Addis Ababa. While it is suburban, it needs further support and the community’s participation in the library is encouraging.

Our celebrations included poem presentations, reading testimonies by library users and contests between students.”

Our library set our community free from darkness. It is our university.

– An elderly participant.

GHANA  – Eastern Regional Library

Ghana Library Authority‘s celebrations were held at our Eastern Regional Library in the city of Koforidua.

Students recited poetry, performed traditional adowa dances and recited books they have read. We also held a six-book challenge in the run up in which students read six books and had to summarise each. We awarded participating students at the ceremony.”

It’s been barely a week but more kids are visiting our library after the event and now parents are making it mandatory that they come to the library even if they cannot read with them at home.

– Koforidua Library

KENYA – knls Lusumu Community Library

“This year’s celebrations were held at knls Lusumu branch library in Kakamega County, Western Kenya. The library is situated in a village where people are predominantly crop farmers and some also rear animals. There is a lot of poverty here and parents are determined to educate their children. The library was opened in 2009 to support parents in this effort – and provide a resource centre for the whole community.

There were songs, a drama, speeches based on literacy celebration. The Kakamega County Governor HE Prof Philip Kutima urged Members of Parliament within the region to consider establishing libraries within their constituencies.”

Books were given to participating schools for their libraries and many of them acknowledged that they had very few supplementary reading books in their schools.

“Following the event we have had an increase in visits, more enquiries about our services, especially from schools who want to know how they can be involved in future library events and registering as institutional members.”



Grace Rwanda‘s celebrations were held at both the Nyamagabe Youth Centre Library in Nyamagabe and Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle Library in Rubavu. Residents in Nyamagabe live on low income and are mostly farmers. The literacy rate is still moderate.”

“The ceremonies started with traditional dance to songs on the theme of reading and writing in different languages. There were speeches read aloud in Kinyarwanda, French and English. There were also spelling bees, reading aloud, debates and storytelling activities. We also had a display of donated books.

The event really helped promote the libraries and books to the wider communities.”

We were seeking books and we had to look elsewhere but now we have this library it will help us so much.

– Kagame Gad, Primary 6 student.

SIERRA LEONE – Sierra Leone Library Board HQ

“Sierra Leone Library Board’s Headquarters Library in Freetown is in a community dominated by workers, students and a few business people. The library accommodates users from all walks of life from toddlers to elderly people.

Our International Literacy Day activities included a story competition in local languages, a melodrama set to local songs and a demonstration of our French lessons for children. There was also a short skit entitled Had I Known about the importance of having reading and writing skills in your local language because you never know when you will need it. All competitions were also done in the local dialect.”

The celebration of this day each year has helped to raise awareness about reading.

SOMALILAND – Silanyo National Library


Somaliland ILD


“The Silanyo National Library is in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. It’s the nation’s first national library and serves school pupils, teachers, university students and other members of the public.

Our International Literacy Day celebrations included a quiz for the school children covering science, geography and history in which they had to answer the questions in either Somali, Arabic or English.”

As a result of the celebrations, school teachers that attended have since decided to set a specific time for reading during their school hours.

TANZANIA – Tanga Regional Library

“Tanga Regional Library is a public library run by the Tanzania Library Services Board. The Tanga region is a coastal community where inhabitants mostly engage in fishing, crop cultivation and small-scale business. There is also an urban community of professionals and students.

Our International Literacy Day activities included a library tour, a spelling competition, a reading competition, and cultural entertainment. We also invited all audience members to select a book and read it for pleasure.

The day after the event, parents and teachers brought their children to the library to register for the book club and also to join as members.”

This is the most interesting educational programme I ever expected a local library could organise.

– Mrs Miriam Magambo, parent.

While reading is basic to learning it is also basic to survival. Lack of reading is disasterous because reading is a most efficient way of acquiring knowledge and a source of achieving sound development of our minds … A public library is a place designed to freely support the attainment of those purposes.

Abdulatif Famao, Torf Book Club CEO.

UGANDA – Nambi Sseppuuya Community Resource Centre

“The Nambi Sseppuuya Community Resource Centre is based in a rural community whose basic activity is subsistence farming. The centre is an inititative to contribute to the fight against poverty, illiteracy and disease through education and provision of reading materials.

Our activities on International Literacy Day included reading for pleasure, read alouds, storytelling, poem recitals, letter and reading games.”

The head teacher of a school just across the Nile River came back to the resource centre to thank us and to inform us that the children desired to visit the centre regularly.

“Many people who had not been to this resource centre are now visiting and calling up.”

ZAMBIA – Soloboni Primary School library

“Most of the community around this library are not in formal employment. Most of them are self-employed with no stable income.

Soloboni Primary School’s library serves both the learners and the surrounding community.

Zambia Library Service held a two day event at the school. On the first day schools competed against each other in reading competitions. On the second, pupils led a literacy parade which included a brass band and majorettes, plus book and poetry readings and debates. We also had a reading tent where young readers could enjoy books.”

There’s been an increase in the interest in books. The staff in charge of the reading tent were overwhelmed with the influx of children wanting to read.

ZANZIBAR – Unguja Public Library

“Community members’ activities in Unguja include small business, fishing and tourism. The library serves the general community from children to adults.

At Zanzibar Library Services’ celebrations we had a demonstration in which participants took slogans and pictures that promoted the culture of reading, there was a library tour and students performed a drama highlighting the importance of using the library. There was also drawing, a quiz and a book exhibition which included multilingual books that are essential for community development.”

As a result of the celebrations, many more children have been introduced to the library and the services it offers.

“The local community are now more ready to support the development of library services in Zanzibar.”


Our partners also held celebrations in the Gambia, Liberia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Children's Corner a MYSA Library

September Book of the Month

Our latest Book of the Month is:

How to Think Like a Coder
How to Think Like a Coder by Jim Christian

An understanding of coding is fast becoming an essential skill for the world of work and is increasingly included on school curriculums. How to think like a coder is the perfect introduction.

This book is written for the absolute coding beginner, whether a child or an adult. What makes it particularly accessible is that you don’t even need to use a computer to use this guide.

How to Think Like a Coder insides

The book goes right back to coding basics, teaching key concepts such as loops, data types, pseudocode and calculations.

It purposefully focuses on the foundations of coding in order to equip the reader with a tool kit of coding knowledge which they will be able to apply to whatever technology or advancement they find themselves working on in the future.

Simple language, colourful illustrations and examples from everyday life make this book incredibly accessible and will be useful for children and teachers alike. It also demystifies coding by demonstrating how it can be applied to normal life.

How to Think Like a Coder insides

The fun exercises it includes can easily be done at home, in the library or the classroom without the need for a computer. As a result this book will be an invaluable resource for community libraries and schools that do not have ICT facilities (or even electricity) but which want to give young readers and learners the opportunity to keep up with their counterparts across the world.

Copies of this book will be distributed to many of our partners with community library networks including the Uganda Community Library Association’s libraries.

TPO kids

“Now I know new things”

Thirteen-year-old Stephen fled civil war in South Sudan with his family and now lives in Adjumani refugee settlement in Uganda.

Settling into a new life, culture and education system is hard and there is little for Stephen to do outside of school.

Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation’s (TPO) child-friendly spaces are invaluable for children like Stephen, providing a place to play and take part in creative activities like drama and arts & crafts. Now thanks to supporters like you, Stephen and his friends also have brand new children’s books to enjoy.

Stephen reading in a Child Friendly Space
Stephen fled the civil war in South Sudan and now lives in Adjumani settlement in Uganda

I am from South Sudan and now I live in a settlement. I am in Primary Four. My two big brothers stopped going to school and went back to South Sudan. I just wanted to go with them because here we do not get enough things to do.

I used not to like reading. I came to the centre to play with the ball with my friends. Then the teacher at the center started giving us books to read before giving me the balls to go and play with my friends.

I never liked it but the teachers helped me read the stories and understand them.

Reading activity
Donated books are used by TPO to engage children in reading activities and introduce children to the joy of stories

Now I am happy and I like reading the stories in the books with my friends. I also ask for books to read from home and the teacher allows me. Now I know new things.

The books that are at the centre have nice stories. I told my mother about the story of a baker. I am reading more books and I will be telling them to my brothers who went back to South Sudan. I will be performing better at school because I am reading more.  I want to be the best reader in my school and in my community.

In addition to books, our reading project with Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) includes training for the social workers and ‘animators’ that work with children in TPO’s child-friendly spaces in running reading activities, story sessions and introducing children to the joy of reading for pleasure.

Our reading project with TPO Uganda is generously supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their ongoing support.

Sierra Leone primary school

Changing lives through reading

Since 2014, players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised an amazing £1,850,000 to support our work. Their support is changing the lives of millions of people around the world through reading.

This week we’ve been celebrating the difference that players’ support is making. Here, we’ve gathered together some of the highlights:

Opening doors to reading for even the most marginalised children

In 2014, players helped open a Children’s’ Corner in Blantyre, Malawi. Today, that library is still opening doors to a world of reading for the children who need books most. Here two street children read during the day. They are unable to attend school, but thanks to players they can still discover books and learn to read.


These two street boys may not be able to attend school but thanks to players’ support, they can still discover books and learn in their local Children’s Corner

We thank you for making our library to be beautiful and giving us books.

– Young reader, Blantyre Children’s Corner


Reaching readers across Liberia

In 2017, players enabled us to begin supporting readers across Liberia – and here kids at the Pentecostal Global Mission School show off the books they’re reading as part of a library lesson. When you’ve never held a new book before, a school library is really something to celebrate!

the Pentecostal Global Mission School, Liberia

The children love the books so much. They want to borrow them all the time!

– Helena D. Kemokai, Principal, Dominic K. Hena School, Liberia.


Enriching under-resourced classrooms in Ghana

Last year, we expanded our work to Ghana where we’re collaborating with AfriKids – another player supported charity. Here AfriKids staff unpack their very first shipment of books and enjoy exploring the stories that they’ll now be able to use to enrich under-resourced classrooms across northern Ghana.

AfriKids staff enjoying newly donated books. Photo Credit: AfriKids

The books have enabled us to set up mini libraries in 45 schools. Pupils can now borrow books to read. Before, these schools didn’t have reading books.

– Linda, Early Years Project Coordinator, AfriKids.


Enabling people to learn to read at any age

People’s Postcode Lottery players’ support helped establish a library in 60-year-old Florence’s grandson’s school in Kenya. Florence hadn’t had the chance to finish her education and so she had never learned to read. When her grandson started bringing home phonics books, she saw an opportunity. Together with her neighbours, she formed an adult literacy class – and used the books players enabled us to send to learn to read!

60-year-old Florence learned to read for the first time using books from her grandson’s school library that players had helped to establish

Now I can read prices, so I get a fair price when shopping, and I can use a mobile phone!

– Florence, 60, Kenya.


Supporting refugee children in sheltering in Uganda

1.4 million displaced people are sheltering in refugee settlements in Uganda and hundreds of thousands of them are children. Through players’ support, we’re establishing reading spaces in children’s centres and schools in these settlements – providing story books selected to help children process the trauma of what they have been through and training teachers and children’s centre staff in how to lead reading activities and introduce children to the joy of reading.

Reading activity
A teacher leads a reading activity with children in the Adjumani settlement

I like reading the stories in the books with my friends. I also ask for books to read from home and the teacher allows me. Now I know new things.

– Stephen, 13, South Sudanese refugee, Adjumani settlement, Uganda.


We would like to say a huge thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their ongoing support.

Bwindi Nursing School Uganda

How medical books benefit whole communities

Your support is enabling medical practitioners in Uganda to deliver safer healthcare. Our recent project with Uganda Protestant Medical Bureau (UPMB) has not only provided medical practitioners and students with a broad range of up-to-date medical texts but also training for the librarians who run the medical libraries they use, equipping them with the skills to manage their libraries and help people find the books they need.

Here, the staff and students using the revitalised medical libraries tell us more:

Medical students reading in library


Having access to up-to-date books is a step change for these hospitals and colleges:

It felt like a wedding was taking place.

“The day I brought these books and I started opening the boxes, people were very happy and it felt like a wedding was taking place. It is memorable as I suddenly realised life had changed for the college community. I had good books for my users.”

– Amos Aine, Library Manager and Medical Instructor, Bwindi School of Nursing and Midwifery.


The books are already making a huge difference for students:

Elynah with the book on dermatology that really helped her

“In the last semester we studied a dermatology course. It seemed difficult and I was wondering what to do. In the meantime, these books had just been brought and I found a book on dermatology. I read the book which made me understand the subject well that I passed my exam very well with a grade ‘A’ of 85 points. Later on when I did my dermatology paper two exam I got a grade ‘A’ of 89 points. I now like dermatology and feel it is my best subject!”

– Elynah Mussiimenta, Medical Laboratory Techniques Student, Ishaka Adventist Hospital.

I really understand the brain topic now.

“We have discussion groups in our class. One day, our group leader told me that I would lead a discussion on the brain. I did not understand the brain well. I read my class notes on the topic of brain and I could not understand. I came to the library and read the topic on brains from the Building a Medical Vocabulary book and I got the topic right. When I led a discussion with my group members, they were very happy as I was able to present well. I really understand the brain topic now.”

Maria Gorret Nakamya, student, Mukono Diocese School of Nursing and Midwifery.

Bwindi Nursing School Library
Bwindi Nursing School Library filled with brand new books

And lecturers have the resources to teach the curriculum well:

“They are ideal for the course unit I am teaching. They are easy to understand . . . The books can be used from diploma to masters level. … it reduces the pressure on me. I can now cross-check books, get update for drugs, look at adverse effects.”

– Rachael Luwaga, Acting Head of Department, Bishop Stuart Ruharo University Department of Nursing.

When medical practitioners and students have access to brand new up-to date books, the whole community benefits:

“As teachers we are getting updated information which we are passing on to our students. In turn the patients in our hospitals are benefiting from latest practices and good quality of care from us.”

Amos Aine, library manager and medical instructor, Bwindi School of Nursing and Midwifery.


The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project has been generously funded by GILDEAD Sciences Inc. We would like to thank them for their support.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to Elsevier whose medical book donations have made up a significant proportion of the books used for this project.

Bwindi Nursing School Uganda

Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals evaluation

The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals was implemented in seven hospitals and medical training colleges in Uganda in partnership with the Ugandan Protestant Medical Bureau.

This evaluation report presents the project’s key findings.


Background to the programme

The project aimed to improve the quality of healthcare in Uganda by providing health professionals and students with access to up-to-date medical books and resources, enabling them to make better-informed decisions on treatment and patient care.

The project’s main objectives were:

  • Provide an updated print collection of a range of medical and healthcare books, including HIV/AIDS, for professional hospital staff in seven hospitals in Uganda.
  • Equip hospital librarians with the confidence and key librarianship skills to manage their library and promote their collections.
  • Provide support to medical and healthcare students during their education and training.

Key findings from the Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project

– Students are better able to support their studies.

Students reported that they now have the resources to read around subjects they are taught in class and understand subjects they are having difficulty with.

– Lecturers have more resources for their lessons.

Teaching staff report that lesson planning and setting tests and examinations is much easier with a broader range of up-to-date resources to draw upon.

– Improvement in students’ performance.

Training colleges report that exam scores are improving thanks to access to the new books.


The Medical Books for Ugandan Hospitals project has been generously funded by GILDEAD Sciences Inc. We would like to thank them for their support.


Uganda Marathon

Run for us in the Uganda Marathon!

If you love books AND running, then do we have an adventure for you!

We have two places available in the 2019 Uganda Marathon – a race and adventure like no other!

Run for us and you’ll help support our work getting much-needed books to readers in Uganda and over 20 other countries across the world.

The Uganda Marathon is not only a race but a seven-day cultural adventure. You’ll have the chance to come together with people from across the world to work on local projects, organise a children’s sports day, a wheelchair race and more in addition to a 10, half or full marathon alongside 3,000 new friends from the local community!


Malawi children with their Inspiring Readers library

Inspiring Readers project update

Thanks to your support over 123,000 children in under-resourced primary schools in five African countries will soon be enjoying brand new books in class as part of our Inspiring Readers school library programme!

Each participating school has received a Book Box Library packed with brand new UK donated books plus local language titles and teacher training in using books in the classroom. Schools are also connected to a local public library which has a thriving Children’s Corner where children can access more books, reading activities and the expertise of professional librarians.

In addition to Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi, Inspiring Readers is now up and running in Uganda and the programme has also just launched in Sierra Leone.

Reading books in a school in Uganda
10,000 primary school children in Uganda are now enjoying new books in class thanks to your support

Librarians at the five hub libraries participating in Inspiring Readers Sierra Leone have just attended training. They are now leading workshops with 75 teachers from 25 schools to show them how to manage their Book Box Libraries and introduce children to the joy of reading.

Inspiring Readers training in Sierra Leone
Librarians in Sierra Leone are now showing teachers how to bring books to life in the classroom

Once the workshops are complete, the schools will receive their Book Box Libraries, giving children the chance to read for pleasure in school, some for the very first time. Many of them do not have books at home.

The impact of having brand new books in classrooms is already beginning to show. Our recent evaluation of the 2016 Inspiring Readers pilot in Kenya found that almost all participating schools have seen an increase in pupil attainment since their libraries opened.

Inspiring Readers in Kenya
Pupils at Muringato Primary School in Kenya, like others whose schools are participating in Inspiring Readers, are achieving better grades since their Book Box Library arrived.

Inspiring Readers has been so popular in Kenya and Malawi that the programme is being expanded in both countries to reach more schools and readers. Pupils at 25 more schools in Kenya are now enjoying brand new books and the programme will expand into 25 further schools in Malawi in October 2018.

Malawi reader
Inspiring Readers has been so popular in Malawi that we are expanding the programme to include a further 25 schools in October 2018

Next, we hope to expand the programme to Zanzibar.

We would like to thank players of People’s Postcode Lottery who have funded Inspiring Readers in Kenya, Malawi and Sierra Leone and the trusts, companies and individuals who have supported the programme in Uganda and Cameroon.


Children's Corner readers

Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries learning paper

Between 2015 and 2017, we worked in collaboration with the National Library of Uganda and Worldreader (a non-profit which provides access to digital books through e-readers and mobile phones) to implement the Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries project in ten public libraries across Uganda. The project focused on introducing e-readers to children in public libraries and this paper presents the key insights.


Project background

Since 2014, we have been working in collaboration with the National Library of Uganda and Ugandan Community Library Association to support young readers in public and community libraries through our Children’s Corners programme. Library spaces have been refurbished to make them more suitable and attractive for children and stocked with extensive collections of brand new children’s books. Librarians have also participated in training to develop their skills and knowledge in working with children.

Our Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries project follows on from this and aims to further enrich children’s reading through the introduction of digital reading resources alongside printed books.

Ten public and community libraries in Uganda took part and in addition to kindle-ereaders, they also received a range of brand new printed children’s books, training for staff in how to use and integrate e-readers into their reading programmes and support to promote their collections and programmes to their local communities.

Key outcomes from Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries

Outcomes include:

– Greater insight into what children like to read
Children report a preference for story books over non-fiction or text books. They like being able to swipe through an e-book and to use the dictionary. They particularly print books for their stories and colourful illustrations.

– Increased library usage
Libraries are reporting an increasing number of children using their libraries, either on their own or in class groups from local schools.

– Increased community interest
Introduction of the e-readers as an additional resource has galvanised interest amongst local teachers and education officials.

Read the report in full here

Digital Futures for Ugandan Libraries is funded by the Dulverton Trust and players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We would like to thank them for their support.

Lagam library Kenya

Our top 10 highlights from 2017

Thanks to your support we achieved so much in 2017!

With your help, our books reached readers in TWENTY countries, over 88,000 primary school children are enjoying new books in school thanks to our Inspiring Readers programme, more than 5,000 books reached displaced people in Greece and much more besides.

We couldn’t have done it without you.

Take a look at the ten short clips below for more of our 2017 highlights.


Highlight 10

60-year-old Florence in Kenya joined an adult education class and using the books you helped to send, learned to read for the very first time.

Highlight 9

Schools and libraries in the Occupied Palestinian Territories received twice as many books.

Highlight 8

Our amazing donors smashed our Open Doors Children’s Corners appeal’s £600,000 target, giving thousands of children in seven countries vibrant reading spaces to discover books.

Highlight 7

30,000 brand new books reached readers in Rwanda.

Highlight 6

3,806 books were shipped to the world’s youngest nation, South Sudan.

Highlight 5

5,541 books reached displaced people in Greece.

Highlight 4

Books you helped to send are now filling a library in rural Uganda where they are helping children develop a love of reading and farmers to cope with the effects of climate change.

Highlight 3

88,903 primary school children in Cameroon, Kenya and Malawi now have brand new books in their classrooms thanks to our Inspiring Readers programme.

Highlight 2

Children in Nairobi’s slums are now enjoying Book Havens in three local libraries.

Highlight 1

Thanks to your support, we sent books to 20 countries, which will reach over 20 million readers!

Thank you for your support in 2017. Here’s to getting even more books to the people who need them the most in 2018!

For more information about the work you supported in 2017, take a look at the links below.