OHBD RSG Book Distribution and Library Training in Gondar
By Caroline Walker, Executive Director of Together We Learn (an OHBD collaborating organization)
Access to reading materials is very important to the lives of the young people we work with. Across the country, many children do not have books at home. Those that do have access to books, learn to read earlier, have a better chance of staying in school, and greater opportunities as adults.
As well as building skills for the future, access to a library enhances children’s wellbeing while they are at school by giving them the joy of reading fiction and finding out new information about the world around them.
As part of our aim to improve literacy, we distributed books and held library training this March for eight schools in Gondar. The project involved distributing 815 academic books and 1,200 children’s reading books. It also included training for 32 school staff on how the books could best be used to support pupils’ learning and reading for pleasure. The project was possible thanks to support from Corvallis Sister Cities Association, as part of their Books for Gondar appeal. Their funding provided academic books to support curriculum teaching and 1,200 books from the Ready Set Go series by Open Hearts Big Dreams. They develop, publish, and proudly print attractive bilingual books locally in Addis Ababa (to create local capacity and encourage more investment in local publishing).
The training sessions were held at Hibret School’s new library, which Together We Learn built in 2020 with funding from Open Hearts Big Dreams. There were 32 trainees from eight schools at the training. They included 16 teachers, eight school directors, seven librarians, and a delegate from the local education office.
Over the day, we delivered training on how to maintain attractive library and reading spaces, how to encourage pupils to read, and how borrow and engage with books. We also delivered specific training from Open Hearts Big Dreams about how the Ready Set Go books can be used with pupils.
Following the training, we facilitated a discussion among the trainees. We wanted to find out what kind of challenges school libraries face including schools with smaller reading spaces, so we could encourage children’s literacy. It was an opportunity to learn more about the possibilities for reading within schools. It also was an opportunity to share peer learning on how to overcome challenges or try new interventions.
The provision of the books to the schools further boosted their motivation to apply these ideas on how to support pupils’ reading. The books provided the practical resources to go with the training theory. Thanks to Corvallis Sister Cities Association for making this holistic approach to improving literacy possible.
We will be visiting each of the schools involved over the coming weeks to see how the training has been implemented and further support the development of reading.
Reprinted with permission and minor modifications. Original post can be found on the Together We Learn website: