Three community libraries and information centres have been opened and are operational. All the libraries are in the rural areas of Western Kenya and are managed by women volunteers. ROCL, Vihiga, (Reaching Out Changing Lives) aim is to prevent school drop out by vulnerable girls. The libraries offer a conducive environment for studying and developing a reading culture among young people. They are open 6 days a week, two of each are weekends. The libraries have become centres of community-based approach to learning and development. Community needs are identified and solutions discussed and agreed upon through the library set-ups. Some of these include:
- ROCL focuses on targeted action needed to help girls from poor rural areas stay in school.
- Health Awareness.
- Mother’s Groups:ROCL also has ongoing mothers’ groups that meet monthly to deliberate on issues around health, education, women’s rights and economic empowerment.
The mothers are key in the success of the libraries and providing support to each other. Most of our work is reliant on well-wishers, volunteers and Women4Resources which has been very supportive in meeting the overheads, keeping the libraries operation. Congratulations to ROCL on training a local young woman user as their first librarian. These are the only community run libraries for half a million people.al.
We have worked with the local Vihiga women volunteers who run these libraries for eight years and Swansea volunteers have learnt a lot by visiting and sharing skills. One local Swansea school has been involved in joint work on curriculum development with a Vihiga school and we hope this partnership work will grow and flourish.
Thanks to donations at our fund raising events ROCL will be also be able to purchase books locally in Kenya.
Working towards sustainability
We will be examining with our partner, ROCL, Kenya how we can more effectively support poor women’s enterprises to become more sustainable and reduce poverty for their families. All the businesses at present we support operate around the two ROCL run libraries where the women also volunteer their time. There have been demands for services that are not available at present including advice, guidance, support, training, especially from young women entrepreneurs. The project will work closely with the local Council and other interested parties. It will strengthen the ties with the City and County of Swansea, which has already got school and volunteer links and interests in Fairtrade.
We have received books from Kenya National Library for our libraries through Book Aid, Women4Resources, Hafan Cymru and individual well-wishers in Kenya and Wales. Thank you to local Swansea schools and their pupils for contributing many books to our two libraries in Vihiga, Kenya in early 2017. Thank you also to our donors for the free transportation of these books to Kenya.
Help fill the Shelves
By supporting the two volunteer run libraries in Vihiga, Western Kenya you are helping to keep girls at school. All types of books are needed – academic, novels, biographies, and children’s books.
YOU can SPONSOR A BOOK by giving a book and paying the postage to the library or give money to buy a certain book: many of the books are on the UK school curriculum in KENYA.
Contact us at The Environment Centre, Pier Street, Swansea or on 07818309918.