At the end of 2022, a delivery of 56 boxes of books arrived in Zimbabwe, heading straight for schools around Gonarezhou National Park (GNP). Through a longterm partnership with Zambezi Schoolbook Project (https://zambezi-schoolbook-project.org/) and Books For Africa (https://www.booksforafrica.org/), AWCF have been able to establish 108 fully stocked libraries and are now at the stage of replenishing and supplementing the libraries with fresh stories and educational books for the pupils.
This delivery has been distributed throughout 23 of the 44 school libraries that we have developed around Gonarezhou National Park (GNP).
Libraries are an essential part of the learning experience in rural Zimbabwean schools. A safe space for learners to study after hours with solar lighting and access additional literature and educational resources, schools with good libraries produce students with higher grades. AWCF’s library program has increased pass rates in most schools around GNP, improved the reading culture and improved the reading ability of many learners. Madam Kuzonyei from Dumisa Primary shared her thanks with us and explained, ‘our learners enjoy reading these books so much. Since 2017 our pass rate has been increasing on a year-by-year basis.’
Community members and secondary schools nearby to our primary school libraries are also benefitting from the program. People of all ages gather at the libraries to take advantage of the solar lighting systems turning these spaces into community learning hubs for adult education and skill sharing.
Secondary learners travel as far as 8km to use the library and revise afterhours at Dumisa Primary School. Hassani, a Form 2 student at Samu Secondary School told us, ‘We travel a long distance to come and study here because the environment here is quiet and peaceful, there is no disturbance during studies and more so, this is the only place with lights in our area we can’t afford to buy lights at home.’
Enhanced knowledge and academic performance aren’t the only benefits our libraries deliver. Librarians at the schools have noticed that children who frequent the library are well disciplined and responsible learners. Their respect for the rules of the library and protection of the books they borrow allows for subsequent leaners to benefit too. Librarians agree that the library program is helping to create enlightened and responsible citizens!
We are happy to reward these students with additional books to keep their minds active and their knowledge growing as they progress through the education system!