When women who attend Busolwe Public Library’s literacy classes raised concerns about the lack of reliable health information in local languages, librarians responded immediately. After consultation with health workers and local hospitals, the library, which serves rural communities in Butaleja District in Eastern Uganda, developed the Humanye Obulamu Project (HOP).
The innovative service
HOP uses information and communication technology (ICT) to improve flows of health information to villages. With support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) in 2012, the library installed five computers, an internet connection and a photocopier/scanner, and purchased new books on health and hygiene. Working with the Lunyole Language Association, librarians began creating brochures about the most common preventable diseases, like malaria, HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections and diarrhoea, in the local language, Lunyole.
Librarians trained health workers and community members to research the internet for health information, and launched an information outreach campaign, targeting hard-to-reach communities. They organized events where doctors gave presentations on disease prevention, and worked with students and community drama groups to develop short plays on health issues, which the groups performed in four villages, reaching non-literate people.
EIFL-PLIP project timeline
May 2012 - April 2013.
Achievements and Impact
Responding to a library survey in 2013, 77% of library users reported learning something new during library health events. The service won recognition in the community, and numbers of people coming to the library increased by 22%. The service also attracted a new partnership for the library, with the local non-governmental organization, A Little Bit of Hope, which helps disseminate the library’s messages, and engages communities in practical action, building pit latrines for 30 households in two villages.
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