Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA) has shared results of its Health, Reading and Computer Training Camps pilot project, which was started with support from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP).
UgCLA worked with five rural libraries to implement the project, which increased community knowledge about health and nutrition, and its practical application in personal hygiene, diet and agriculture.
The five libraries are Access Knowledge Africa library in Mukono District; CFYDDI (Centre for Youth Driven Development Initiatives) library in Wakiso District; Busolwe Public Library in Butaleja District; Nambi Sseppuuya Community Resource Centre in Jinja District, and ORDISEF (Organisation for the Diffusion of Information on Society, Economy, and Finance) in Kasese District.
Librarians, health workers and teachers team up to facilitate camps
Each library selected three people - a librarian, a teacher and a health worker - to organize and facilitate a Health, Reading and Computer Training Camp.
Working with UgCLA, the 15 camp facilitators developed a programme of camp activities for teenagers, including education and discussion on health and nutrition; training in computer skills and internet search, and reading and critically assessing health information found in books and online. At mealtimes, discussion focused on healthy nutrition, and the camps also encouraged play, with time for indoor and outdoor games.
Camps attract 103 teenagers
The five libraries each organized a successful week-long camp, attracting a total of 103 teenagers.
“The activity that I liked most was learning computers, but I also liked the way we interacted and the way the facilitators answered our questions.” – camp participant, Busolwe Community Library.
The camp participants have organized Youth Leadership Groups, that have attracted over 300 teenagers from 17 schools. The groups meet regularly at their libraries to learn from their peers, to discuss and share health information and to read books and research the internet. Leadership Group members are also disseminating health information at schools and in their communities.
The response to the health camps has been overwhelmingly positive, and UgCLA is seeking funding to replicate the service in libraries serving other rural communities.
UgCLA’s Health, Reading and Computer Training Camps project is one of 10 public library projects for children and youth funded by EIFL-PLIP in 2014. Over the next few months, we will be publishing further case studies about the impact of these projects.
Since 2010, EIFL-PLIP grants have initiated and supported library services and projects that are reaching communities through over 300 public and community libraries in 27 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
EIFL-PLIP works across six crucial community development issues: agriculture; digital inclusion; education; employment; health, and supporting the needs of women and girls.