What is new at FAVL Burkina Faso?
• We have received a generous donation to work with the village of Koho to help start a library to honor the memory of the donor’s beloved godmother, Clarice Weiniger. The mayor of Houndé (the rural commune in which Koho is located) has received our initial proposal and budget estimate. He and his staff, and councilors from the Koho community, will talk with the director of the gold mine that operates near Koho and which is a partner for many village projects. The Rural Council’s budget session was Monday, November 20th. They apparently had some disagreements over general village development policy with the mine, and so development projects are on hold… we have asked them for clarification to move forward with the library.
• We are proceeding to re-open the community library in Ouargaye. The mayor has been unwilling to establish a budget line for a staff person to be the librarian, preferring instead to use a succession of interns, national service personnel, or “volunteers” (often someone from the community who has finished secondaray school and wants some professional work experience, expecting to receive informal cash payments from the office of the mayor). Such a volunteer has now been recruited by the mayor, and will be trained by FAVL-BF staff in the coming months.
• The FAVL-BF staff visited the library of Niankorodougou in the far south of Burkina Faso. Everything was operating normally and the librarian is paid regularly from the mayor’s office. They have started a reading club!
• The FAVL-BF team is continuing conversations with CENALAC, the government library support organisation. CENALAC has been allocated a budget of 500,000 FCFA per library (about $1000) per year for supporting library operations. They are not transparent how they spend those funds, however. We would like the 34 FAVL-supported libraries to become part of that network and be recognized as community libraries by CENALAC. The new director of CENLAC was open to the idea but pessimistic that the government would increase funding.
• The Hounde multimedia center (FAVL-BF local book production unit) has produced a new series authored by Koura Sylvie: Békila va à l’école, Békila fête la fin de la saison pluvieuse, Békila voyage, Le retour de Békila du village, and Békila apprend le lavage des mains. Sylvie also really likes reading the Harry Potter series!