“What is good to know is difficult to learn” A Greek Proverb
With the issue of basic education now being adequately addressed by the Kenya Government, attention is currently turning to the secondary and post-secondary school education systems.
Most secondary schools and higher education institutions suffer from a lack of funding and a lack of facilities, and this is still a major handicap in the government's goal of providing competitive and quality education. This has led to a situation where regions endowed with better-equipped public secondary schools or high cost private academies tend to excel in national examinations by comparison with secondary schools in poor regions. These regional disparities are more pronounced in some areas like Nyanza, which is now lagging far behind.
The education programme IDAP is pursuing, is an integrated system comprising of the following component:
i.Support basic education and development in Siaya County and the entire Nyanza region in Western part of Kenya.
ii.Pursue ways of mobilizing resources to build class rooms in schools in Alego, Ugunja, Ugenya and Gem sub-counties in Siaya County. These are some of the poorest locations in Siaya County.
iii.Seek to fuel passion for reading, personal growth and learning through opening up and supporting of community libraries within the region.
Children in a classroom taking basic lessons. This is a common phenomenon in many areas where Integrated
Development Africa Programme (IDAP) operates.
Integrated Development Africa Programme’s (IDAP) outreach programmes implemented by the Siaya
Community Library have been received well in all schools they we visit. This was one of the programmes at
a primary in Ugunja Constituency in Siaya County.
The Siaya Community Library (SCL)
Expanding minds, empowering people, and enriching community
The Siaya Community Library is a community project initiated by the Integrated Development Africa Programme (IDAP). The Library is registered as a community based organization by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development. This project was established in the pursuit of support to education programs, including adult literacy and rural schools to provide a center for community education and cultural activities.
The Library runs a wide range of services for the community, and makes use of a two-way information flow so that external information and local knowledge is shared. Its main services comprise providing reading materials, including formal educational resources and locally produced information pamphlets on agriculture, health and literacy. The Siaya Community Library carries a wide variety of resources for adults: The latest bestsellers, hardcover and paperback books, large print books, newspapers, magazines, audio books, DVDs and compact discs. It also offers a range of services and items for loan to teens such as novels and curriculum books. It provides access to information mainly through books and is now embracing information technology through electronic book readers.
The main beneficiaries of the library services are multicultural, occupational, civic and other community groups. The Library patrons include university students, working professionals, women and women groups, youths in and out of school, as well as marginalized groups and farmers in Siaya County. It, however, plans to offer a wide range of children's activities for parents, including caregivers and activities for young children during term period and school holidays.
Moving forward, the Siaya Community Library strives to ensure that its collections remain forward-looking, diverse in breadth and form, open to browsing, and of world-renowned quality. Through promotion, the Library will continuously make people aware of the resources available to them, and through innovation, make access to these resources easier. It will also create an integrated, seamless web of information to further streamline access. To serve future users, the Library preserves information across all formats and ensures effective storage and delivery systems.
Plans are in place to ensure that the Library’s physical and virtual spaces respond to the changing habits of users to enrich the community experience and to multiply the ways in which people can pursue inquiry. The Library’s collaboration with expanding circles of partners like American Friends of Kenya (AFK), the County Government of Siaya, Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Publishers (K) LTD, Phoenix Publishers (K) LTD, the Ministry of Culture, Ministry Gender & Social Development, Rotary Club-San Antonio, and Global Communications Network among others has yielded a unified access that broadens knowledge, and enhanced services.
Front view and entrance of the new Siaya Community Library (SCL) Complex. The building was constructed with
support of the World Bank. Notice how friendly access is to our disabled brothers and sisters who
cannot use stairs.
Personal growth: Primary School Children from Siaya Township who visited the Siaya Community Library’s
old building for an introductory course on the use of e-book readers. The old library space was graciously donated by
the County Government of Siaya as a temporary place to kick-off the project. The children are seen displaying the e-reader
devises. Building human capacity that will enable the county to thrive is at the centre
of our mission.
Dr. Sarah Obama addressing students at the Senator Barack Obama Mixed Secondary School in Alego, Kogelo during the
official launch of Mama Sarah Obama Community Library, an offshoot of the Siaya Community Library. She was the chief guest
at the launch. Dr. Sarah Obama is also the patron of the library.
Young boys and girls displaying electronic devises during the launch of e-readers at Mama Sarah Obama
Community Library in Alego-Kogelo, Siaya County where 50 pieces of these devises were donated
to the library by World Reader International.
Siaya Community Library’s outreach programme at Barding Boys Secondary school to encourage high
school students to adopt the use of electronic readers in their curriculum for access to more reading materials
through e-books. The devise can store more than 3000 books for different subjects. The students
were elated with this programme and continue flocking the library to use these devise.
Younger library patrons make do with papyrus mats as they join others in the quest for knowledge at
the Siaya Community Library. Many school going children flock the Library during school holidays, and
others still make use of their evenings to do some studies and homework in the Library before
heading home. Their testimonials about the facility are marvelous (available separately).
Improving information access: Kids sharing e-book readers to access varied collections for their readings in the library.
The Siaya Community Library has partnered with the World Reader International to make these devises
available to library patrons. One devise can store as many as 2,500 books that can be easily accessed.