United States promotes reading with launch of a new community library

The United States is committed to supporting Rwanda’s education goals, including improved literacy and promoting reading.  One of our most recent initiatives to demonstrate U.S. commitment to education in Rwanda is USAID-supported community libraries in Kirehe, Ngororero, Ruhango, and Burera Districts.

The new community libraries have been established by USAID’s Mureke Dusome activity, implemented by Save the Children and Umuhuza, in collaboration with the National Itorero Commission, Kigali Public Library, and district leadership. The libraries use space availed by the District, and are each equipped with books, bookshelves, mats, chairs, a computer, and a printer.  Volunteers have been identified to staff the library, organizing community literacy activities and encouraging children to read.

Women and men, girls and boys, people with and without disabilities, and local schools are all encouraged to use the library’s resources, visiting the library frequently and reading for at least 15 minutes every day.

An event to launch the new library in Burera District was held on December 3rd in Bungwe Sector.

Country Director for Save the Children, Maggie Korde, explained, “Increasing children’s access to reading materials and safe reading spaces in the community are priorities for Save the Children. Improving the culture of reading will help build a knowledge-based economy.”

Since 2016, USAID’s Mureke Dusome activity has established over 2500 reading clubs across the country where children gather outside of school to enjoy reading Kinyarwanda story books, facilitated by trained Community Education Workers and Community Literacy Volunteers. In 2020, USAID’s Mureke Dusome activity, Save the Children Reading Ready activity, Umuhuza and Kigali Public Library also trained 85 community librarians and equipped 40 community libraries across the country with 500 Kinyarwanda storybooks each.

Matilde Kayitesi, the Executive Director of Umuhuza, highlighted and appreciated the contributions of the National Itorero Commission, Burera District, the Community Education Workers and Youth Volunteers (Indahangarwa). “These new community libraries exemplify Rwandan cultural values and the spirit of collaboration and service that will accelerate achievement toward our national goals, including our goal to strengthen the culture of reading and build a knowledge-based economy.”

The launch of the community library in the Burera District coincides with the National Volunteers Week (November 30th to December 5th). Umuhuza and National Itorero Commission have a Memorandum of Understanding about the role of youth to promote volunteerism and early literacy at the community level during the national service period, Urugerero rw’Umudugudu, and residential national service. 888 Urugerero Youth Volunteers have been trained and are helping to promote literacy in the community across the country. (End).

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