Learning in Longido (LiL)
TEMBO’s primary focus has been on the education of girls and empowerment of women. However, the children of Longido, especially the girls, must overcome many challenges if they are to be successful in school. We have been told by community members that informal education opportunities are very important. They want young children to find learning- especially early exposure to books, educational games and English – to be an enjoyable experience. They want older children to have the resources and a supportive environment in which to study. And they want the women of Longido to have opportunities for informal education which will help them and their families. To address these issues, we are developing the “Learning in Longido” program to provide some of these important facilities and programs. We are doing this in consultation with the community and with other interested NGOs. TEMBO set up the Longido Community Library in 2006. Prior to that, very little written material was available to the villagers. The majority of books in the library are written in English but an ever-growing selection of Swahili books is being included. At the request of students and teachers, multiple sets of curriculum books have been included in the collection. The library is run by Leah Kisambu, assisted by Judith Mollel.
Because the library has become popular with pre-school children and students of all ages, including adults involved in self-study efforts to attain secondary school qualifications, we have recently expanded to three rooms – one for the youngest children, one for students and adults and another for quiet study.
We are working to support the community in developing the Longido District Learning Centre. It will accommodate our library and other Learning in Longido programs and will also provide a venue for other community groups to carry out similar important initiatives. This Centre will belong to the community, but we will help to build it and to support its early programming. We have established a local Advisory Committee to guide its development.
We now have sufficient funds available to have made a proposal to the District for an allocation of land for the Centre and we are delighted to have been allocated an excellent site in the centre of the village. We are working on the final details of the architectural drawings and will then start the bidding process for construction.
In the meantime, we continue to work on expanding the library’s programming and finding new ways to reach out to smaller communities in Longido District – especially Kimokouwa. Another village in Longido District which we will serve is Orbomba. There is a new primary school in that community and we are helping to develop a library which will serve both the school and the community.