August 6, 2016  Project Humanity and Rongo University College have completed the first site visits for the establishment of school and community libraries in southwest Kenya.   The site visits are part of the newly implemented agreement with the African Library Project to provide books for new libraries.

Project Humanity volunteers from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, and New York visited and met with newly established library committees at over 30 sites in Homabay County. Additionally, Rongo University College staff visited an additional 20 locations in Migori County. Overall, 33 locations have been selected and their library applications have been submitted to the African Library Project.

As part of an agreement formalized in April 2016, Rongo University College and Project Humanity are working together in Kenya to promote the establishment of local library committees, train teacher librarians, and facilitate the acceptance and transport of a cargo container of 30,000 books provided by the African Library Project which will be used to establish school and community libraries. The African Library Project will coordinate book drives in the U.S. and volunteers will collect, sort, and pack gently used children’s books to ship to Kenya.

This partnership addresses a critical need to provide access to books in a part of the world where a majority of students do not have access to a school or community library. Additionally, many students are required to learn core subjects like writing, math, and science without the benefit of books. Lack of funding and access to learning materials are two of the top reasons why a majority of Kenyan children don’t complete high school.

Local community leaders, teachers, and parents who want a library are required to form a local library committee responsible for meeting minimum requirements for receiving books from African Library Project. These requirements include finding a suitable space for establishing and maintaining a 1,000-book library with sufficient shelving, receiving library training, making time for reading in the classroom, and covering the local costs associated with receiving the books. Rongo University College and Project Humanity are working together to evaluate library committee applications to join the program, provide training, and will monitor library usage and performance.

Volunteer book drive organizers can signup to do one of the first African Library Project book drives for Kenya this fall. The libraries will open in 2017.

About African Library Project: Based in California, African Library Project (ALP) works together with partner organizations in Africa that focus on education or library development. ALP’s partners in Africa include U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, National Library Service staff, education districts and African Non Governmental Organizations. Volunteers in the U.S. and Canada have done book drives to start 1,720 libraries since 2006. ALP is currently working in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland and is one of one of Great NonProfits’ top-rated organizations.

About Rongo University College: Located in Rongo, Kenya, and established in 2011 as a constituent college of Moi University, Rongo University College has a mission is to provide high quality education through teaching, research, community service, and to nurture innovative graduates. In fulfilling its mission, the university college is keen to support the local communities in Migori County and Homabay Counties through educational empowerment of students and the youth, promoting peace building among communities, nurturing a spirit of volunteerism among its graduates, and promoting economic activities of the rural poor as a means of improving livelihoods.

About Project Humanity: Based in Key West, FL, Project Humanity’s mission is to work with local leaders in Africa to identify and develop sustainable projects that emphasize women’s empowerment with a focus on health care, literacy, and micro finance through international volunteerism. The work and mission of Project Humanity was first established in 1997 under an organization formerly known as DoMissions with a focus on providing mission trips to Africa. In 2010, DoMissions formally became Project Humanity. In 2013 Project Humanity adopted its current mission statement emphasizing women’s empowerment with a focus on projects in Kenya and Zambia.