Moise reading a book in the library

World Vision Promotes Literacy in Niger - "I now know what the word library means"

“My cousin Mariama, told me that they opened a new library in the Nordire primary school near my house and she convinced that to visit the place with her, because according to her the library has lots of books to choose from and you can even find school books. This month I came with her and I read a story book. I really enjoyed my first visit to the library and I will come back because reading books will improve my writing and my knowledge of grammar,” says Moise.

Niger is a country where only 31 per cent of the population is literate. This represents a big challenge for the government in a nation of more than 17 million. In addition, the academic level of students in primary and secondary school is very low.  According to an evaluation from the monitoring and evaluation department of the Ministry of Education in 2011, the percentage of children in grade 6 with acceptable reading levels was less than 30 per cent.

Moreover, SMASSE (Association of Improved Teaching of Mathematics and Science in Niger) 2010 report states that in the secondary school only 1.4 per cent of children reached 50/100 mark, 25 points below the acceptable mark.

For the last three years World Vision’s education programmes have contribute to improved learning outcomes for school children by working locally with parent, teacher and community associations to ensure children complete primary school equipped with necessary literacy and life skills. Part of the organisation’s strategy for this sector is to boost literacy levels of children in primary and secondary school in through the support for the setup of libraries in school.

“My name is Moise Sawadogo Ephtaint. I’m 13 year old and I’m in grade 5 at Harobanda East School. I live with my two brothers, sister and parents, just five minutes from the school library.

“My cousin Mariama, told me that they opened a new library in the Nordire Primary School near my house and she convinced that to visit the place with her, because according to her the library has lots of books to choose from and you can even find school books. This month I came with her and I read a story book called ‘Les Contes de ZAIDA ma Mere’. I really enjoyed my first visit to the library and I will come back because reading books will improve my writing and my knowledge of grammar,” Moise says happily.

“When I don’t have school I always come to the library."

“When I don’t have school I always come to the library. My school is far away but the library is very near to my house. I always come with my older brother, Ibrahima, and Mariama, my cousin. The library really helps to improve my reading. I wish World Vision would open a library in my school as well. I always ask my school mates to come to the library with me because they will also improve their reading and learn new words. Before I never knew that word library existed,” says Moise.

“When I grow up, I want to become a humanitarian worker because my father is a humanitarian and because humanitarian workers help people in need, like World Vision is helping us. I love to play football in the free time. I support Barcelona, and I love Lionel Messi,” says Moise, looking at children playing football in the school playground.

“My mother always encourages me to go to the library, because she says that there, children can learn and that is a good thing, says Moise.

“When I come to the library, after reading a book the librarian always asks me questions about the book I read. At first I didn’t understand why but after some time I notice that I could always remember what had read,” says Moise, looking at a book.

“I would like to thank my sponsor, because they furnished this library. When I got sick they paid for medicine and once they send me sack of rice and money,” says Moise.

“Thanks to World Vision support, we opened the first school library in October 2015. Since the opening, 607 students (from 10 a 15 years old) have visited and read a book, with support from us. This school has 1,224 students, so in this academic year we will establish a calendar, for each class to come once a week to the library,” says Malick Fatimara, librarian an ex teacher for 27 years. “I received the training to become librarian in August 2015.”

“Today the children know what the word library means. The children really enjoy coming to the library in the afternoon. Sometimes we don’t even have space for all of them."

“Today the children know what the word library means. The children really enjoy coming to the library in the afternoon. Sometimes we don’t even have space for all of them. Moise is regular of the library now. The first time I saw him, he was very shy and he not sure what book to choose. But now his very confident and committed to learn new words,” adds Malick Fatimara.

“For now, children come to the library to discover the books, find new words they learned in class and to do their homework. We also received the visit of teacher interns, who come to look for books to prepare classes or to re-enforce their capacity. There are two colleges near the school so students and teachers from both come to our library. We wish to have more books and a covers to protect them. We will soon start lending the books out but first we need to print the library cards.  We really thank World Vision,” Malick says.

World Vision Niger supported the setup of the Nordire school library by training of two librarians last August, and purchased $7,000 worth of books for the library and furniture. The school provided a classroom to be converted into a library and the Ministry of Education pays for the salary of the librarians. This year the World Vision education team in Karadje is planning to support the opening of two more libraries in the community.