New libraries will be built in Tanzania and Rwanda as part of a partnership between Dubai Cares and the African Publishing Innovation Fund.
The projects are a result of a grant programme launched by both organisations that will implemented by the International Publishers Association (IPA), led by president Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, with the assistance of NGOs on the ground.
The grants programme, funded through a four-year commitment of $800,000 from Dubai Cares, is in response to the global pandemic which disrupted the education of an estimated 250 million children across Africa.
Sheikha Bodour said the effect was particularly felt in poor and rural communities across the continent.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has set back the education of millions of learners around the world, but its effects are acutest where the infrastructure cannot support the connectivity required for distance learning," she said.
“Having received far more applications than we could have imagined, we are all very excited to have found five projects that we believe will deliver significant benefits for a great number of children and young people.”
Here are the approved projects:
1. E-learning in Kenya with ‘eKitabu’
With Kenya viewed as Africa's publishing hub, the eKitabu programme will aid publishers in developing remote learning materials to be accessed by nine million students and teachers.
2. Training librarians in Rwanda
With schools currently closed as a public safety measure, the IPA enlisted the services of Save the Children Rwanda to train 270 librarians from eight community libraries to provide remote classes across rural communities with a goal of strengthening a culture of reading.
3. Makeshift libraries in Tanzania
The tough economic landscape caused by the pandemic led to a shortage of libraries in the coastal city of Zanzibar. Book Aid International will provide a team that will transform three shipping containers to fully functioning libraries serving up to 76,000 people.
4. Closing the digital gap in Ghana
The transition to remote learning exposed the digital divide between urban rural communities in Ghana. With the assistance of the Girls Learn International, 400 young students room the rural town of Paga will be connected online and access their education and learning resources.
5. A new library led by one of Zimbabwe’s finest poets
A new community library will be built to serve 800 students in rural Nemasakwe, complete with books, employment training programmes and facilities including study spaces. The initiative will be led by one of the countries esteemed poets, Chirikure.