Book box libraries provide primary schools with accessible, compact and portable libraries and are being used by Book Aid International to support schools in remote areas where books are particularly scarce. Following a successful pilot in Zanzibar in 2010, Book Aid secured funds to expand the library in a box project to the Kagera region of Tanzania in 2011.
Working in partnership with the Katoke Teachers College in the Muleba District, this project aims to support children’s literacy and learning, help promote a reading culture among children by stimulating their imagination, and develop cognitive and language skills through storytelling sessions. Teachers from each school attended a training workshop facilitated by Jonathan Coolidge, a locally based VSO volunteer, to learn how to use the portable library in the classroom.
The boxes themselves were made locally by students at the Viwawa Vocational School. 15 were filled with books bought locally and 15 with books from the Book Aid warehouse in London. Schools received one of each and student library monitors are responsible for distributing books among classmates, monitoring usage and ensuring all the books are returned.
Through this project over 6,100 children across the District now have access to books, many for the first time, and are learning how to become better readers.