Vilsak at Computers

710 LubutoLiteracy lessons completed and ready to launch

We are thrilled to announce the completion of 710 multimedia lessons to teach children who are speakers of Zambia's seven major languages how to read! Improving on a pilot set of 700 lessons created in 2011 with support from EIFL's Public Libraries Innovation Programme, creation of this new and dramatically improved set of lessons was made possible by our All Children Reading grant, with the generous support of the ACR partners: USAID, World Vision and AusAID. The new lessons were designed by Dr. Joseph Mwansa of the University of Zambia, the expert who also designed the new reading curriculum recently introduced by the Zambian government. The lessons thus extend the school curriculum to computer and mobile platforms,reaching beyond the classroom to computers and mobile devices everywhere these languages are spoken as the mother tongue. The languages are: Nyanja, Bemba, Lozi, Luvale, Lunda, Tonga and Kaonde.

The lessons need no supervision of learners as they study. They are designed with gradual progression from learning single vowels to vowel combinations, then simple to complex syllables eventually combined into decodable words, and finally lessons consisting of short reading comprehension texts. In addition to the lessons' simple progression, they contain images that match with the word meanings, thus making learning easy and interesting. Audio enhancement of the lessons provides the learner with instant feedback in each lesson.

We will be handing the lessons over to Government in February, and working with them to disseminate the lessons as widely as possible via various means, including creation and distribution of DVD sets for offline use. The lessons can be used in classrooms, libraries, homes – any place where learners can access a desktop, laptop, iPad or other offline or online device. Of course, they will always be available for use in Lubuto libraries, but access is planned to reach every corner of Zambia (and beyond, where Zambia’s languages are spoken).

The LubutoLiteracy lessons again illustrate the role that public libraries can play as technology incubators. Under our All Children Reading grant we were able to hone the technical skills of many youth who came to us as library users – and who walk away as app developers, computer graphic designers, audio specialists and with other highly marketable skills. Lubuto libraries are thus not only technology incubators but important youth workforce developers. These are only two of the very important roles that professionally designed public libraries can play, and we are humbled by the outcome of the efforts of our very talented youth!

Ndala Bukolo's move to Nabukuyu

Ndala Bukolo has been with Lubuto for a little over a year, bringing his wonderful talents, skills and enthusiasm for enriching children's lives through drama from his previous work with Barefeet, a Lusaka-based drama organization. He guides children in the use of laptops and LubutoLiteracy lessons at the Ngwerere Library, from which he also conducts engaging outreach to young people in the surrounding community. But he especially shines in his facilitation of the drama programs at both of our Lusaka libraries, creatively teaching the children how to make props for the stories they perform after 8 weeks of rehearsal. The dramas are adapted from books in the collections and have included Nelson Mandela (Kadir Nelson, 2013), Who Saved The Prince? (Umba Soko, 2008), Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (John Steptoe, 1987), Snow White (Brothers Grimm, translated by Randall Jarrell, 1972) and Lazy Lion (Mwenye Hadithi, 1990).

Ndala is particularly attuned to children with special needs and he responds rapidly to identify and obtain help for them. Knowing how well he could share his wide-ranging abilities with the staff at our new library in the Southern Province, we asked Ndala to spend two weeks there prior to the Mumuni Library opening, helping to facilitate a drama performance in preparation for the November 21st celebration. He enjoyed his stay in Nabukuyu so much that he volunteered to move there to train the new library's staff in all aspects of Lubuto Library programs and services. Ndala's many talents and lovely personality are matched only by his extraordinary dedication to enriching the lives of children and youth at Lubuto libraries!

Lubuto Zambia has a new Country Director

We are so happy to welcome a very talented new Country Director for our Zambia Regional Office! We have known Brad Fuller for several years when as PCI/Zambia's leader he was always very helpful to Lubuto as we quickly grew with grants from USAID, OSISA and Comic Relief. Perhaps more importantly, Brad knew us and admired our work and Lubuto's wonderful libraries. With a long track record of success and impact in managing development programs, including 8 years running important programs in Zambia with CIDRZ, the Malaria Consortium and the Threshold Project, Brad brings to Lubuto a perfect background to help us launch our expansion throughout Zambia with support from USAID's American Schools and Hospitals Abroad program and other private and public partnerships. He knows just how to guide us to reach the scale and outcome desired by Zambia's government – to provide equitable access to learning and enrichment for all Zambians.

Thomas Mukonde's colloquium

Here is the link to a recording of Thomas Mukonde's colloquium at San José State University's iSchool. We know you will enjoy his "insider’s perspective."

In Memoriam: Mark Bennett

We join with our colleagues in mourning the passing of Mark Bennett, a technology visionary and profoundly good man. He will be sorely missed, but his tremendous innovations will continue and eventually touch the lives of every Zambian, and beyond.

OSISA Expands Lubuto Funding with Comic Relief

Lubuto Wins USAID Contest for Innovative Literacy Solutions

All Children Reading

We are thrilled to announce that a Lubuto innovation is among 32 winners of an All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development grant, made possible through the generous support of the All Children Reading Founding Partners: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development. The competition to create innovative solutions to improve early grade reading in the developing world elicited more than 450 submissions from more than 75 countries. Lubuto's winning proposal, "LubutoLiteracy: Zambian teaching and learning materials for the digital age," is funded by World Vision.Please see our press release for more details on this exciting project.

The Lubuto Library Project team joined other winners to showcase their innovation at a DevelopmentXChange session on September 7, 2013 at USAID headquarters and uniquely highlighted the role that libraries play as "technology incubators."

Lubuto was also an invited participant and panelist at a Global Reading Materials Depository Ideation Meeting sponsored by USAID and co-hosted by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and the U.S. Library of Congress on March 17-18, 2014. The meeting was organized to explore the need for, the possible development of, and next steps toward the creation of a digital collection(s) of early grade reading materials. The primary objective of such a repository of early grade reading materials would be to improve access, particularly to local language reading materials, for early grade school children in developing countries.

The Lubuto Library Project

Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language, spoken in central Africa, that signifies knowledge, enlightenment and light.

The Lubuto project creates high quality, open-access libraries to serve Africa's street kids and other vulnerable children and youth. The library provides a safe haven and an opening to the world beyond the bleak streets. Lubuto offers educational services and the simple pleasure of books and the arts for children who find themselves alone in the world. Giving the burgeoning numbers of street children the chances they deserve to develop their imaginations and to realize their potential is Lubuto’s challenge.

photo of new library

Lubuto’s highly professional organization, in the US and Zambia, does not work as an isolated charity. The sustainability of its program is ensured through partnership with government, community-based organizations, and professional groups, and Lubuto libraries are owned and run by Zambians.

Read more about Lubuto Libraries.

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