American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA)
In 2015, we received a second grant from ASHA to construct a fifth library in Choma, the rapidly-growing new capital of Zambia’s southern province. ASHA funding for this project will cover construction costs, the 4,000-volume curated book collection, 11 new computers, and a projector. The library will serve the more than 35,000 young people in the community and those in generations to come. Choma Library will open in 2018.
Through the many well-loved programs, outreach to the most vulnerable, and technological innovations, Lubuto libraries will continue to increase access to high-quality education. Public libraries "ultimately strengthens a country’s workforce, lifts populations out of extreme poverty and creates resilient societies." ASHA Director Katherine Crawford
Lubuto Library Partners is honored to be the organization supporting the construction of public libraries to receive an ASHA grant. Since 1947, USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program has assisted schools, hospitals, and libraries around the globe in spreading the best ideas, innovations, and practices in American health and education. With the organization’s support, USAID/ASHA partners offer opportunities for high-quality education and medical care in areas where they have often before been almost inaccessible. ASHA supports building construction and the purchase of commodities for those buildings for work that fosters civil society, inclusiveness, tolerance, innovation, and new technology, educating the next generation of global citizens and leaders.
We are honored to have received not one, but two ASHA grants. Not only has this supported the construction of two more Lubuto libraries, it is also an important recognition of the tremendous benefits that America’s public libraries and librarians can to contribute to global education. The ASHA grants, which specifically provide funding for construction costs and the purchase of commodities, will support Lubuto Library Partners in continuing to provide critical services and programs to vulnerable children and local communities.
In 2014, ASHA awarded Lubuto almost $250,000 to fund the construction of a fourth library at the Mthunzi Centre in Lusaka. Because the grant also provided funding for a carefully planned core book collection. Thanks to the funds to purchase the book collection the Mthunzi American Youth Lubuto Library now serves as a model for libraries in the developing world, which unlike Lubuto libraries depend largely on randomly assorted book donations—and do not utilize the best practices of American public libraries. The funding also allowed for the installation of solar panels, lessening the environmental impact of the buildings.
The library was constructed on the grounds of its host organization, the Mthunzi Centre, a key community resource organization that offers shelter, food, education, vocational training, sports and recreation and health services and counseling. Lubuto's relationship with Mthunzi dates back to 2006, when Lubuto President Jane Kinney Meyers began discussing the possibility of hosting a Lubuto library with Mthunzi Centre Director Malama Mazaba. This partnership builds on the key role Mthunzi plays in supporting vulnerable youth.