American Schools and Hospitals Abroad

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 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 does this support 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 build a fourth library at the Mthunzi Centre in Lusaka. Because the grant has provided funding for a carefully planned core book collection, the Mthunzi American Youth Lubuto Library will serve as a model for libraries in the developing world that depend largely on randomly assorted book donations—and do not utilize the best practices of American public libraries. The funding will also allow for the installation of solar panels, lessening the environmental impact of the buildings.

In 2015, we received a second grant from ASHA to build a fifth library in Choma, the rapidly-growing new capital of Zambia’s southern province. 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.

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, which, says former ASHA Director Katherine Crawford, "ultimately strengthens a country’s workforce, lifts populations out of extreme poverty and creates resilient societies."