Lubuto Libraries' approach recognizes that OVCY (orphans and vulnerable children and youth) have the right and need to become educated, fulfilled and productive members and leaders of their communities. Lubuto Libraries effectively and efficiently address the factors that limit their personal growth and place in the community by providing library resources and services of the highest professional standard: comprehensive collections of both print and digital media, complemented by enriching programming delivered by the libraries and links to social services.
Lubuto recognizes that programs that only serve marginalized children stigmatizes them by separating them. One strength of the Lubuto model is that the public libraries are universally inclusive, connecting all young people with resources and support—and even their communities and the world.
Library programs span sectors, including health, education, OVCY support, arts and culture and technology, with a particular emphasis placed on programming that responds to the needs of the most vulnerable. For instance, LubutoLiteracy, a computer-based early grade reading program offered in seven Zambian languages, provides children who are out-of-school with the opportunity to develop foundational literacy skills in their mother tongue. Lubuto's Zambian Sign Language Storytime program supports deaf children in the acquisition of Zambian Sign Language. These and many other programs are continually refined through iterative community feedback, with new programs developed in response to community needs and priorities.
Under a PEPFAR DREAMS Innovation Challenge grant, Lubuto has developed programming targeted at keeping adolescent girls in secondary school and AIDS-free, aiming to reverse the rise in the incidence of that disease among teenage girls in Lusaka. Lubuto's DREAMS programs include: crowd-sourced complete scholarship support for young women; role model, peer-to-peer and family mentoring; comprehensive, proactive health information and referrals services; and family literacy programs (combined adult literacy and early childhood education) for young mothers and their children aged 0-6.
Lubuto's approach to programming is highly resource-efficient. Local partners provide the resources that support operational continuity, and help ensure sustainability. Lubuto works with the library host organizations to develop cost-effective, community-supported programming of specific community interest, and works with national public and private institutions to provide resources (e.g. free Internet) on a national level.