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Village libraries

An experience of post-literacy support

Village libraries were experimented with by UGPM between 1994 and 2000, as a continuation of literacy programmes, in order to prevent learners from falling back into illiteracy, to consolidate what they have learnt and to promote the culture of reading and writing, while encouraging self-help.

The Union des Groupements Paysans de Mekhé (UGPM) has set itself the mission of uniting peasant populations and helping them to organise themselves for self-promotion through training and information. UGPM’s vision is "social development" to contribute to the emancipation of families and local communities.

The village libraries are part of this dynamic. Following the literacy classes offered in the village groups, it is proposed to create a library that will be run by a previously literate person, in conjunction with the community management committee.

Session on the functioning of a village library

This library is a pretext for many meetings : reading sessions of course, but also workshops on writing poems in Wolof, reappropriating local knowledge through storytelling and writing, community organisation...

If the community does not have a place to host the library, no problem ! It becomes mobile and all the material (posters, newspapers, booklets, books...) is transported in a suitcase.

Village libraries play an important role in the capitalisation and valorisation of local knowledge. The activities and resources are designed to exchange, reflect and learn from each other’s local experiences.

Today, UGPM is resuming its literacy classes and new libraries will be opened. With this first experience, the difficulties of the past will be easier to overcome :
 The endogenous facilitators will be able to support the library referents,
 The new UGPM training courses and the booklets produced can be used as materials in the libraries.

This experience also inspires the organisations Duhamic-Adri and Adenya in Rwanda, or APEF in DR Congo to achieve their literacy objectives in rural and urban areas.

Find below the summary sheet, resulting from an exchange of practices in Rwanda in June 2022 between these different organisations :

Village libraries
Village libraries
Auteur(s) : UGPM