IBBY-Yamada 2013: Uganda

Reading tents: reading workshops for children

In Uganda, as in many countries, children if they read, read for school, exams or other purposes and not for pleasure. In order to build a reading culture among children in the country the Uganda Children Writers and Illustrators Association sought funding to support the establishment of a regional library, to train teachers in the use of the library and reading methods and to run a four-day workshop for children.

The area of Bukoto, a district within the city of Kampala, was chosen. Bukoto has six primary schools one of which hosted the event and later the area library. A seminar, attended by teachers from each of the schools, was held to show the importance of reading in the education and development of the child. The teachers were also given guidance how to set up and run a library collection in their school. A four-day “reading tent” was organized for 20 children from each school and included reading, reading aloud marathons, storytelling, story writing, drawing, painting, pottery and craft work. The event closed with a performance by the children and the host school received the 570 donated books as a starter collection.

The Bukoto Joint Schools Library Project has been enthusiastically received but as yet there are too few books to meet the needs of the area, especially too few local African-based stories. The Project depends on the cooperation of the participating schools and this can be difficult as they compete for the same students.