We have just returned from Lewa Wildlife Conservation in Isiolo county, where we were setting up the library for Lewa Downs Primary. This is a project we have been working on for over a year now, and it was incredibly rewarding to see all of the planning, ordering, and training come to fruition over the course of the week.

In selecting the books for this library, we emphasized a special focus on African animals, the environment, nature, and health & hygiene – all to reflect the values and themes Lewa works to instill in the community. The interest of these subjects on behalf of the primary school students is immediately apparent though – those are the first sections they gravitate towards when choosing books (along with, in this case, Kiswahili and story books).

The reason Kiswahili and story books are also particularly popular in a library like this is because of the lower reading level the students have for English compared to other schools not in a village setting. This is a common finding of ours, but one that we know can be mediated over time as the students are exposed to a variety of books and have a chance to practice their reading skills with a new library.

We will be going back in March to do follow up training with all of the classes once they have had a chance to become familiar and comfortable with the new library. I am quite sure we will have fantastic news to report then.

The library at Lewa is a project of the Field-Marsham Foundation.